Here Charitable Individualism is the key!… nothing less.


I am a great fan of this classic food, not for its taste alone but for its FLAVOUR. It is the flavour that lingers in one’s memory, long after the taste had left one’s tongue and beckons one to revisit the place from where one had had the flavour beckoning biryani.

Of all the five senses that a person is endowed with, the only sense- the loss or absence of which , is not known to other human beings, is the OLFACTORY sense. Loss or absence of Touch, Hearing and Sight are easily identifiable from the response of the disabled/ differently abled, but the sense of Taste and Smell are the more personalized of the five senses and here we have our own Indian delicacy BIRYANI which could be understood only through refinement of these two senses. Especially thru the sense of SMELL.

Of all the BIRYANI i have had, the BIRYANI which is consistently the BEST is the one available at KARIM’S near Jumma Masjid, Delhi. Even their other joints at Nizammuddin West, East of Kailash(now closed), Sector 18 NOIDA are not a patch on the BIRYANI served at KARIM’S , Jumma Masjid.

What is so special about KARIM’S?

Firstly, u just can’t stop by to have this biryani. U have to make it a mission to go there. One doesn’t want to get scratches on one’s car by risking in that crowded street, besides not finding a place to park one’s car in the vicinity of the restaurant. So despite such besetting prospects, one has to embark upon it. One goes to KARIM’S to have BIRYANI. One just cannot not stop by and have it like one wud in Chandni Chowk, at CHAINA RAM’s or GHANTEWALA’s. The best way to reach this place and have BIRYANI wud be to either have a driver drop u in your neighbour’s car or park your car in the parking lot a kilometre away -near the back gate of JUMMA MASJID- and take a cycle rickshaw.

Secondly, the BIRYANI is CONSISTENT. Consistency may be the virtue of fools, but when it is a food joint, it is of cardinal importance as when u take a guest after exciting his/her interest u wouldn’t want to apologize for that day’s fare, on behalf of the F&B manager!!

Thirdly, KARIM’S itself claims to have the heritage of the chefs of the great Mughals. The claims notwithstanding, the foodstuff has to excite one’s taste buds. The memory not merely lingers but BECKONS. And believe u me, KARIM’s does it. IT BECKONS.

Fourthly, the ingredients which are noticeable to a devotee of BIRYANI. They are served in white porcelain half plates. As the waiter fetches the plate one’s attention is drawn to the somewhat whitish basmati rice. Initially having got used to inferior BIRYANI, i expected them to serve colourful biryani and was rather disappointed by its looks. But after having had the BIRYANI, i just couldn’t stop, there was this craving which overtook me and i ended up having 3 halves- which surprised me as well. One wouldn’t be able to identify the condiments except for whole black pepper and cardamom. I suppose. the rest of the condiments are ground and added according to measure. But i’m sure that there must be traces of mace, saffron, nutmeg, clove, poppy seeds etc all  layered to produce the inexplicable aroma.

I suppose, it is the layering of these condiments which brings about the redolence in the flavour. One may order for Mutton Burra as a starter and link up the biryani with JAHANGIRI chicken (but it is advisable to have the biryani by itself- therein lies the TRUTH!).

If at Delhi, it is better to have BIRYANI at KARIM’s Jumma Masjid.

If one finds oneself at Bangalore, there are places where apology for BIRYANI is being served. Rahmm’s (erstwhile RICHIE’S) at Frazer Town opp. the Masjid or at NANDHINI’s at St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore-1. But the BIRYANI which is better but different(vegetable) than the above mentioned two places is at BHEEMA’S on Church Street off M G Road. BHEEMA’S vegetable birayni has the flavour and is much ordered. At times they run out of it sooner than the MEALS!!

In Bangalore, there is this HYDERABADI BIRYANI, which is popular- for what reason is still a mystery to me. Maybe, the persons who buy it love to discover those small nuggets of flesh hidden at the bottom of the heap of rice – they call BIRYANI. Moreover this Hyderabadi Biryani has no refinement in its flavour, however, i should say it is tastier than other soggy biryanis at Bangalore.

In Madras ( now CHENNAI), there are joints which serve BIRYANI which is heavy with masala and they invariably serve it with  gravy (side dish) which makes it even worse. I was raised in this tradition, but now that God had made me see and distinguish the difference, i can’t afford to be so condescending. The biryani which used to sate my palate earlier was the GREAT MUGHAL BIRYANI sold behind EGA theatre off Poonamalee High Road. Their mutton samosas are good.

Velu Military Hotel at Village Road, Nungambakkam serves decent biryani- but not comparable with the best, even in Chennai.

I’d like to tell what my father always tells about BIRYANI, “Never ever ask for the recipe of BIRYANI, it is like calling oneself a Chartered Accountant without ever having been an Apprentice- he can neither advise nor cook!” TRUE WORDS OF WISDOM.

 If u r serious about making BIRYANI, meet the chef,  WATCH him choose the raw materials, condiments; keep a record of the TIME taken after each act of the chef and make an attempt- and u fail. Because making biryani is a FEEL and not mere knowledge! But don’t give up, as, if u succeed in learning the art of making BIRYANI, u have got a boon and even gods who granted it can’t take it away!!


Comments on: "BIRYANI" (19)

  1. Hey Biryani Lover,

    I completely agree with you on the places in Bangalore where they make the best biryanis in town. in total consensus with the flavor

    chk out for the reviews of restaurants in bangalore.

    burrp! is a fun way to share the reviews / personal opinions / experiences on the restaurants n its food, service, price, ambience etc.

    if you like, you could write some reviews too and u never know, u could win some goodies as well!



  2. u too roopa 🙂 i review on burrp too but on

    jus bumped into this page.. gr8 review.. keep up the good work..

    PS: are u from chennai?

    ur welcome to my blog too


  3. Santiago said:

    Sir, You have cheated me. You should have taken me there. My mouth started watering wihile reading your article Karim’s Biriyani.
    Actually there is no need to say I’m also a lover of Biriyani. Though Caroline cooks Very good Biriyanies, I remember few incidents where I had extrodinary Biriyanies.
    1. In 2000, I attended a baptism in OMALUR, Salem Dist, There I had a Extrodinary Biriyani which was cooked in SEERAGA SAMBA
    2. IN 2006, I happened to cross a small biriyani shop near Anand Theatre Madras, It is a very ordinary small road side shop with only 2 tables, There I had a exrodinary Biriyani. If you happen to go there you too can try. It is near Panjabi daba and the Subway.
    3. In 2008, in Pondicherry. Haggai annual meet The cook was brought from Vellore, Ha Still I have the taste in my mouth.


  4. movid said:

    Edwin, thanx for the suggestions. But i shud say that the seeraga samba is no patch on the basmati which the Mughal biryani in karim’s uses,
    Next round in delhi with u.



    Hey Movid, you have not checked the availability of a decent biryani in pondicherry. On ur next trip to pondy u must try my biryani. contact -AL Madhani Biryani , 9444451076- pls inform a day earlier.


  6. movid said:

    Hi, Al Madhani thanx for the offer but what surprises me is that u have not invited me to try yr biryani without informing u. More so why shud i inform u the day prior to my visit?
    If u r serving good biryani at an outlet in Pondy, i’ll have it and if it is good IMHO, i’ll definitely write about yr biryani too.
    Thanx for the offer. Probably i cud tell my frendz at Pondy to check it out for themselves- not for me. I am too much of a connoisseur in biryani to depend on their taste! Sorry for sounding arrogant, but when the senses have been refined with care, one has to depend on those and not on others’ senses. Thanx again!



    hey movid, I run a biriyani catering company ,its not a restaurant.
    we cook biriyani against orders but not for counter sales.
    Its why i request u to inform me earlier to make my presence at pondicherry.
    Since we were busy in conducting various orders from chennai and other cities.


  8. movid said:

    As per the directory this is the address, if any reader cares he cud check out the biryani and comment on my blog:-

    Mr Muhammed Esmayil E S

    No 27, Kennady Garden Near Lions Park & Ecr Road, Archunar Street, Muthialpet, Pondicherry – 605003

    Mr Muhammed Esmayil E S

    No 27, Kennady Garden Near Lions Park & Ecr Road, Archunar Street, Muthialpet, Pondicherry – 605003


  9. thomas said:

    That’s good


  10. Thomas said:

    As you people were discussing, We dont want to talk about high budget biriyanies, we are just talking about small road side biriyani shops who sells marvelous Biriyanies for cheaper prises A per the former commentators statement I too have had the biriyani just For Rs 25/- (plain Biriyani Just 20/-) at the shop near Thousand light subway, which doesn’t even have a board. Any one wants, really go and try there. It is just near the Subway.


  11. movid said:

    Dear Thomas,
    I appreciate yr socialism that biryani is for all. Yet one should not forget that it was originally for the warriors and then raised for emperors. I know that a Mercedes or a BMW is some of the best produced cars, but i shud also know that there is a HIGHER END FULLY LOADED and the BASE MODEL. When we talk about KARIM’S, we are talking about the HIGH END FULLY LOADED and to bring it down to the level of subway biryanis at 25 bucks is a joke. Unless it is subsidized, there is utterly no likelihood of that biryani at 25 bucks. Get real thomas.


  12. Thomas said:

    Yes I accept it that biriyanies were originally made for warriors. Because it is an easily cooked mixed rice. No need to carry Rice, Sambar, Rasam, More, Kootu, Poriyal, Applam and frided milagai, plus mutton fry… to the war spot and the war spot would have become a picnic spot. As Indian travellers preferred Puli Sadam for travel, the warriors were fed such mixed rice with mutton which can be transported in a single vessal with out any spills. Have you tried the lovely Nonbu kangi? the previous form of Biriyani.?? Which is for the Warriors and the former one is for the Emperors.


  13. movid said:

    In the Times of India , Bangalore edition dated 28the June 2009, there is an article on RICHIE’S @ RAHMAN’S biryani, near the mosque at Frazer Town. The article has been written by one RUTH DHANARAJ. She’s all praise for all the fare at RICHIE’S. The rice which Richie’s uses is seeraga samba and the biryani is too greasy. I must say that their SHOLAY is tasty!


  14. I have seen few Samosa preparation were they fill it with panner and every time I attempt that the Samosas, the covering breaks up. Let me check how it works using your recipe.


  15. Arshad said:

    apology to biryani is great word you have used………. may be some day or the other i will try to make a good biryani than u had at Kareems and after that i want to an article on me on your website


  16. movid said:

    Sure Arshad, if u ever get to making BIRYANI better than Karim’s, i’ll have the whole blog dedicated to u!! Forget it, it’s never gonna happen. Thankx but……..


    • Arshad said:

      after easter u are going to witness how good biryani is made and you are going to eat world’s finest biryani…. cause i took it as a challenge.


  17. Arshad said:

    apology for biryani is great phrase you have used………. may be some day or the other i will try to make a good biryani than u had at Kareem’s and after that i want you to write an article on my biryani on your website


  18. thomas said:

    Hi Arshad, My mouth is watering. Where Can I have your Biriyani? Give the address and phone number.


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