Why Biryani is the Original Social Network


Why Biryani is the Original Social Network

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The ’90s was a decade where liberalisation set free India’s economy, and also, India’s palate. McDonald’s re-colonised us with the McAloo Tikki. Dominos, KFC, and Pizza Hut followed suit. Nirulas was beginning to take flight. Elsewhere, sushi, sourdough, and spanakopita were popping up, and people were being spoilt for choice. In the midst of all of this, Indian food was at risk of being relegated to wedding buffets, shareholder meetings, and ghazal nights with drunk uncles. Someone had to champion the cause of Indian food, and, just like it does when you’re craving a late-night feast, biryani was the dish that came to the rescue.

Biryani, a food which was a rarity, reserved for extra-special occasions and times we went out with the family, has become an indispensable part of our lives. Remember when cheating on your spouse meant you preferred “bahar ki biryani” instead of “ghar ki daal”? Thankfully that prudishness is long gone and biryani is now everywhere. From cheat meals to desk lunches, biryani covers all bases. It has gone from guilt-inducing indulgence, to a quick pick-me-up when you’re low.

The act of digging into a plate of biryani — going down through a bed of saffron scented rice, past a piece of potato or two, into a dark, rich, luscious gravy that coats pieces of tender meat — makes your spirit soar. The aroma, tinged with hints of spicy cinnamon, aromatic cardamom, and the delicate topnote of basmati rice, is intoxicating, drawing you into bite after bite until your body surrenders to a carb-induced trance. No matter how many times we eat it, the experience of eating biryani is one that never fades. Small wonder then that every party you attend, every birthday, anniversary, and wedding has featured biryani in some avatar.

Apart from making economic sense, biryani is traditionally a large format meal. A social affair. You cannot make biryani for one; it’s not possible. You make biryani for the same reason you make art, to share it with the world. Biryani, and other forms of communal food are the original social network, an excuse to catch up with people you love while doing something that brings you joy: Eating. It holds as true now as it did back then — biryani is a food that brings people together. Biryani and conviviality go hand in hand. Once intrinsically linked to the other. Even though it’s possible, ordering biryani for one at lunch is like day-drinking alone. Not judging you, but I’m saying you might have a problem.

No matter how many times we eat it, the experience of eating biryani is one that never fades.

For me, biryani is always more joy when you have a gang digging into it. My go-to place for this  “Biryani By kilo (BBK)”. You can have it delivered at your doorstep with 40+ delivery outlets across 20 Indian cities and if you are in a mood to step out, there are a few diners as well.

Biryani is a great social mixer at every party. People need to dig about to find their favourite cut, or that little piece of potato. The nalli or shank needs to be the bone of contention between two nalli-lovers. And everyone needs to silently judge the person who goes back for seconds, finally succumbing to the aroma released every time someone chips away at the motherlode.

This communal experience has become accessible to everyone, thanks to biryani delivery services. But it’s no fast food. Biryani By Kilo is the labour of love – it takes an hour to reach your doorstep once the order is placed. At BBK, every biryani is prepared individually in separate handis and delivered to customers in the same handi. BBK is probably the only chain that offers three different kinds of Biryanis – Hyderabadi, Lucknowi and Kolkata, using the most premium ingredients. Slow fast food may just be the way forward and the future of eating. Contributing to the spectacle is the fact that the biryani is delivered in sealed earthen pots with an aanch to keep it warm. This way you get to crack open the lid, wait for the aroma to permeate the room and watch your party momentarily pause. Add to the mix, BBK kebabs, kormas, and phirnis and the party has gained epic status.

If you are ever worried that people at your party might not get along? Simply order a kilo or half kilo of biryani and sit back and watch the fun.

Biryani By Kilo offers the ultimate Biryani experience and is committed to the hygiene & safety of its employees & consumers.  BBK also honours 1MN+ Delivery Riders who strive to keep India safe in these crises. Watch here