The students who reserved a spot at the biryani wars get in line first.

The Biryani War: Muslim Student Association’s Own Food Fight

Mar 24, 2023

What do you think happens at religious club meetings at Niles West? Analyzing ancient scripture? Group prayer? Taste-testing biryani? One of these things is not like the other, but that’s precisely what Muslim Student Association (MSA) did last Friday. After a recent debate between the students of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) on whose mother made the best biryani, they decided to test it themselves, having club members bring their mom’s food in for others to try and vote on the best one.

Biryani is a combination of rice and either spiced meat, vegetables or fish originating among Muslims in India. It can be made with various ingredient combinations, making every recipe unique. Each person has a different addition that they think makes the perfect biryani.

Students who attended the event shared their opinions on what qualities make the best biryani.

“The best biryani has a bunch of aloo [potatoes], good seasoned chicken and lots of seasoning. I really enjoyed this competition because I was really hungry and all the food was great,” freshman Tehreem Qaisar said.

“I know my mom’s biryani is literally the best, so it’s no surprise that I tied for first. Now everyone else just gets to know how great her cooking is,” senior Sama Pate said.

The voting at the “Biryani War” was anonymous, having students place sticky notes by their favorite dish. Number 4 and 5 tied for first place, and even though there was no prize, the winners still enjoyed the bragging rights that came along with it.

“People’s families know each other and always brag about whose mom makes the best biryani. This vote is to prove it once and for all, who makes the best biryani,” social studies teacher and MSA sponsor and social studies teacher Daniel Kosiba said.

This competition wasn’t a normal meeting for MSA. Most of their meetings consist of group prayer, presentations and community service opportunities. Their club has greatly expanded in the last year, going from meeting in a classroom to moving into the Literacy Center. With all this change comes new ideas, and with new ideas comes biryani.

“We have a great family dynamic in our club and we have so many participants, over 100 students registered for MSA this year,” Kosiba said.

If you couldn’t attend this year’s tournament, don’t worry; MSA sponsors are considering making this an annual event so more parents and students can join the competition. While religious clubs are often put in the box of being boring, the Biryani War proves that they can be both fun and delicious.

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