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Aug 7, 2010 05:51 AM

Biryani recommendations

Who makes superb biryanis in the greater boston area?

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  1. I'm going to totally make myself look bad-- but I find the frozen briyani that they sell at Trader Joe's to be really yummy!

    Haha, not the answer you were looking for, but I figured I'd throw it out there!

    Trader Joe's
    1427 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

    1. There are sadly no superb biryanis (or Indian food for that matter) in the greater Boston area.


      5 Replies
      1. re: trueblu

        Really, trublu? I have had some very nice Indian meals in the Greater Boston area. I base my experience on my eating Indian food in the UK, where I lived for many yrs., and have found many places here that are just as good. Maybe my expectations of what Indian food shld be is different from yrs.
        nasilemak, I don't eat bryiyani, so I have no suggestions for you.

        1. re: CookieLee

          I'm from England, and my experiences are rather different. As a case in point, in most Indian restaurants in the US you can order your korma 'spicy' or your madras 'mild' -- which makes a mockery of the traditional (English-style, not authentic) Indian dishes. I also find most of the dishes are just far, far too sweet -- in keeping with the americanisation of most ethnic dishes.

          I've also not found anything close to authentic-style Indian 'chaat' street food, or true Indian style food (most English 'Indian' restaurants are actually Bangladeshi).

          Having said that, I've really stopped going to Indian restaurants in Boston, so my search has not been exhaustive. I eat my curry at either the homes of Indian friends or on trips back to Blighty.


          1. re: trueblu

            It was a friend from London who recommended Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen in Brookline. He said it was the only place in Boston that served high end, London style Indian food. We love it but don't know if you will find they've sweetened their menu for American tastes.

            I don't think I will ever be able to enjoy Butter chicken anywhere else after trying theirs and the breads were outstanding.

            Photo here:



            Tamarind Bay
            75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

            1. re: trueblu

              To be fair, what is called a biryani in a typical British high street restaurant is pilau rice stir-fried with a protein (shrimp, chicken, lamb) and some vegetables, and a serving of mixed vegetable curry to go with it. While I like this dish, it's probably not what the OP is looking for, when you consider the preparation methods of traditional biryanis.

          2. re: trueblu

            I'm with trueblu on this:

            Since I posted that, though, I've had several very good dishes at Tamarind Bay (see lower in that thread), and my opinion of them has gone up a lot. They even make very good lamb biryani, although it's not in the style I'm used to.

            Tamarind Bay
            75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

          3. the Combo Biryani at The Kebab Factory is my absolute favorite.

            The Kebab Factory
            414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

            4 Replies
            1. re: ScubaSteve

              Is that a.k.a. the "medley" of chicken, shrimp and lamb? I had that in vindaloo form from K.F. recently and it was superb.

              Although I haven't had their biryani, I had a chicken tikka wrap from J.M.P. yesterday which was fantastic -- lean chicken pieces in a mild curry sauce with fresh vegetables, in a roti wrap, piping hot.

              1. re: chickendhansak

                As much as I love JMP, I find their chicken tikka masala disgusting. The sauce tastes EXACTLY like Spaghetti-Os!

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  Well, you may enjoy the chicken tikka wrap because it's not CTM-based.

                2. re: chickendhansak

                  yes, chicken, shrimps, lamb with cashews and pistachios. they used to serve it molded but now it's just served free form.

              2. J.M.P. International Foods in the food court of the Allston Hong Kong Supermarket (f/k/a Super 88) does a very fine biryani, especially the lamb. Cafe Mamtaz in Southie does very tasty takeaway versions in the style of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and North India, as well as (what I believe is a Mughal-style) shahi pulao.


                9 Replies
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  as is my want, i will put i a plug for tamarind bay though i have not eaten in london. i certainly like it as much as the best indian restaurants in NYC that i have tried.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    JMP, which now has an actual menu board, is easily my favorite biryani in Boston. The food stall is entirely one family and the food tastes like good home cooking.

                    1. re: lergnom

                      Enthusiastic third on JMP: their lamb biryani is one of my favorite dishes in the city.

                      1. re: lergnom

                        i'll have to second JMP, I have been eating their biryani for years, reminds me of home in london

                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                        Really enjoyed the lamb biryani at JMP - and appreciated the recommendation. I had looked at this stall many times, but had no clue it could produce such a tasty dish - cooked to order, no less. So many Indian restaurants deliver food to tables so quickly, that you just KNOW it's sitting in a pot waiting to be doled out. Here, we watched our dishes being prepared. Thanks! Yum!

                        1. re: The Lady

                          You watched the meat being prepared from scratch? You have the patience of a saint. Or did they take cooked meat from a pot waiting to be doled out and mix it with a bit of precooked rice from another pot waiting to be doled out?

                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                            They cook the ingredients other than rice a la minute in a sauce pan. You can watch the entire process. I don't anyone would imply that rice is made to order. Anywhere.

                            1. re: lergnom

                              Do they cook the meat to order or is it precooked? I watched what they did yesterday. They take precooked meat, precooked rice, and precooked onions, stir them together in a pan for a minute or two, then serve it. This may meet your definition of "cooking" but to me it's just "warming stuff up."

                              As an aside, basmati rice that's been washed and presoaked can easily be cooked to order in 10 or 12 minutes. Places don't do it, by and large, but it can be done.

                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                Please tell me who cooked the meat, rice and onions before the dish was assembled. The Basmati Fairy, perhaps? Or do you think they were shipped 50 kilo packages of precooked lamb and caramelized onions and cooked basmati rice?

                      3. I'm a big fan of the biryani at Shanti in Dorchester.