Raj Wines is a quaint café situated at 01-68 Little India Arcade ,directly opposite the Indian Heritage Centre at the junction of Campbell lane and Clive Street. It is painted orange with green panels and is a partially open air café by the roadside. Along the side of this corner café are chairs and tables which are very comfortable if you want to relax and tuck in your food and just people watch. It is what I would say a vibrant atmosphere and a happening place, always busy simply because it is popular. It is a café for the man on the street not too expensive but at the same time very clean and cosy .It has the rhythmic beat of a selection of happy Bollywood music playing along making the whole ambience a place of fun. Food is mainly a mix of North Indian and South Indian cuisine and young energetic waiters serve you with great enthusiasm. The food here is indeed great and yummy and very affordable . You can down a couple of beers to cool you off as you bask in the sunshine and enjoy your meal .The place is owned by Mr Kalpanath Singh who is most of the time at the café walking around and checking to see that his guests are comfortable and enjoying their dinning experience. The unique feature of Mr Kalpanath Singh, as a restaurateur, is that he is truly concerned that his guests are happy and enjoying themselves and he takes pride in ensuring that his dynamic team of waiters also see to the comfort of their guests. He gives personalized service and this is not only attractive but appealing. The amiable approach makes you want to come back and dine again not just for the great food but for the atmosphere which is happy and friendly. The café is now 10 years old and the chefs are all from the Subcontinent of India, well trained in the hospitality, food and beverage industry .Diners are from all walks of life and a cosmopolitan lot are always seen at this lovely café.
What is great about the food is their Dum Briyani which is only available on Friday and Saturday. Served on stainless steel plates the Dum Briyani here is tasty and flavorful and cooked to perfection in the traditional methods. The ingredients are Basmati rice, chicken, yogurt, onions, spices, lemon, saffron. Coriander leaves and fried onions are used as garnish. Although the preferred meat is goat, it is replaced by chicken or other meats in some variations. A biryani is usually served with Dahi chutney (yogurt and onions) and Mirchi ka salan – a green chili curry. The salad includes onion, carrot, cucumber, and lemon wedge Basmati in South Asia) is a variety of long, slender grain aromatic rice which is traditionally from India and Pakistan. In 2014, India was the largest exporter of Basmati rice, supplying 65% of the trade. The areas of basmati rice production in India are in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. India's total basmati production for the 2011/12 crop year that ended June was 5 million tonnes. In Pakistan, 95% of the basmati rice cultivation takes place in the province of Punjab, where total production was 2.47 million tonnes in 2010. In India, Haryana is the major basmati rice cultivating state, producing more than 60% of the total basmati rice produced in India.
Basmati rice has a typical pandan-like (Pandanus amaryllifolius leaf) flavour caused by the aroma compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. Basmati grains contain about 0.09 ppm of this aromatic chemical compound naturally, a level that is about 12 times more than non-Basmati rice varieties, giving Basmati its distinctive spicy fragrance and flavour. This natural aroma is also found in cheese, fruits and other cereals. It is a flavoring agent approved in the United States and Europe, and is used in bakery products for aroma.
HISTORY OF DUM BRIYANI
Biryani is considered to be a dish of Indian origin, more prominently considered to be dish of Nizam (Ruler of the state of Deccan). South India has more varieties of biryani than any other part of the subcontinent. Also, rice is a more staple food in South India than the rest of India. Hyderabadi biryani originated after blending of Mughlai and Iranian cuisine in the kitchens of the Nizam, rulers of the historic Hyderabad State.
Biryani originated in Persia and might have taken couple of different routes to arrive in India
Biryani is derived from the Farsi word 'Birian'. Based on the name, and cooking style (Dum), one can conclude that the dish originated in Persia and/or Arabia. It could have come from Persia via Afghanistan to North India. It could have also been brought by the Arab traders via Arabian sea to Calicut. We know the history little better during 1800 to 1900. During Mogul empire, Lucknow was known as Awadh, giving rise to Awadhi Biryani. In 1856, British deposed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Calcutta, giving rise to Calcutta Biryani. Aurangzeb installed Nizam-ul-mulk as the Asfa Jahi ruler of Hyderabad, as well as a 'Nawab of Arcot' to oversee Aaru Kaadu region (Six Forrests) south of Hyderabad. These moves gave rise to Hyderabadi Biryani and Arcot Biryani. The Biryani spread to Mysore by Tipu Sultan of Carnatic. Needless to say it was a royal dish for Nawabs and Nizams. They hired vegetarian Hindus as bookkeepers leading to the development of Tahiri Biryani.
Besides the historical facts, the story gets little fuzzy with legends.
One legend has it that Timor, the lame brought it down from Kazakhstan via Afghanistan to Northern India. According to another legend, Mumtaz Mahal (the beauty who sleeps in Taj Mahal) concocted this dish as a "complete meal" to feed the army. Yet, some say the dish really originated in West Asia. The Nomads would burry an earthen pot full of meat, rice and spices in a pit, eventually the pot was dug up and there was the Biryani.
Because of its connection to the royal courts of the Mughal Empire, biryani also stands out as a dish reserved for the most special of occasions. The Mughal Emperors were known to lavish in luxury, wealth and fine dining, and biryani became a perfect staple dish to suit.
The name derives from the Persian word bery?(n) which means fried or roasted. Birian means ‘fried before cooking’.
Traditionally, rice was fried before boiling. It would be fried in ghee or clarified butter and then cooked in boiling water. The frying process gave the rice a nutty flavour but it also formed a starch layer around each grain. This meant that rice would not clump together, and it would retain its shape when mixed with the meat.
The dish is made with a blend of aromatic spices, Basmati rice and a choice of meat: lamb, chicken or fish in a rich sauce. Alternatively, it can be made with vegetables.
Biryani is seasoned in a number of ways. Spices like cardamom and cinnamon add aroma. Bay leaves, fresh coriander and mint leaves can really bring the dish to life. Many people also add nuts and dried fruits to dish to encourage both another texture and flavour. Cashew nuts, almonds, raisins and apricots are the most commonly used. For a decorative finish, yellow or orange food colouring is used to dye the rice.
Like any South Asian classic, the dish is steeped in a rich history dating back to the Mughal Empire.Biryani encompasses a heritage of classical South Asian cuisine. Its complexity and skill to produce marks it as one of the finer delicacies of our time. Biryani has become a classic dish of South Asian cuisine. Its many mouth-watering varieties make it hugely attractive to South Asians and Westerners alike.
At Raj Wines, you can enjoy authentic Dum Briyani in a casual, happy, atmosphere and you know once you have experienced dinning at this quaint café I assure you will come back and frequently too and perhaps make it your regular haunt. There is a very vibrant and inviting feeling when you come here. Food is great and not hefty on the pockets you really can’t ask for more!