Shakeel Biryani


“Well, my name is Shakeel Ahmad Khan. This business started in 1992 and I set it up myself. We offer biryani which is our family’s profession. We started with biryani and continue with it. My father, too cooks. Only, he used to make it out of beef, but I use chicken. My grandfather Majeed Pehelvaan set up shop near the Jhandewala Park. Our extended family members have shops all over town: the mazaar of Sayyad Baba, Qaiserbagh fish market, vegetable market, sheep market, pulao wali gali, Akbari gate. Some of our relatives run shops in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. All of us serve authentic Awadhi cuisine. When I started work, a plate of biryani sold for ₹ 5, now it is 140. Countless customers favour us every day. We consume 40-45 kilo of chicken in a day.” He agreed that their signature dish should be called a yakhni pulao rather than biryani. We have described the process of ‘carving’ biryani elsewhere. Shakeel, too has a style of serving out biryani in a way that no grain of rice is broken as it spread out in the plate. He says he has never tasted biryani cooked by anybody else, though he is fond of Wahab’s kulcha-nihari.