Memoni Biryani: How The Dish Became A Legacy Of Gujarat

Do you know that Gujarat has its own variation of biryani, called Memoni biryani? Apart from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, Gujarat is yet another state where the original recipe of biryani has evolved to suit the palate of locals. Originating in the Memoni Muslim community, the biryani is nothing short of a culinary masterpiece made with fragrant rice, meat (preferably mutton or chicken), and locally sourced spices.

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The community of Memoni Muslims has roots in Sindh, which is currently a part of Pakistan. It is believed that these people migrated to Gujarat centuries ago, even decades before the partition of India in 1947. They brought their spices and culinary excellence to the state, and over the period, mingled with the traditional cuisine, natives, and culture of Gujarat. Today's variant of Memoni biryani is a showcase of the journey of the namesake community to adapt and blend into the new environment post-migration. 

In the culture of the community, Memoni biryani has special significance because it is served during festivals, weddings, and other occasions. The preparation of the dish brings the people from the community together as they enjoy participating in cooking this delight. 

Flavours Of Memoni Biryani

Memoni biryani is not like any other biryani recipe. It has specific flavours infused by adding spices like cardamoms, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These spices offer a strong aroma and deep notes. Its cooking technique is quite similar to many other variants in India.

Traditionally, the biryani is cooked in a sealed pot (dum). First, the masala is prepared for the biryani, meat is cooked and layered with rice, and the pot is sealed. The ingredients are cooked on low flame for about half an hour. Hyderabadi dum biryani is famous for this technique, allowing rice and meat to incorporate all the flavours of spices.

Much like the Bengali variant of biryani, Memoni biryani also includes potatoes in the recipe. They are used for garnishing along with raisins, fried onions, and chopped nuts. Hence, when you eat the dish, you will taste sweet notes, and it pairs well with raita, pickle, and salad. Passed on through generations, this culinary gem is a must-try if you are planning to explore Gujarat.

Ingredients For Memoni Biryani

  • 2 cup basmati rice
  • 500 gm chopped meat (chicken or mutton)
  • 2-3 cardamom 
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons biryani masala
  • 2-3 slit green chillies
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 large sliced onions
  • A pinch of saffron strands in milk
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 yoghurt
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 cinnamon 
  • 3 boiled potatoes

How To Cook Memoni Biryani

  • Take a huge pot, heat it, and add ghee to it. Fry onion slices, keep aside half of them for garnishing.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, and whole spices to onions and saute until they release the raw aroma.
  • Pour in green chillies, tomatoes, and biryani masala into the mix and cook until oil separates.
  • Add meat to the pot and saute it until the surface turns brown.
  • Add yoghurt, mint leaves, and salt to taste to make the mixture creamy and nutritious. It will also make the meat pieces tender and soft.
  • Layer the meat with basmati rice and allow the grains to cook. 
  • After a few minutes top the biryani with saffron milk, boiled and fried potatoes, coriander leaves, and fried onion slices. 
  • Seal the pot and cook the ingredients slowly for 20-25 minutes on low flame. 
  • Serve the biryani hot with raita and pickle.