Sunday Times Food Awards 2018

Which supermarket chicken biryani is worth its spice?

To help you buy the best, we put heat-and-eat Indian dishes from leading supermarkets to the taste test

08 July 2018 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Chicken biryani.
Chicken biryani.
Image: 123RF/whiteboxmedia

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

We gathered a group of wine experts together and asked them to put curries from different supermarkets to the taste test.

All the curries came in trays with rice. The curries were compared in a blind tasting where each curry was judged on aroma, appearance/presentation, taste, authenticity, ratio of protein to rice and whether the taster would purchase it.

We asked the chefs of HTA Cooking Academy in Randburg, Joburg, to assist and under strict scrutiny they removed all the packaging, numbered the curries and heated them exactly according to the packaging instructions before serving them to the tasting panel

From top: Chicken biryani from Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
From top: Chicken biryani from Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

PICK N PAY

Dish: Chicken Biryani

Price: R59.99 for 350g 

What the judges said:

  • Clive: Great presentation with all the components well prepared and distinguishable.
  • Callan: Chicken tender, potatoes soft. Caramelised onions and spice contribute to the flavour.
  • Francis: I enjoyed the different textures in the dish and like the flavour.

WOOLWORTHS

Dish: Chicken Biryani

Price: R62.99 for 350g 

What the judges said:

  • Cornell: Lovely aroma, nice balance of coriander but lacked spice.
  • Lloyd: Appearance and presentation quite appealing coupled with classic aromas although a bit of an anti-climax.
  • Tshepang: Potato aroma is prominent, overall spiciness and sweetness of onion improves the flavour.
  • Melissa: Bland pale rice, lacking in "biryani-ness", more like a mild rice and chicken.

CHECKERS SPICE

Dish: Chicken Biryani

Price: R44.99 for 350g 

What the judges said:

  • Shannon: Zero aroma, microwaved potatoes not good. At least there was chicken.
  • Mario: Appearance OK, flavour bland. Rice OK. Not my favourite.
  • Eric: Dish is very ordinary and flavourless.
  • Clive: Unimpressive, sour taste to what is traditionally a flavoursome dish.

WINES TO TRY WITH CHICKEN BIRYANI

Our wine experts tried a trio of tipples with their meals. Here's what they had to say:

• Checkers: Odd Bins 111 Chenin Blanc 2017 (R34.99): “Fruity and too sweet. Not great with biryani.”

• Pick n Pay: Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2017 (R121): “Wine great colour, great nose, good balance of tropical fruit.”

• Woolworths: Pinot Grigio (R49.99): “Tolerate at best but still lacking in classicism.”


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