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Tastes of unique cuisines, one meal at a time

Embracing My Culture Through Chicken Biryani

Over the last three passion blogs, we’ve mainly been centralized around the eastern hemisphere and the Americas. In this one, I’ll transport you to another continent in itself. This week, we’ll travel to India and discover some of the tastiest Indian foods there are on offer.

For those who have Indian food experiences in the states and enjoy the cuisine, I could not recommend visiting India any more. The food there has even more flavor than that found here, and authentic spices and recipes are used everywhere you go. Furthermore, the food has a personal flair that can only be applied by each unique chef that prepares the food.

A zoomed-out view of Vashi

In this specific blog post, I’ll describe one of my food experiences during my trip to India this past summer. Vashi, a city only a short drive from India’s largest city Mumbai, is the home of my mom’s parents. When I visited them this summer, they treated us to a nice lunch in a restaurant downtown. The dish I ordered was a popular choice: chicken biryani. For those who are not familiar with biryani, it’s essentially a mixed rice which is seasoned with herbs and spices, added to a baking pan with fresh, marinated meat, and then baked in an oven to receive the best taste experience. It’s often served in a big bowl and due to its spice, it’s also served with a small bowl of yogurt to help cool down the taste.

Chicken biryani served in a copper pot

The biryani that I ordered at the restaurant was sizzling with flavor. By the first bite, I already knew that this was one of the most authentic food experience I had ever had. The tender chicken was seasoned incredibly well and the rest of the rice was flavorful and tasty. The textures contrasted well and there was just the right amount of spice to add a good kick to the dish. More than just the taste, however, was the presentation of the dish. It was served in an authentic copper pot and delivered straight to me. The colors of the rice were highlighted by dashes of saffron, a flavorful orange spice often used in Indian cooking. This created a nice white, yellow, and orange color palette which really appealed to me.

Though this was a normal restaurant experience for everyone else in my family, I thought particular meal was really significant as it showcased how different and authentic a culture can be once you travel to its hub. Though Indian culture has slowly made its way to parts of America, primarily through restaurants, the food experiences I gained in India were unforgettable. There, food is sourced from farmers who know their trade more than anyone in the business, and the techniques that Indian cooks utilize – whether they be cookware or ingredient-related – just can’t be replicated in the states. Though my mom has brought many of those traditions with her, it’s often nice to experience a culture at its root. For me, it provided more insight into my heritage, and allowed me to embrace my passion for food from a whole different viewpoint.

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