Getting your hands on something as comforting as a hot plate of biryani is not easy. The aromatic mix of saffron-infused rice, meat, egg and potato runs deep within Kolkata’s food culture — securing its place as the king of Mughlai cuisine and comfort food. Over the years, the dish has seen a number of tweaks — some favourable, some not-so-favourable (chocolate biryani, anyone?) and some serendipitous (the addition of the aloo). The most recent variation of the mainstay that piques interest is a Daab Biryani, spotted in a little local restaurant near Lake Market.
The brainchild of foodpreneurs Pramit and Indrani Bhattacharyya, who spearhead the eatery Taste-Ride, the Daab Biryani substitutes the water and milk combination in a traditional Biryani with coconut water and then ‘dums’ the concoction in a daab!
Once served, it has the look of a traditional biryani with some flakes of coconut
The duo reveals that this recipe is something that they chanced upon. “The concept of allowing the biryani to dum in a daab came randomly to us. In fact, the dish itself is something experimental. This started as a thought. We tried and tasted it before adding it to a special menu,” says Pramit, who is a professional chef trained from NIPS Hotel Management.
The unique dish was introduced as part of a festive menu on Poila Baisakh in 2021. “We wanted to do something different, something that would attract customers,” explains Pramit, elaborating that a twist on biryani was the surefire way to go, because they didn’t want to stray from the house cuisine.
The key to the Daab Biryani is the element of freshness. The coconuts are procured daily — both the shell that plates the biryani, as well as the coconut water that is infused into it. “We use all-natural flavours and ingredients,” say the Bhattacharyyas. The touch of coconut adds a distinct flavour to an otherwise traditionally cooked Kolkata-style biryani.
The interiors of the restaurant
Pramit tells us that the biryani is made as authentically as possible, before adding in the coconut-y punch. The notes of coconut are kept muted, never overpowering the saffron and always working in tandem with every other exotic spice that make the dum Biryani a standout. “The coconut is a fun addition to the biryani. It’s definitely not the main attraction!” laughs Pramit.
Taste-Ride also has a Mughlai staple that plays an aide to their Daab Biryani. The Chicken Lajawab — rustled up with a twist. “This dish is an original recipe, but we’ve kept the name of the Mughlai dish that inspires it. It’s a spicy gravy and goes well with the Daab Biryani,” say the foodpreneurs.
Chicken Lajawab is a dish that heroes chicken tikka kebabs in a gravy of chicken keema, with a medley of spices. Another item on their menu that the duo recommends (this one is for mutton lovers) is the Mutton Rezala — slow-cooked mutton in a rich, creamy white gravy.
Kolkatans are die-hard fans of the traditional flavour combination of meat, rice and potato. So will the flavours of a Daab Biryani appeal to biryani lovers in Kolkata, we ask the entrepreneurs.
“We have many repeat customers, they’re from in and around the locality. As for the rest of the city, the jury is still out,” smile the duo.