Food & Drinks, Life

“Deconstructed” biryani is an embarrassment for us all

Anyone who's ever had biryani knows it's a complicated dish. Deconstructing it is not art, it's an abomination to the world.

As a self-identified food enthusiast, I’m all about experimenting and trying out different cuisines and dishes. Sometimes, it pays off and I find my new favorite entree, and then there are times where it’s just straight up wrong. In the latter case, it’s either the components, or the execution, or maybe even my own taste palette that cannot appreciate certain food dishes.

But I’ve never had a dish that I read and straight up thought nada, nope, never. That was until I saw deconstructed biryani on a restaurant menu. Anyone who’s ever had biryani knows that it’s a complicated dish. Deconstructing it is not art, it’s an abomination to the world.

I want to be unbiased about my feelings about this particular food “experiment,” but I can’t. I’ve had biryani literally every Friday for lunch, for all my life. It’s just an unspoken rule in Pakistani households- there needs to be biryani on the table. We almost consider it sacred, in terms of food. It’s the cherry-on-top of an over-complicated culture, and it’s perfect.

You don’t mess with perfection.

When it’s made, the chicken with its gravy is layered into the rice midway through the process, and it contributes to the great taste of the rice. Take that whole process out and you’ve got a regular chicken gravy and white rice.

AP Deconstructed Lamb Biryani/ Pat Anderson
AP Deconstructed Lamb Biryani/ Pat Anderson

Where is the flavor in this generic, mediocre assortment? Where is the culture? Where is the homeliness?

I’m pretty sure even the rice yearns for the gravy and spices, and it would want to retain the authenticity of a recipe that’s passed down generations, and loved by everyone in the lineage. If the ingredients could talk they’d be screaming at horror because of the gloriousness that’s taken away by taking it apart.

When it’s biryani, it is personal. Just don’t break down and spoil a piece of art. Keep it as it is. If you want to make gravy and rice, call it something else. You wouldn’t call a king a peasant, and biryani is royalty in the world of Desi main courses.

Let us South Asians enjoy our food in its original glory, instead of clowning it down in the name of art.