B-09-01, Jalan 19/1, Section 19,
3 Two Square, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7932 2525
Business hours: 7am to 10pm, daily.

Briyani connoisseur only uses ingredients and cooking utensils from India for the dish.

GOING in search of good briyani and trying to find the best in town can be quite challenging.

Fortunately, briyani connoisseur and restaurateur Iqbal Gani has brought together the best elements of this diverse dish at Taj Biryani House to offer his interpretation of the what makes a good briyani meal.

Iqbal, who is from Slim River, Perak, said his deep affection for the dish is rooted back to his childhood.

“When I was about seven years old, my late father used to take me to Bilal or Kassim restaurant in Jalan Masjid India in Kuala Lumpur for briyani. He would drive all the way from Perak just to eat briyani.

“Now I am able to travel to Qatar, Dubai and various parts of India to try their briyani whether it is in the Middle Eastern, North Indian or South Indian style, I will mark these travel destinations just to sample the briyani.”

Biryani specialist Chef Rehman Sharieff, Tandoor specialist Chef Pavan Singh and South Indian curry specialist Chef Muthukrishnan in action at Taj Biryani House.

(From left) Biryani specialist Chef Rehman Sharieff, Tandoor specialist Chef Pavan Singh and South Indian curry specialist Chef Muthukrishnan in action at Taj Biryani House.

Iqbal, a former food and beverage manager at a hotel, decided to channel his experience and expertise into his long-time dream of starting a briyani restaurant.

“I finally found a cook who makes it just right during my trip to Hyderabad, last year.

“Unlike the Middle Eastern version or the Calcutta version of briyani, the Hyderabadi dum style has gravy and is not dry which is how most Malaysians enjoy their rice,” said Iqbal.

Under the culinary expertise of briyani specialist Rehman Sharieff, tandoor specialist Pavan Singh from Delhi and South Indian curry specialist Muthukrishnan, Taj Biryani House serves 50 dishes, including the signature Hyderabadi Dum Biryani in four styles — chicken, mutton, fish and prawn.

Iqbal’s love for the rice dish is clearly evident in every spoon of the mutton briyani (top pic), made from the finest quality long grain basmati rice and succulent mutton cubes.

Garnished with raisins, the curried briyani rice is an explosion of flavours, making the chicken in the dish an equal star of the spread.

“Although, it can be quite costly, I do not compromise on quality. I have made sure that all the cooking utensils and ingredients are imported from India,” Iqbal said, adding that the tandoor clay oven and dum briyani pot were also specially chosen by the cooks to ensure the dishes were cooked to perfection.

Machili Cashew Tikka, clay oven skewers of baked salmon cubes at Taj Biryani House.

Machili Cashew Tikka at Taj Biryani House.

Some of the North Indian courses that are sure to excite the taste buds are the clay oven baked chicken skewers or Murgh Tandoor while Reshmi Kebab is boneless cubes of chicken cooked in cashewnut gravy.

The most interesting tandoor dish has to be the baked salmon cubes in a dish called Machili Cashew Tikka, with tender meat skewers atop a salad accompaniment.

Vegetarians will not feel left out from the generous tandoor menu with vegetarian kebabs or skewers of spiced broccoli and cauliflower, which complements the roti and Dal Tadka (yellow lentils curry).

Whole wheat floor bread or tandoor roti and dal tadka yellow lentils curry at Taj Biryani House.

Whole wheat floor bread or tandoor roti accompanied with dal tadka yellow lentils curry at Taj Biryani House.

The restaurant’s Gajar ka Halwa, a pudding made from finely grated carrots cooked in condensed milk and seasoned with cardamom, is a great way to end your meal.

The Petaling Jaya restaurant is the first branch in Malaysia with two other eateries in Kuala Belait, Brunei and Usman Road, Chennai.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro

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