Hyderabadi Food – Major ‘Must-Eats’ For Every Food Junkie!
WARNING! All information present about Hyderabadi Food is purely ‘non-fictional’ and may lead to major food cravings for readers with a massive inclination towards heavenly food.
A Brief History About Hyderabadi Cuisine
Hyderabadi cuisine is basically a meat and rice-oriented cuisine. It flourished under the patronage of Nizams and their cooks devoted themselves into creating dishes loaded with rice, meat, spices, herbs, nuts and pure ghee. This freshly cooked meal would then be garnished with fresh mint leaves, fried onion, cashew nuts & slices of hard-boiled eggs to make a hearty meal.
The Nizams of Hyderabad were known to host sumptuous feasts and it is said that no guest who entered their home, ever left without sharing a meal or two with the family.
Over time, Hyderabadi food was created under the influence of other foreign cuisines due to the continuous influx of migrants from all over the world. Arabian and Turkish cuisines played a major role in the making of the Hyderabad’s two most famous Hyderabadi street foods- Hyderabadi Haleem and Hyderabadi Biryani. Eventually, Hyderabadi food underwent various amalgamations and became what is today, the famous Hyderabadi cuisine that gets food lovers flocking into this city, all round the year – from all around the world.
So here’s a few ‘To-Die-For’ Hyderabadi Food that you must definitely try:
Did you know that there are over 26 variants of Hyderabadi Biryani? If there is one thing that can make you feel like heaven’s on your platter, the Kacche Gosht Ki Biryani would be your best bet. Raw mutton pieces marinated with exotic spices and yogurt over-night, slow cooked between layers of rice, and served knowing that it is going to get you on your knees! Hyderabadi Biryani is something you will just not be able to forget. It is more than food – it is something else; it is absolute heaven!
If these Hyderabadi street food delicacies have triggered the boisterous foodie inside you, then try these famous variants of Hyderabadi Biryani on you next visit to Hyderabad:
Hyderabadi Mutton Dum Biryani
Chicken Dum Biryani
Biryani Zard or Zafrani
And the most exotic of all, Joban Malti Biryani in which mutton, quails and partridges are slow-cooked with rice.
Famous Vegetarian Food In Hyderabad – Veg Hyderabadi Biryani
Vegetarians worry not! Unlike what most people say, Hyderabadi food isn’t biased to only meat. You must binge on the aromatic Qabooli Biryani and the Tahari (Tehri or Tehari) which is made with wholesome veggies, cashews and dry fruits, slow-cooked with rice in a copper, brass or an earthen pot. While you’re at it, try Hyderabad’s famous dahi-ki-chutney, curd or yogurt mixed with pudina, coriander, onions and chillies and Mirchi-ka-salan, a chilly pickle with your Hyderabadi Biryani just like the chosen ministers sitting with royalty at the Hyderabadi darbar.
Hyderabadi Haleem is a stew composed of meat (either goat meat, beef or chicken), ghee, lentils and pounded wheat cooked to make a delicious thick paste. Haleem, translates to patience. This Arabic dish is slow cooked on a low flame for up to 12 hours and is stirred continuously with wooden paddles throughout its preparation. The stirring continues until it reaches a sticky-smooth consistency, and garnished with fried onions, a half-boiled egg and a squeeze of lemon to serve.
In the holy month of Ramadan, the Hyderabadi Haleem is consumed by Muslims during Iftar, when a day-long fast is to be broken. The meat and dry fruits make it a high-calorie dish that instantly energizes the body. Stop by the Pista House in Charminar to try the best of Hyderabadi street food i.e., the street-style Hyderabadi Haleem in Hyderabad.
Hyderabadi Paaya Nihari/ Mutton Paaya
Nihari translates to morning, and the Hyderabadi Nihari is every Hyderabadi locals’ favourite choice of breakfast. The Paaya is prepared by boiling or slow-cooking goat or lamb trotters with aromatic spices and herbs to make a thin, spicy hot broth.
What makes this ‘Eid-Special’ Hyderabadi Nihari unique, is the infusion of the Hyderabadi Potli Masala (a mixture of various herbs and spices) that offers the broth a rich and spicy flavour. Traditionally, the Nihari is cooked overnight and buried underground so that the meat absorbs the flavours of the masala. It is best served with traditional Hyderabadi square shaped (Char Koni) Naan, Kulcha or rice.
Cooked with tender mutton and dry fruits, the Hyderabadi Maragi is the perfect way to start losing your mind over Hyderabadi food. Savour this as a spicy-meaty soup with naan or just as is.
Eggplant stuffed with spicy aromatic Hyderabadi spices and served in rich gravy- that’s Baghare Baigan for you! This brinjal dish was the all-time favourite among the royals of the Nawabi Darbar.
Pathar ke kabab
Pathar means stone. Wondering where is this leading to? Hyderabad’s famous, Pathar ke kabab is a dish that you’d love to eat; but more importantly you’re going to love the way it is made! Lamb meat, marinated and cooked over a pre-heated black granite stone that is laid-out over a bed of flaming-red charcoal! What? Yes, it is believed that the stone releases its own minerals, imparting a unique taste onto the Kebab. Oh and they’re right, the Pathar ke kabab is super-delicious!
Similar to Pathar ke kabab, yet entirely different in taste; the Boti kebab is the next-best-thing to dwell on! It is basically lamb pieces marinated in yogurt, butter and spices which is cooked under the intense heat of a tandoor.
Hyderabadi Khatti Dal
This tempting, tangy yet spicy lentil stew is sure to ride you into ecstasy! The spices are all individually fried in oil and further blitzed to a coarse powder, which is then added to cooked Toor dal (split pigeon pea). This tangy delicacy is best relished with steamed rice, sweet boondi and wafers.
Luqmi means a bite or a morsel in Urdu. A deep-fried crispy and fluffy Lukhmi is stuffed with spicy minced mutton, onions and other veggies. Also called Kheema Lukhmi, it is best-savoured with Pudina Chutney alongside a juicy plate of Seekh Kebab. It is usually served as a starter in Hyderabadi weddings and other celebrations.
Hyderabadi Mutton Kheema Samosa
That triangular, crispy crust whose inside is stuffed with mashed potatoes, peas, spices and other veggies- who hasn’t tried them? Yes, Samosas are famous in every nook and corner of India! But have you tried Hyderabad’s famous snack – the Mutton Kheema Samosa? This meat-stuffed samosa will give you the next level of foodgasm. It has spicy masala and minced meat that are generously stuffed into your steaming hot and crispy samosa, awarding itself the title of the best street-snack of Hyderabad!
Meat lovers! Here are a few other famous Hyderabadi food you can taste:
Chicken Do Pyaza
Vegetarians, here’s Hyderabad on your platter! Try famous vegetarian Hyderabadi dishes like:
Pesarattu Dosa or Moong Dal Dosa
Paneer Butter Masala
Hyderabadi Desserts: The Highlight Of Hyderabadi Cuisine
All that ends well, stays well. After you’ve binged on spicy, hearty meals, it’s time some dessert! The City of the Nizams is well-renowned for delicious and filling sweet-bites and one of the main highlights of the Hyderabadi food is the famous Hyderabadi sweet dishes served at the end of every scrumptious Hyderabadi meal.
Famous Hyderabad Sweets:
Khubani Ka Meetha / Qubani Ka Meetha
The Islamic Festival, Eid, is incomplete without this Hyderabadi food, really! Hyderabad’s most popular sweet dish, the Khubani/Qubani Ka Meetha is a gooey sweet made of dried apricots, topped with crunchy almonds and other dry fruits. Forget all about the other food you’ve been reading about, the Qubani ka Meetha is reason enough to visit Hyderabad at any chance you can get!
Double Ka Meetha / Shahi Tukda
Double Ka Meetha is a very popular dessert of the Hyderabadi cuisine. It is a soft bread-pudding dessert made of bread slices soaked in saffron and cardamom, dried fruits and condensed milk. This sumptuous bread and cream dessert lets you taste the true royalty of the Nawabs. Oh, and it is served both hot and cold, try tasting the dessert either ways and choose which one you like better!
Mauz ka Meetha
Also called as the “banana sweet” of Hyderabad, the Mauz ka Meetha is a famous Hyderabdi sweet dish made of bananas, milk, ghee and loads of nuts. It is a popular street food of Hyderabad and is comparatively easier to find than the rest of the lot.
Firni / Phirni
Never miss out on Phirni when you plan for a visit to Hyderabad. It is a fragrant rice and milk based dessert, usually served in a clay pot. A spoonful will instantly brighten up your day!
One of the most famous sweet dishes of Hyderabad is the Jauzi Halwa. If you have tried variants of Halwas before this, I bet that you’re going to fall in love with this famous Hyderabadi dessert. Local folklore has it that the Nizam of Hyderabad was so fond of this lip-smacking Hyderabadi sweet dish that he went on to name the shop that sold this Halwa in the kingdom after his own son! Ever since, the Jauzi Halwa has always been termed as a royalty sweet dish of Hyderabad.
Other Hyderabadi Sweet Dishes To Try:
Seviyon Ka Meetha (vermicelli pudding)
Dil-e-Firdaus (white pumpkin cooked in milk and sugar with dry fruits)
Sheer Khurma (a delicacy of dry fruits and dates made with vermicilli is mostly prepared during the festive seasons of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha )
Kaddu ki kheer (bottle gourd rated kaddu, milkmaid, saffron and sugar)
Irani Chai & Osmania Biscuits
When you’re finally done for the day, sip on a hot and creamy cup of sweet Irani Chai alongside Osmania biscuits. Osmania biscuits are Hyderabad’s famous biscuits, with a rather interesting tale behind it. It was named after the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan. In fact, people say that this biscuit was invented for him! Today this sweet and salty biscuit makes the best companion to the sweet and aromatic Irani Chai of Hyderabad.
Words By: Jovita Elveera Mendonca
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