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100 Favorite Dishes, No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai

The vegetable biryani at Chennai
The vegetable biryani at Chennai
Catherine Downes

To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.

It's time for bonus dishes. Why pick one biryani when you can pick two and have twice the aromatic, fluffy, well-seasoned rice in your life?

Vegetarians rejoice. The vegetable byriani served at Chennai tastes nothing like a concession to your dietary restrictions. The cooks in the kitchen coax an almost unnatural amount of flavors out of mere vegetables and herbs. In fact, this is a byriani that could seduce the most devoted carnivores.

But if you still prefer pleasures of the flesh, the goat biryani served here coaxes so much flavor from an animal it's almost shocking. The rice is light and airy, but it tastes rich and earthy at the same time, likely because of a generous addition of young, very fatty goat meat. There's a lot of spices involved too, from chilies for a mild heat, to cinnamon and cardamon for depth and aromatics. There's a lot going on, but hours spent under slow heat gently coaxes everything together.

And because such things are customary, the goat biryani is served with a small dish of heady chicken curry. Drizzle a little over the rice before you dig in. No wonder biryani is typically reserved for special occasions.

Goat biryani
Goat biryani
Catherine Downes

No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co. No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen No. 87: The White Album at Spoon No. 86: Ramen at Tei An No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue

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