Hyderabadi Biryani- a royal cuisine from the land of Nizams

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Biryani is a mixed rice dish which is prepared with a combination of meat and spices. This dish originated among the Muslims of South Asian (Indian) subcontinent. There are various types of biryanis, which is a result of varying cooking style and materials.

Hyderabadi Biryani is a type of biryani which originated in the Hyderabad city of India. Hyderabadi biryani is famous in countries like India, Pakistan, and Middle Eastern countries. As rice is the staple food of most regions of India, it is the main ingredient of this dish. Hyderabadi Biryani is main course dish served with accompaniments such as a green chilly curry, Dahi Chutney (yogurt mixed with mint and onions) and salad.

The basic ingredients used in this biryani are rice, meat (goat or chicken), onions, yogurt with a garnish of fried onions, lemon and coriander leaves. Goat meat and chicken meat are mostly used in biryanis but other meats like buffalo meat or beef are also used as they are cheaper in price compared to chicken and goat meat.

Hyderabadi Biryani is cooked two variants: kachhay (raw) gosht ki biryani and Pakki biryani. In Kacchi Biryani, the gosht (meat) is mixed along with spices and condiments, is marinated for a long time, preferably overnight and soaked in yogurt before cooking. The meat is then layered between rice. The brim of the vessel in which biryani is cooked is sealed with dough and the top is covered to prevent the steam from escaping. This adds a great taste to the biryani. The biryani is cooked over hot coals. This is an art of cooking and more talented the cook is, tastier the biryani tastes.

In Pakki Biryani, the meat is marinated for a shorter period of time and it is cooked before being layered with rice. The biryani is then cooked with the same dough sealing method. This method of cooking biryani (also known as dum biryani) takes a lot of expertise. Once the vessel is sealed, it is not opened until the biryani is fully cooked. So, the cook has to keep a track of time so as to not over-cook or under-cook the biryani.

A vegetarian variant of Hyderabadi Biryani is also cooked using vegetables like potato, carrots, cauliflower, peas, etc. 

By Asad Shaikh