Hyderabad is the capital city of the newly created Telengana state. Hyderabad is famous for its rich culture, history, architecture and cuisine. Secundrabad is the twin city of Hyderabad which is separated by a man-made lake named Hussain Sagar which is a famous tourist attraction. Other famous tourist place in Hyderabad include Golconda Fort, Char Minar, Hyderabad Assembly, Falknuma Palace, Salar Jung Museum and so on but if we kept on discussing the rich heritage of Hyderabad then it will take us forever and we still won’t finish, so let’s just stick to the Cuisine part which is unmatched to any other cuisine of India and is one of its kind. Also Known as Deccan Cuisine.
History of Hyderabadi Cuisine
No one can deny that Hyderabadi cuisine is not just a legacy of any single religion or culture but it is an amalgamation of Persian, Mughalai and Arab with the influence of local Andra cuisine. This cuisine has evolved over centuries from foreign and native influences. The cuisine began to form during the medieval times and was reached to extend during modern period.
From the Persian & Mughalai, it got its mutton and other meat recipes along with kebabs, biryani, haleem and the Andra cuisine blended it with hot spices, Pickles, Chutneys, use our sour ingredients in food preparation and rice. Arab gave it its famous Irani tea and Shawarma.
Effect of Climate
I think there is hardly any effect of climate on the eating habit of Hyderabad. Hyderabad is famous for its hot and dry climate, especially in summers when the temperature goes up to 48 Degree Celsius. Typical Hyderabadi meat preparation is very spicy and tangy, which is generally avoided in others places in summers in India, but in Hyderabad it is other way round, no matter what the temperature is, a Hyderabadi always prefers his mutton to be hot and spicy.
Effect of Culture
Cultural effect can be easily seen in Hyderabad’s restaurants. Hyderabad’s major population is Muslim and the influence of rich Muslim culture can be easily seen in eating habits of Hyderabad. Mutton, beef and chicken is the most preferred food among Hyderabadi’s. In the month of Ramzan streets of Hyderabad is full of Haleem counters, which is again a specialty of Mughalai cuisine. It is suggested for Hindu’s to be very specific while ordering mutton in Hyderabad as in many restaurants they serve beef if you order for mutton i.e. “Beef ka Mutton” and if you have no problem in eating beef and in fact if you love it like me than you surely are for a treat in Hyderabad.
Effect of Andra culture is visible in the breakfast menu of Hyderabad, which is filled with items like Idli, Vada, Sambhar, Dosa, etc.
Even the dessert which is found here is a specialty and has Muslim influence and is hardly found anywhere else, some of the famous sweet dishes are, Double ka Meetha, Qubhani ka Meeta, Fruit salad, Sheer Khorma, Kalakhand, Gil-e-Firdaus, etc.
Any local of Andra will love spices, especially red chilies, and use it so generously that your tongue, ears, eyes and everything else will burn days later. Pray to god before going for the nature’s calls in the morning after having a spicy Andra chicken in last night dinner.
Overall Food Habit of Hyderabad
Hyderabad overall food habit is mixed of Hindu and Muslim food habits with major influence from the Muslim religion. Now if you claim to be a foodie and haven’t tried Hyderabadi food yet then don’t kid with yourself and book a ticket to Hyderabad, Hyderabadi cuisine defines words like delicacy, mouthwatering, aromatic and not to mention Tangy and Spicy.
Breakfast is the only meal of the day where the Muslim influence in the food habit is minimal, in fact I hardly recollect any dish of Muslim origin which is served at breakfast. A typical Hyderabadi breakfast consist of dishes like Idli, Vada, Sambhar, Nariyal and Daal Chutney, Masala Dosa, Bonda (Mysore Bhajji) and Uttapa. Some Muslim family start their day with Nahari, a stew made from tongue and trotters of mutton.
Lunch menu of Hyderabad consists of Rice, any Salan (Beef, Mutton, Chicken, Veg), Dal preferably khatti dal, Curd, Salad and Roti only if you are a North Indian living in Hyderabad. Salan is an Urdu word for curry. Biryani is also served in lunch with raita and salan.
Taken between 5 pm to 8 pm in evening, basically consist of light food item such as Mirchi Bajji (Chilly Fritter), Alu Bhajji (Potato Fritter), Dal Bhajji, Kacchori and Phunugulu with chutney made from Tamarind, Chilies, Coriander and Mint.
Irani Chai (Tea) is a famous drink of evening snack and morning breakfast, a special tea made different way from normal milk tea, tea leaves and milk are boiled separately and mixed together before serving like a cocktail drink after adding required sugar.
Now this is a meal of the day which is of much importance and is of great affair to any Hyderabadi. All you have ever heard of Hyderabadi cuisine can be seen in this meal of the day. Some of the famous curries which is served in dinner is Keema, Kofta(Meat Balls), Tikka Masala, Nalli Nahari, Haleem, Kebabs, and the all-time famous Biryani. In the dessert course sweet dish like Double ka Meetha, Sheer Khorma, Qubhani ka Meeta etc. is served.
Any Hindu family has the same arrangement in Hyderabad as it is in entire India. Muslim families have low seating arrangements when eating at home and during any parties and formal occasion’s table arrangement is done and all the dishes are brought in a common platter, the guest take the food from the platter with a help of ladle and strictly food should not be touched by bare hands.
Ingredients used in Hyderabadi Cuisine
1) For tangy taste they use Tamarind, Curd, Lemon and Tomatoes
2) In Spices they use Red Chili Powder, Cinnamon, Clove, Cardamom, Cumin, Star Anise, Bay Leaves, Ginger, Garlic, Onion, etc. A special bouquet garni is used in making of Nahari know has “Potli ka Masala” it consist of spices like-
- Bay Leaf
- Sandalwood Powder
- Stone Flowers (Pathar ka Phool)
- Star Anise (Chakri ka Phool)
- Dried Rose Petals
- Roots of the Betel Plant
- Black Peppercorns
- Chinese Cubeb (Kebab Chini)
- Spiked Ginger Lily (Kapoor Kachri)
- Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
- Cinnamon Sticks (Dalchini)
- Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
- Cloves (Laung)
- Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- Vetivert Roots (Khus-Khus)
3) For Tempering (Tadka) they use Mustard, Cumin, Curry Leaves, Asafetida (Hing)
4) In Nuts and dry fruit they use Peanut, Cashew nut, Almonds, Pistachio, Dates, Raisins, Apricot, etc.
5) For main course Mutton, Beef, Chicken, Paneer, Egg and Vegetables such as Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach, Pumpkin, Chilies, Eggplant, etc. is used.
6) For accompaniment Rice, Wheat, and Dal such as Toor is used.
7) Ghee, Milk, Butter, Curd, Coconut and Oil is used in various type of Dessert and other preparation.
Famous Hyderabadi Dishes
Curries & Rice Preparation
- Murg Nizami– A semi dry chicken masala chicken cooked in gravy made from nuts.
- Murg Do Pyaza– Chicken curry made with lots of Onion.
- Dalcha Gosht– Mutton cooked in chana (Gram) dal.
- Mirchi ka Salan– Popular chili and peanut curry made with long green chilies.
- Baghara Baigan- Stuffed Eggplants fried with peanut and sesame seed.
- Tamatar ka Kut- Pureed tomato cooked with peanut, garlic, curry leaves, tamarind and served with pieces of boiled egg.
- Keema- Minced meat.
- Maghaz Masal (Bheja Fry) – Fried brain of goat.
- Phalli Gosht- Mutton cooked with French beans or Broad Beans.
- Chicken 65- Diced chicken made in kebab style.
- Bhuna Gosht- Roasted lamb with spice marination.
- Egg Rice- Simple rice preparation made with scrambled egg and red chili powder
- Lemon Rice- Rice preparation with lemon juice, turmeric, gram dal whole and tempering mustard seeds.
- Khatti Dal- Dal made with Imli (Tamarind). Tomatoes, Lemon.
- Boti Kebab- Medium chunks of meat cooked in Tandoor with spicy marination.
- Kaddu Dal- Dal made with Pumpkin or Bottle Guard.
- Asafia Murg- Whole Chicken roasted with almonds, curd and garam masala.
- Bakra Khori- Whole lamb cooked with unique savory spices.
- Sheermal- It is a saffron flavored flat bread originated from Iran.
- Hyderabadi Murg Korma- Chicken curry made with cashew nut paste and garam masala.
- Murg Nizami- Chicken made with nuts (cashew nut, peanut, coconut) and seeds (sunflower seed, sesame seed, and pumpkin seed).
Snacks and Starters
- Keema Samosa- Samosa made with keema stuffing.
- Irani Samosa- Very small shaped samosa made with filling of fried onions.
- Lukhmi- Square shaped patty filled with minced meat of lamb and deep fried, served as a starter.
- Dil Khush- It is a sweet snack, bread stuffed with cake filling.
- Osmania Biscuit- Cab be termed as a national biscuit of Hyderabad, famous for its soft and crispy texture, named after last nizam of Hyderabad “Mir Osman Ali Khan”.
- Khagina- Scrambled egg made with fried onion and red chili powder.
- Nahari– Stew made from lamb tongue and trotter, cooked with potli ka masala and eaten with shirmal
- Hyderabadi Marag- A thin mutton broth of Arab origin.
- Chakna- Made with intestines and tripes of goat cooked with flour and garam masala.
- Paya- Soup made with bone of goat and lamb.
- Qubhani ka Meetha- Pudding made from Apricot, topping is done with almonds and cream.
- Double ka Meetha- Bread pudding made with sugar syrup and mixed with dry fruit. Derivative of Shahi Tukra.
- Gil-e-Firdaus- Pudding made with bottle guard, milk, dry fruits, and Khoya (condensed milk).
- Sheer Khorma- Vermicelli pudding made with milk, dates, dry fruits and kesar (Saffron), specialty of Ramzan Eid.
- Mauj ka Meetha- Banana Pudding.
- Firni- Rice pudding made with milk and dry fruits.
- Fruit Salad- Assortment of fruit topped with condensed milk and dry fruits.
- Shahjahani Meetha- A sweet made out of tomato pulp, minced banana and khoya.
Must Try Dishes of Hyderabad
- Tala Hua Gohst- Chunks of meat braised in very spicy gravy, authentically made with beef.
- Haleem- Smooth and velvety paste of meat, wheat and lentils which is prepared in a large pot. Slow and long cooking is used, wheat and other lentils are soaked overnight, served with ghee, fried onion, dry fruits and chopped coriander leaves.
- Shawarma- Famous street food of Hyderabad, made with beef, chicken and mutton. The meat is slow grilled on a Spit and then sliced, chopped and mixed with cucumber, coriander, mayonnaise, seasoning and the mixture is filled in pita bread or any type of bread.
- Mandi- A specialty of Barkas area in Hyderabad, an Arab specialty. It is a rice dish which is made with Basmati rice, dry fruits, ghee and any meat option such has beef, mutton, chicken, Bater (Quail) and Fish. It is cooked slowly in a pot, minimal spices are used. An outstanding dish if haven’t tried it yet then you have wasted your life and you have no goals in life. Period
- Pathar ka Gosht- Lamb or Mutton seared on a stone slab found in Hyderabad after adding the spices, served with onions.
- Chippe ka Gosht- Meat chunks marinated in a paste of onion, chilies, coconut, garlic, ginger, garam masala and curd, afterwards it is slow cooked in a new clay pot, so that the meat get the smell of parched earth after rainfall.
- Biryani- An elixir of life for all Hyderabadi’s cannot be explained in a single paragraph, this grand dad of food needs a separate article, which I will write in my Next Post.