Hyderabadi Biryani is a traditional meat and rice dish from the Hyderabad, located in the Southern part of India. The dish has become extremely popular all throughout the country with the biriyani being touted as one of the city’s many attractions.
The biriyani dish is prepared with the long grained aromatic Basmati rice along with mutton or goat meat. Chicken is one of the most popular variations of the dish especially for those who do not prefer red meat. A variety of spices go into the dish to enhance the flavor while its distinctive aroma sets it apart from the biriyani dishes cooked in other parts of India.
The kitchen of the Nizam of Hyderabad is credited with creating this unique dish which has outlived its proponents by centuries.
History of Traditional Hyderabadi Biriyani Recipe
The biriyani was first created by the kitchen staff of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Expensive spices including the garam masala, a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves went into the concoction as did the bay leaf and meat. The entire dish was placed over a low flame and allowed to cook throughout the day, a method which enabled the ingredients to mix properly emanating a delightful aroma.
There are two distinct types of Hyderabadi Biriyani with a version being cooked with marinated meat while the other uses cooked meat and gravy. The Nizam of Hyderabad was believed to have been so enamored by the dish that he ordered the same dish to be prepared with different kinds of meat including fish. Consequently, there were 49 different versions of the biriyani that was offered to the Nizam. The meats used included quail, deer, fish, chicken, beef and shrimp apart from mutton.
Hyderabadi Biriyani Recipe: Ingredients And Preparation
Yoghurt, lemon juice, coriander, onions, ginger and a pinch of saffron are used along with the primary ingredients of long grained Basmati rice and mutton or goat meat. Fried onion rings and garam masala powder are used to garnish the dish just before it is served.
The usual method of cooking involves arranging the rice and meat in layers and cooking it in a sealed pot over a slow fire. This process requires special skill as both the timing as well as the temperature need to be accurate so that the Biriyani is neither under cooked nor over done.
Hyderabad Biriyani: Variations
There are two distinct variations of the Hyderabadi biriyani with additional variations being developed over the years to suit the changing taste of the Indians.
- Pakki Biriyani- Prepared with cooked meat the rice and meat are arranged alternatively in layers and the topmost layer is spruced with ittar(local perfume), saffron and cardamom. Mace powder is also a common ingredient that is used to enhance the flavor.
- Kachchi Biriyani- The process of cooking is very similar to the pakki version with the meat and rice being cooked together in the sealed pot(handi) instead of using pre-cooked ingredients.
- Vegetarian Biriyani- This is a relatively modern version with an assortment of vegetables like cauliflower, French beans and carrots used instead of meat.
Serving Suggestions: Hyderabad Biriyani
- Raita- A thin Yoghurt based chutney is served with the dish.
- Mirch Ka Salan- A green chili curry is considered to be a traditional accompaniment with the biriyani dish.
- Baigare Baingan- The dish prepared with roasted eggplants is also one of the traditional accompaniments with the Hyderabadi Biriyani.