A potpourri of traditional and multi-cultural influences, Kolkata’s cuisine is extensive and vibrant. However, that one dish that has never ceased to win hearts is the Kolkata Biryani. A close cousin of the Lucknowi Biryani, Kolkata biryani is loved for its subtle taste and less robust yet toothsome flavours. Apart from the aromatic whole spices, good quality meat, optimum use of seasonings, and the dum style of cooking, it's the huge chunks of fried potatoes that lend a unique dimension to its flavor profile. The city’s deep love for this delicacy is visible through the innumerable biryani joints both small and big and both new and old.
Kolkata (or Calcutta) biryani owe their origin to Lucknow. It originated in the kitchen of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last ruler of Awadh when he moved to Kolkata from Lucknow.
Every biryani aficionado will agree that the best Kolkata biryani will only be found in the city and nowhere else. Our quest to taste one of the most authentic biryani in the city led to the stalwart chef Manzilat Fatima, who belongs to Nawab Wajid Shah's lineage. It was a privilege to learn the niceties of this stellar dish from someone who has perceived it in close quarters through handed-down recipes and stories.
Through her popup restaurant that specializes in Awadhi cuisine, Manzilat has been serving happiness to all the food lovers out there. No wonder her chicken and mutton biryani are the talks of the town. Driven by deep passion and love to play with flavours, she and her team serve magic to the discerning customers.
Manzilat had promised us to show how to make the classic Kolkata-style chicken biryani that anybody can try at their home. Before stepping into the kitchen, we shared some conversation over a gorgeous cup of pink chai and some ulte tawa ka parantha. It was in due course of this tete-tete, she told us about the apocryphal story of how potatoes came to be added to the Kolkata biryani.
It was time to start with the cooking. The irresistible, fragrant biryani was ready in just four easy-looking steps. But the masterpiece was a result of passion and expertise. It was a joy to see her play with the ingredients with such mastered ease.
The biryani was like a warm hug. The subtle flavours in every morsel sent us into raptures. Those yearning for a classic Kolkata biryani must try it at Manzilat’s. The potatoes tasted amazing. The biryani was paired with burani raita. We ended the meal with a brilliant sooji ka halwa.
Plot-I, Phase-III Kasba Industrial Estate,