There is a saying in Hyderabad, cooking patiently or ithmenaan se is the key; slow-cooking is the hallmark of Hyderabadi cuisine.
A 400-year history is behind the culinary delights of Hyderabadi food. It evolved in the kitchens of the Nizams, who elevated food to a sublime art form. Hyderabad cuisine is highly influenced by the native telugu food where rice and spices are widely used to great effect.
In the past, the food was called Ghizaayat. The cuisine is linked to the nobles, who religiously maintain the authenticity of the past, and the recipes are a closely-guarded secret.
The royal cooks are known as Khansamas. They are highly regarded by the nobles.
Shahi Dastarkhan is the dining place, where food is served and eaten. A chowki is a low table, instead of a dining table and cotton mattresses for squatting and bolsters for the back rest. The Dastarkhan is revered in the noble household.
The herbs and spices used and the method of preparation give the dish their name.
On Formal occasions, the food is garnished with warq (a very fine, pure silver leaf created by prolonged hammering and flattening of a small piece of silver).
Hyderabadi Biryani is Hyderabad's most famous meat-and-rice dish. An authentic meal of Hyderabad invariably includes a Mutton Biryani. Chicken and vegetarian biryani are also popular.
The Nizams served some 26 varieties of Biryanis for their guests.
Types of Biryani
- Hyderabadi Biryani Lamb and Rice - A traditional celebration meal.
- Kachchi gosht ki biriyani - raw meat is stir fried with spices(masalas) for couple of minutes and then covered with rice and put on dum.
- Dum-pokht biryani - slow-cooked biryani.
- Mirchi ka salan, Chilli Curry - accompanies a Biryani
- Dahi chutney, curd (not sweet) mixed with onions, green chillies.