Thanks to one of our very special readers (Britt) we were tipped off to the fact that Little India, an Indian grocery store behind Target, sells home-made chicken biryani on Thursdays (and Fridays, it turns out). When I went on Thursday I got there right before closing (9pm) and the biryani (packed in to-go containers) was no longer warm, but was still quite good, especially with the yogurt sauce. Not that it would take much, but it was far better than the level of Indian I expect around Durham. Apparently it was even better when my friend happened to get there for a fresh batch (around 8pm) on Friday.*** They also have fresh samosas—by 8:45 there was only one cold sad one left, but it would be worth checking out to see if they’re better earlier in the evening.
***(From the friend) Actually, I picked mine up at Spice Bazaar, which is in front of Target. (Random aside/tip for those of you with wheat and gluten allergies: check out Spice Bazaar’s great selection of flour, much cheaper than you will find at some yuppie health food store).
I had never been to Spice Bazaar before, and by happy coincidence was there at the same time that they had received a fresh shipment of the biryani, still hot. The guy at the counter pressured me into buying it. He said that it was homemade by his friend. Anyway, I was weak with hunger and had no will to resist. They had chicken curry and biryani, plus samosas. The guy said that I absolutely should go for the biryani since it involved special rice that I couldn’t make at home. (Nevermind that I would have no idea how to make chicken curry at home.) The biryani consisted of some streaky-looking yellow rice mixed with little bits of dark meat. There was also a chicken leg in there, and the rice mixture was topped off with cashews, some unidentifiable green herb, and caramelized onions. Finally, there was also a little container holding some kind of yogurt and onion sauce. The guy insisted that I pour this over. That turned out to be a good choice–the biryani was very flavorful, had a little kick, and I really liked being able to stir all of the condiments on top into it.
So yeah, it’s definitely the same biryani at both stores, maybe one is only Thursdays and the other only Fridays? They’re basically around the strip-mall block from one another so if one doesn’t work out, try the other.