Kolkata biryani evolved from the Lucknowi (Awadhi) style, when Awadh's last Nawab—Wajid Ali Shah was exiled to the Kolkata suburb of Metiabruz in 1856. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah brought his personal bawarchi with him. The poorer households of Kolkata, which could not afford meat, used potatoes instead, which went on to become a specialty of the Kolkata biryani.
The Kolkata biryani primarily uses meat, potatoes, and significantly lighter on spices when compared to the masaledaar, kacchi Hyderabadi Murgh Dum Pukht Biryani. The main masaale for the pakki Kolkata biryani are jaiphal, dalchini, javitri, laung, and elaichi in the dahi-based marinade for the meat. The rice is flavoured with Mughlai style kewra jal, gulab jal, kesar, khoya, and meetha attar essence.