Hyderabadi Cuisine, also known as the Deccani Cuisine of India, presents a super fine amalgamation of Arabic, Mughlai and Turkish cuisines along with a strong influence from the native Hyderabadi Cuisines like Telugu and Marathwada. The cuisine originated during the foundation of Qutb Shahi Dynasty in Hyderabad. The people of the dynasty not only promoted their own cuisine but also gave a good hand in development and popularity of the native cuisine.
With rice, meat and wheat forming the staple diet, the rich use of exotic herbs, spices and natural edibles make this cuisine one of the most popular ones in India. Who hasn’t heard about the Hyderbadi Biryani? Well, there is much more about Hyderabadi Cuisine than this. Are you ready to listen?
Let’s start from my favorite and most interesting aspect about Indian Cuisines – the cooking technique.
Cooking Techniques in Hyderabadi Cuisines
In India, you would find at least a hundred types of Biryanis but then what makes the ‘Hyderabadi Biryani’ so popular? I think every foodie who would be reading this would know the answer very well. The magic to tasty food always lies hidden in the cooking techniques.
In Hyderabadi Cuisine, a great amount of emphasis is given on this. All the ingredients that are used in any dish in Hyderabadi Cuisine are carefully chosen by skilled and experienced chefs and the dishes are cooked for exactly the right time and at the right degree. The spices, herbs and kind of rice which is used in each particular recipe is cautiously picked. The combination of the spices, herbs and the condiments bring the distinct flavor in the Hyderabadi food.
The key flavors that are used in Hyderabadi Cuisine are of seasame seeds, peanuts, tamarind and coconut. The use of tamarind and dry coconut differentiates the Hyderabadi Cuisine from the traditional North Indian Cuisine.
Also, the utensils that are used for cooking are based on the old traditional practices. The utensils are usually made of copper, brass or mud. According to a Hyderabadi saying, the key to cook delicious food lies in the patience and that’s why the slow cooking technique is not only a forte of Hyderabadi Cuisine but also a trump card for it.
The Cuisine also has different recipes for different events. Therefore, the recipes in Hyderbadi Cuisine are classified like Travel food, Festival Food, Banquet Food etc.
Ingredients Used In Hyderabadi Cuisine
This rice and meat oriented cuisine, contains a wide variety of ingredients ranging from spices, flavors, fruits and vegetables. For flavors, tamarind and tomato are most widely used especially in the urban regions of Hyderabad. The meat based dishes are prepared using the Dum Cooking Technique.
Any dish in Hyderabadi Cuisine is named on the basis of its ingredients and spices as well as on the cooking technique. For example, Pathar Ka Gosht is a dish in which meat is cooked on stone.
The key spice in Hyderabadi food is Chilli which gives the ‘dynamite’ flavor to the food. It’s really spicy!
This cuisine, even after being greatly influenced by Muslims, has a huge variety of vegetarian dishes. The Biryani is of course an important part of Hyderabadi Cuisine which consists of long grained basmati rice cooked with several other ingredients. In this cuisine, when it comes to chicken, hen is considered as a delicacy which is quite opposite to rest of the Indian Cuisines which consider rooster instead of the hen.
There are several dishes and ingredients which originally came from other cuisines but due to their long term use in Hyderabadi Cuisine, they’re considered as natives.
Popularity of Hyderabadi Cuisine
Hyderabadi Cuisine is very much popular for the ‘royal food’. Yes, in fact, people like us, prefer to starve themselves for hours so as to fill our stomachs with the royal Nawabi Hyderabadi food. The kebabs, biryanis, breads – all are so toothsome. Do you know that the kebabs originally came from Greece but still, Hyderabadi dishes like Shammi Kebab are served in many international restaurants and buffets.
The vegetarians seriously get a treat in Hyderabadi Cuisine. Dahi vadas (dumplings made of lentils dipped in yogurt), Bagaraa Baingan (a dish made of brinjal), mirch ka sabu (chillies cooked in a creamy gravy) are a must to try even for the people who call themselves as ‘pure non vegetarians’.
Hyderabad is also famous for its desserts like Badam ki Jhas and Dil-e-Firdaus.
According to me, a planned visit to Hyderabad just to taste the food over there is certainly a part of wish list of each and every foodie. Even while staying in North India, I get to hear so much about Hyderbadi food and when I tasted it, all I could do was eat and eat! It’s so tasty!