Search

My Mother's Biryani

BY AMAL BUMBIA (staff writer)



in wisps

dense steam rises from the pot

which heats on low flame

of mild blue and thin orange streams


mellow

is the aroma,

perfume of soft rice

and warm spice


onions in hot oil

brown alongside fresh ginger and garlic


had we allowed our minds to wander,

to be distracted by the harsh sizzling of the onion

or the chaotic state of our kitchen


knives out

vegetable scraps

chicken defrosting


they would have burned


i open the spice cabinet

garam masala,

chili powder,

coriander,

cumin,

others i do not recognize


my mother adds

spoonful after spoonful

into plain yogurt


it flavors


the aromatics

potatoes and chicken

and sweet tomatoes

aalu bukhara


this dull orange paste

they stew together in the pot


basmati rice

rinsed

starchy water remains

soft in scent

as the rice is brought to a boil

in order to be layered with the chicken masala


red and orange colorings

they garnish the top of the rice

alongside fresh coriander

and dark fried onion


the biryani is complete.

Sharing culturally diverse stories to educate, inspire, and empower others

IMG_1081%202_edited.png