As a personal rule of thumb, I don’t order rice in Indian restaurants, preferring to sop up curries with buttery sheets of naan. I can’t explain why, but it’s always been a habit. Well, until a friend told me to get a platter of shrimp biryani over at the New Bombay Canteen stall at Glorietta’s Food Choices.
Essentially, a biryani is a savory dish made of rice pepped up with spices. Additional ingredients and cooking methods all depend on location, as the different Indian provinces have differing views on how to prepare the dish. The biryanis at the New Bombay follow the Hyderabadi tradition as it almost always include a marinated animal protein cooked with the rice.
On picking the shrimp biryani, I thought it was going to be a disappointment as it didn’t seem to have any shrimp beyond the few specimens scattered on top. I was pleasantly surprised when spoonful after spoonful of this saffron-yellowed dish yielded an amazing wealth of tender, succulent little shrimps. The robust flavor of the seafood was balanced by the nip of fresh coriander and the pungent snap of cumin.
Oh, and that little dish of coriander sambal in the pic? While it was supposed to go with the samosas I ordered for a side, it made a better match with the glorious shrimp and rice.