When you put Hyderabad and food in a sentence, the very first delicacy that pops up is Hyderabadis’ pride and joy- Biryani. But, if you think that this is the extent to which the cuisine exists, you could not be more wrong! Hyderabadis have a penchant for mixing up spices and coming up with mouthwatering delicacies. Influenced my Mughlai, Persian, Arabic and Turkish cooking, this Decani cuisine is as unique as it gets. Here are the twenty dishes from their scrumptious palette that you simply cannot miss.
1Double Ka Maata
This dessert is a must have in all Hyderabadi weddings! It is a combination of all good things in life: fried foods, desserts, and dry fruits. It is made of bread slices fried up, and then slathered in a mixture of milk and some exotic spices like cardamom. Ah! Can it be any better?! Actually, yes! You could serve it with chopped up dry fruits and ice-cream for a heavenly experience. You definitely HAVE to eat this decadent dessert at least once.
For those days when you want to eat something tasty without putting much effort into the cooking, bagara rice is what you are looking for. The lazy man’s biryani, it is easy to make- without the need of any masalas or vegetables. With authentic spices and plain rice, it is not bland at all. If eating just rice is not your thing, bagara rice brings out the taste of whichever curry you choose to devour it with, without dominating its taste- making it the go-to dish in social gatherings.
3Osmania Biscuits and Irani Chai
Though not a dish in itself, Hyderabad’s Irani chai is something without which a list of the city’s famous foods is incomplete. It is a tea brewed with many spices that give it the ingenious taste it has. Usually served with Osmania biscuits. They have their own exceptional taste that no other biscuit can beat, no matter how good it is. They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, with a tinge of salt in the mildly sweet biscuits. Right from a child to an old man, this exquisite combination is the evening snack of many.
This screams healthy from a mile away. Made with spinach and bottle guard, it surprises you with just how delectable it is. The sharpness of its taste is enhanced by adding paneer or an array of other vegetables. Being healthy never tasted better!
For all the spice lovers out there, chakna is definitely something that you should try out when you’re in the city. It is a stew made of goat tripe and other animal digestive parts, and is most sought-after among the Muslim community in the city. It is a very simple dish, and takes very little preparation because of which it is a typical dish made at home. It is also available in many restaurants near Charminar, which are often so crowded, that there is no place to sit. This spicy, yet delicious stew will tickle your taste buds in the best way possible.
Rice is the staple food of South India, so unsurprisingly there are multiple rice recipes available. Yakhni pulao is usually made with marinated mutton but there are variants where we can make it with vegetables as well. After mixing the cooked mutton and rice, meat stock and yogurt are added, giving this pulao its unique taste. Though a little heavy on the calories, the mouthwatering flavour makes up for any second thoughts you may have.
The tanginess given by tomatoes is incomparable. A culmination of tomatoes, roasted dry coconut and sesame seeds, this recipe is sure to leave you relishing every flavour present. Add a little bit of lemon and your appetite is sure to be satisfied! Effortless to make and a delight to eat, Achari tamatar is something every foodie needs to taste. For all the die-hard non-vegetarians, chicken can also be added.
Malai is a frequently used milk product, which is used in cooking. Malai Korma is made with tomatoes, onions, fresh cream and garlic paste making it a delicate combination of spice and sweetness. Easy to make, this side dish can be combined with veg and non-veg. With all the nuts and ghee added, it is a treat to one’s taste buds. Served hot with roti or naan, it is a popular choice among restaurant goers.
Yet another rice dish, Tehri gives competition to the regular biryani. It has a perfect mix of lamb/beef and vegetables carefully cooked along with basmati rice and the usual spices. Not commonly found in the restaurant menus, this variant is definitely worth a try. Tastes better with mirchi ka salan, bagara baigan and raita.
Hyderabadi’s love for spices is vast, so much, that plain curd just wouldn’t do. Adding red chilli powder, jeera powder and garlic to curd and whisking it gives the appetizing burhani raita. Best served chill, it makes an extra ordinary side dish for biryani and roti or you could just curl up with a bowl of raita and savor the yumminess.
This is a ‘Ramzan’ delicacy that is widely popular in the city. The word ‘paya’ means hooves or feet, which is what this side dish is made of. It has a creamy curry base of tomatoes, onions, garlic and various spices. The dish is served alongside ‘appam’, a Kerala steamed food, and the combination is so flavour-some and tasty, it feels like you’re in paradise. While there are various places in India that serve this dish, the Hyderabadi version is definitely a class apart.
It is another stew,that is traditionally made of mutton, but pumpkin is used as a vegetarian substitute as well. It is made by cooking mutton, in lentils, tamarind and an array of spices. The meat adds a layer of depth to the plain dal that is eaten. You can also add vegetables as per your preference to give it a nice twist. It tastes best with bagara rice, which is another Hyderabadi speciality. It’s aroma and perfect marriage of tangy tamarind, dal and meat with the spices makes it a lip smacking delicacy that you just can’t pass over.
Lukhmi is more or less the Hyderabadi samosa. It has a filling of ground meat seasoned well with salt, pepper and other condiments. It is traditionally a meat dish, but vegetarian versions are also available in many places. As the perfect tea time snack, it is loved by almost every Hyderabadi, but is found only in a few select restaurants around the Charminar. It can be found in Muslims weddings, and is served with a side of Seekh kebab as a starter. It is so soft and tender on the inside, yet crispy on the outside, that it melts in your mouth. We guarantee you that one bite of this delectable fried food will leave you wanting for more!
Shorba can be defined is Indian stew. Though not exclusive to Hyderabad, it is considered a traditional dish here and is quite famous. Little spicy and very healthy, tomato shorba is made using tomato puree. There are of course, various variations made with moong dal, spiced chicken, coriander etc. Warm and agreeable, this is a great alternative to the general soups. In fact, shorba finds its roots in the Arabic Shurbah, which translates to soup.
15Kurbani ka Meeta
If you are someone who loves dry fruits, and has a thing for sweets, this one’s definitely for you. The base for this dessert is a thick soup formed by boiling apricots in a sugar syrup. And the rest is literally just limited to your imagination. You can top it off with a variety of dry fruits like cashews, pistachios or almonds. It is generally served with malai, but again, you can amp it up by eating it with ice-cream or custard as well.
An authentic Hyderabadi dish, shikampuri kebab melts in your mouth leaving behind a savoury after taste. This starter is a delicacy made with minced meat and kala chana as primary ingredients. A crowd favorite, there are restaurants which specialize in the dish. This kebab is shallow fried and can also be savoured by the health conscious. Mint chutney on the side, doesn’t hurt either.
17Baingan ka Bartha
Baingan Bartha is originally a Punjabi dish, with a dash of the city’s own magic. It is made with eggplant smoked over a charcoal bed, to which onions, tomatoes and sometimes-even peas are added to take it to the next level. Every bite of this delicious dish is loaded with flavour from the combination of spices added.Almost every notable restaurant in the city serves this dish, and has its own signature taste, and is a definite try if you’re in the city. While most people prefer eating it with rotis, it is an excellent combination with rice as well, or you could simply lick it off your fingers, without the need for an accompaniment!
18Mirchi ka Salan
This is a curry that is served with roti or rice. It is another dish without which Indian weddings are incomplete. It is also what takes the Hyderabadi biryani to the next level. It is made of stuffed long green chilies in a blend of curd, tamarind juice, coconut and a mix of spices. Peanuts and cashews can be added to the gravy to make it even better. One spoonful of this curry will make every taste bud in your mouth sing, with it’s spicy-chilli, tangy tamarind and exquisite gravy.
This is a must have for all meat lovers. Made during ‘Ramzan’ which falls in the rainy season, Haleem is a luscious meat dish which takes almost 7-8 hours to make. The cooking time is compensated for by the divine taste. We assure you, nothing is better than a hot bowl of haleem with fumes rising on a rainy day, or any other. Haleem is undisputedly one of the cities favorite dish to savor. Garnished with fried onions and ghee, the already luxurious delicacy becomes irresistible.
20Hyderabadi Dum ka Biryani
And here it is. Not mentioning the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani in this list would be blasphemous. Hyderabad’s favorite dish, the city can’t seemingly have enough of it. Cooked with an array of spices it is allowed to “dum” by placing a hefty metal plate on top if the cooking bowl. Famous world over, it is a meal in itself. With everyone having an opinion, it is even a frequent topic of discussion. For those who never relished this mouthwatering special this may seem a bit hyped. Rest assured, a plate of authentic biryani, and you will keep returning for more!