Hyderabadi Biryani- A royal delicacy packed with passions of Hyderabad!
Hyderabadi Biryani wasn’t always the hugely popular dish it is today. This simple dish overcame its modest origins to achieve worldwide fame and appreciation. Now part of Indian cuisine, this mouth-watering dish has Persian origins. In Farsi, ‘Birinj’ is the word for rice, and ‘Biryan’ means ‘to fry before cooking’. Here’s how it began!
How it came to India?
The Mughals, who came from Persia were connoisseurs of lavish dining experiences. And it is believed that Mughals brought Biryani to India. Originally, the Mughal army was fed this dish while they engaged in war. Later, in 1713 when Nizam ul Mulk was appointed by Mughals as ruler of Hyderabad this renowned dish has been an integral part of Hyderabadi cuisine. The Nizams were famous for their appreciation of the subtle nuances of biryani.
This colourful, exquisite dish and its components were evolved by the khansamas (royal chefs) and accommodated several influences from regional Telugu cuisine, to make the dish even more exciting in the Nizam’s kitchen. The Hyderabadi biryani, we know today is actually a blend of Mughlai and regional cuisines.
The Art of Cooking it!
The intricate art of mixing spices in raw meat and cooking with long-grain basmati rice gives it a distinct aroma. It is then cooked in a heavy-bottomed vessel using the slow-cooking (dum pukth) method. “Dum pukht” literally means choke off the steam. As the name suggests the pot is sealed around the edges with dough, allowing the steaming meat to tenderise in its own juices while flavouring the rice. Hyderabad is where the ‘Kacchi Akhni’ version of it was fine-tuned and perfected.
While different regions have their own distinctive styles and debate goes on for the best one. Hyderabadi biryani stands claiming the authentic taste boasting its signature zafrani fragrant rice made by use of saffron strands, succulent meat and aromatic blend of spices, mesmerising anyone who has indulged in this flavourful south-Indian perfection.
Like Haleem, started from an army dish to a royal cuisine, Hyderabadi biryani has also become a pan-India culinary favourite. It caters to everyone with different food preferences. Chicken-dum biryani, Mutton-dum biryani and Vegetable biryani are its popular varieties that reflect the local taste. It has been the main course in wedding meals, and perfect comfort food for all occasions in the last 400 years.
Royal Hyderabadi Biryani was always scrumptious, well layered and flavorful for the Royal Mehfils. The khansamas would serve biryani with luscious kebabs along with Mirchi ka salan and Dahi ki chutney.