Donne Biryani: The Popular Rice and Meat dish from Bangalore served in Dried Leaf Cups

Usually, the names of biryani varieties are prefixed by the places of their origin, like Hyderabadi, Awadhi, Kolkata, and Ambur. An exception is Donne Biryani the most popular biryani of Bangalore, which gets its name from the dried leaf cup or bowl known locally as Donne in which it is served.

Donne Biryani at Maa Ooru Biryani, Hyderabad

Donne Biryani is in high demand all over Bengaluru and neighbouring districts of Karnataka, and it is the local military hotels that have made it famous. The first few such hotels were essentially small eateries set up for Maratha soldiers in the seventeenth century to enjoy some economical non-vegetarian food. Over time, these places catered to the soldiers of Tipu Sultan as well as the British army. Even now, Shivaji Military Hotel and Ranganna Military Hotel are some of the popular places in Bengaluru where food lovers scamper to for their fill of this biryani.

This biryani is actually more of a pulav where rice and marinated meat are cooked with green masala and basic spices on firewood or coal.  The rice used is short-grained and aromatic jeera samba, which is common in many biryani variants of South India, and known as Chitti Mutyalu in the Telugu states. The dish is available in variants of mutton and chicken, though I have not come across a version with beef so far. 

Shivaji Military Hotel, Bengaluru

Also read: Ambur Biryani

Donne biryani is not a complicated dish. The basic spices used are coriander, cumin, whole garam masalas as well as ginger and garlic paste. The green masala has quite a bit of mint leaves, green chillies and sometimes a little coriander leaves too. The flavourful rice adds to the taste of the dish which is often served with a spicy gravy and onions spiked with curd.  Even the aroma from the donne in which it is served has a role in its flavours. The biryani is a simple and economical rice and meat dish for the masses, which is easy on the pocket as well as the tummy. 

In Hyderabad, Maa Ooru Biryani at Kukatpally is perhaps the only place serving Donne Biryani.  Rachin and Priya Katti set up this restaurant in 2015, and this biryani is their fastest moving item on the menu. As per Rachin, who is originally from Bangalore, the meat stock in which the biryani is prepared and the mint tempered masala provide a distinctive taste to the dish.  The restaurant offers the chicken and mutton variants of the biryani and even a vegetarian version with carrots and beans. Their customers range from IT professionals to local traders, and many regulars drop in quite a few times in a week. 

At Rayalaseema Ruchulu, Hyderabad

Rayalaseema Ruchulu, the well-known Telugu restaurant has also added this dish to its menu in the recent times. Chickpet Donne Biryani with branches in Kondapur and Ameerpet is another chain of restaurants where you can enjoy this dish. 

Note: This is an updated version of the article originally published in New Indian Express Hyderabad on 30th December 2018. 

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Qmin Food Delivery Platform Delivers Delicacies from Taj Falaknuma

 COVID is almost at its peak, and not many people are opting to dine out during these times, but still missing the food from their favourite restaurants, such as those from IHCL or the Taj Hotels group. Wasabi, Varq, Karavalli, and Thai Pavilion are some of the names that immediately come to mind. In Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace is clearly the most coveted hospitality destination in the city. Adaa, the fine dining restaurant here is known for the recipes from Royal kitchens, whereas Celeste celebrates international food including Continental and Oriental. Both restaurants have their staunch loyalists in the city.

To offer the delicacies of their signature restaurants in the comfort of home, Taj Hotels has launched Qmin, an exclusive delivery platform delivering food of their signature restaurants under the Taj@Home initiative. After Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata, the platform has been launched in Hyderabad on 7th August Friday. To start with, the platform will deliver food from both Adaa and Celeste, the two restaurants of Taj Falaknuma. At a later stage, this may be expanded to include other Taj properties in Hyderabad also.

Food Delivered by Qmint

So what makes Qmin different? Qmin stands for Qurated dishes made with the highest Quality of ingredients, offering a variety of your favourite Quisines, delivered at your doorstep in the comfort and convenience of your home. As of now, there is a toll-free number 1800 266 7646 which the guests can call to place their order. You have the option of discussing the menu (available through an online link) with the chef so that you can fine-tune your requirement. The protocols of hygiene are all followed such as contactless delivery, biodegradable containers, and sanitized vehicles. Delivery is available all over Hyderabad. Soon, an app will be released to make the ordering process even more seamless.

Biodegradable Packing

I got the opportunity to try out the platform on the day of its launch. A detailed telephonic discussion with the F&B Head helped me in fine-tuning my order. As requested, the food was delivered to my apartment complex right at 1 pm. The delivery executive delivered at the designated location in our building and informed me on the phone regarding the same. The biodegradable boxes had most of the items neatly packed, while the biryani was served in a separate paper bag.


While ordering the food, I stressed on the dishes I had not tried in these restaurants. From Adaa, I ordered the Amer Khwani Biryani (a special preparation topped with soft lamb and seekh kabab) as well as the well-known Raan-E-Adaa. Both the dishes were absolutely brilliant. The Haleem with shredded lamb and a perfect balance of spices was impressive. The Lamb Shikampuri is a special Hyderabadi dish for me, and I loved it with the mint chutney accompanying it. Even after almost an hour of travelling the food was extremely fresh. 

Amer Khwani Biryani 


Among the other items on the delivery menu at Adaa, Dum ki Nalli, Keema Kaleji, and Sofiyani Murgh Pulav are some of my recommendations. The last one is only available in a handful of restaurants in the city, and Adaa serves one of the best versions of the same. Vegetarians can safely order Jimmykand Shikampuri,  Bharwan Paneer, and Subz Gulzar Biryani. A few dishes from the Telugu cuisine such as Nellore Kodi Kura are also available. 

Lamb Shikampuri

Kachhe Gosht Ki Biryani

Choosing continental and Oriental items from Celeste was a tough ask, as there are so many things that you like on the menu. I chose to try out Cajun Crusted Fish with Wilted Greens from the Continental stable and Five Spice Pan Seared Duck from Oriental. I was tempted to order a Pepperoni Pizza, but finally desisted. For my wife, who has a sweet tooth, 


Fudge Brownies and Mango Coconut Pudding were the choices made. Reluctantly, we did not order Jauzi Halwa, the Hyderabadi dessert with Turkish influence, as there were too many items already.

Cajun Crusted Fish with Wilted Greens

Five Spice Pan Seared Duck

Seafood Laksa, Whole Wheat Aglio Olio, Garlic & Scallion Chicken, and Butter Chilli Garlic Prawns were among other dishes that looked interesting to me. You also have a choice of pizza, sandwiches, and burgers. 

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli

The launch of Qmint brings great news for the loyal clientele of Taj Falaknuma as well as food lovers who wish to deliver in food from Adaa and Celeste. Impeccable packing, safe contactless delivery on time are added advantages apart from the food itself, the quality of which has never been in doubt. The food can be ordered between 12 Noon and 10 PM. 

Note: Some pics are courtesy of the hotel.

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