’ve often wondered which dish I would eat if I were having a last meal. I hope I never have to make such a choice, because it would probably mean that I’m on death row somewhere, and it’s hard to enjoy a last meal when you know what’s coming next. But if I were having a last meal, it would surely be chicken biryani.
I would get a huge plate of chicken biryani and eat it extremely slowly. Six hours after being served, when the warden comes to check on me, I’d say, “Sorry, I’m still eating. I didn’t know there was a time limit for last meals.”
Truthfully, I could eat chicken biryani all day. Just ask my wife. She makes great chicken biryani, but she doesn’t make it often enough. Perhaps three or four times a year, I get a taste of heaven, and I savor every bite. Sometimes I even leave a little biryani for other members of my family.
It’s no surprise to me, then, that Swiggy, the online food ordering and delivery platform, reported that in 2021, for the sixth year in a row, chicken biryani was the most popular dish in India.
According to Swiggy’s sixth annual StatEATstics report, Indians ordered 115 biryanis per minute (almost two per second), compared with 90 per minute in 2020. Chicken biryani was ordered 4.3 times more than vegetarian biryani. If this trend continues, we might have to put chickens on the endangered species list.
I have no idea how many chickens it takes to satisfy India’s appetite for chicken biryani, but if we ever have a chicken shortage, it’s going to be very disappointing for the millions of us who love chicken biryani. That’s why I’d like to encourage everyone to follow the eating patterns in Delhi and consume more dal makhani. It’s not just tasty, it’s good for you!
Dal makhani was the No. 1 dish in Delhi, but if that doesn’t satisfy your palate, please try the No. 1 dish in Mumbai: dal khichdi.
People in Mumbai ordered twice as many dal khichidis than chicken biryanis, so you can be twice as confident in your choice.
Whatever you do, please try your best to avoid chicken. Don’t order chicken fried rice, chicken 65, butter chicken or chicken Darjeeling momo. You are better off with a healthier option, such as the No. 1 dish in Bangalore: masala dosa. Other great options include paneer tikka masala (No. 1 in Pune) and dal fry (No. 1 in Jaipur).
If you insist on having biryani, there are many tasty varieties you can try: vegetable biryani, mutton biryani, prawn biryani, egg biryani and even duck biryani. Actually, as any biryani connoisseur knows, almost every region in India has its special kind of biryani. For example, one of the most famous kinds of biryani is Hyderabadi biryani, also known as “biryani to die for.” It is ideally made with goat meat, not chicken. Putting chicken in Hyderabadi biryani is like putting ice cream on gulab jamuns.
However, according to Swiggy, the most popular dish in Hyderabad was … you guessed it … chicken biryani. It was also the most popular dish in Chennai, Kolkata and Lucknow.
If that isn’t enough, chicken biryani was the most common first dish ordered, thanks to 4.25 lakh new users on Swiggy. Moreover, “chicken biryani cut” was the fourth most ordered meat item from Swiggy’s Meat Stores, which means that people are cooking a lot of chicken biryani at home (and forgetting to invite me).
But before you do the same, I’d like to suggest that you follow the example of a biryani lover in Kolkata. She made a Swiggy Genie delivery partner travel 39.3 kms to bring her biryani – her favorite kind of biryani: mutton biryani. Did I mention how much I love mutton biryani?