Tantalizing Tastes: Hyderabadi Biryani

Origins of Hyderabadi Biryani

The mere mention of the word biryani conjures up images of large pots steaming with rice and meat and the fragrant smells of Saffron and Basmati rice. Moreover, we all know that the best biryanis come from Hyderabad. Hyderabadi cuisine is known worldwide for its uniqueness. Unlike other regions in South India, Hyderabad was a stronghold of the Nizams and its cuisine has been heavily influenced by the Persians and the Mughals. The cuisine is also meat-based and the utmost attention is given to finding the right kinds of rice, spices, meat, herbs, etc. Hyderabadi biryani has a distinct taste and is laden with saffron and ghee. This type of biryani is spicier than the other versions found throughout India.

Inimitable Hyderabadi Biryani

Hyderabadi biryani is the perfect combination of Andhra and Mughlai cooking techniques. As we all know, this type of biryani originated in the kitchens of the Nizams. How many of us have been lured into a restaurant by the fragrant aromas of a steaming plate of biryani? Almost every Indian can answer that question with a “Me!” The cooking of this type of biryani is considered an art form and many families still use traditional pots made of copper and brass to cook their biryanis. Pressure cookers are a complete no-no. A good Hyderabadi biryani must be slowly cooked over hours resulting in layers of tastes and textures. It is always cooked with Basmati rice, saffron, lamb meat and spices but some versions are made with chicken.

The distinct aroma of a plateful of Hyderabadi biryani is a result of the ittar, mace, kewra water, rose water, ghee, saffron and numerous exotic spices that are often used during the cooking process. This biryani recipe also uses loads of onions, yoghurt, lemon and coriander to marinate, cook and garnish the dish. To balance the strong flavors of the biryani, it is often eaten with Raita (Yoghurt-based side dish) or Bagare Baingan (Roasted Eggplant). You may have eaten countless plates of biryani and Raita in your lifetime but do you know that there are two types of Hyderabadi biryani? Probably not! Kachi gosht ki biryani is the one that is slow-coked over coals in a pot sealed with dough. Here, the meat is cooked with the rice. Pakki biryani takes less time to prepare as the meat is cooked before it is added to the rice.

Hometown of Hyderabadi Biryani

Is goes without saying that Hyderabad is the place where you must go to taste authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. In Hyderabad, Paradise Food Court is a biryani institution. It is celebrated for its Hyderabadi biryani and dishes and has been serving biryani since the 1950s. Paradise Food Court attracts celebrities and average citizens alike. To gorge on the best biryanis, Faludas, Kebabs and Tandooris make sure you visit this restaurant the next time you are in Hyderabad.

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