Head to Lalla's in Old Lucknow for some lip-smacking Biryani!
Biryani at this tiny shop is cooked leisurely over a slow flame. Customers say it's so tender that it simply melts in your mouth
Text: Swati Subhedar
Biryani is the real Nawab of Mughlai cuisine and Eid festivity is never complete unless you have had a plateful of lip-smacking, finger-licking Biryani!
If you happen to be in Lucknow, Eid or no Eid, you must head to the old part of the city to have 'Lalla ki Biryani'. It's a nondescript shop, but it's quite famous so it won't be too difficult for you to locate it. Either people will guide you to it or the aroma of Biryani being cooked on slow flame will pull you to the shop.
The joint is run by Vijay Shankar Verma, but since Lalla is his nick-name, the joint is known as 'Lalla ki Biryani'.
Vijay hails from Shahjahanpur. When he moved to Lucknow to make a living, he came up with this idea to sell Biryani. Initially, he would prepare Biryani at home and then sell it at odds spots in Old Lucknow -- some street one day, some cross road the next day.
His guru was Abrar Ahmed -- a master chef himself when it comes to making Biryani. He shared his expertise with Lalla and that's how 'Lalla ki Biryani' came into being at Chaopatiya Chowk in Lucknow.
Lalla prepares the Biryani himself. His sons help him out. He has hired a few boys, but he insists on slow-cooking this delicious dish with his own hands, every single day. He says that gives him immense pleasure and satisfaction.
The joint has many loyal customers who swear by his Biryani. There are many repeat customers and also the first-timers who can't stop raving about the Biryani, which according to them just "melts into their mouth". The old-timers say that it's been so many years, but the Biryani still tastes the same. Lalla's specialises in mutton dishes -- korma, biryani and kebabs.
Lalla is a content man. He is happy with his productivity and has no plans of expansion even though it's a small joint and people usually line up for take-aways.
"All I want is that my customers should be happy. I make Biryani with lot of love and I feed my customers with the same amount of love. If I am able to win them over, that's great. Otherwise there is no point in me running this business," said Lalla while taking out a ladle-full of Biryani and serving it in a plate.