Hyderabad 's 400-year-old culinary history, like its culture, is unmatched by any other state in India . In fact Hyderabad was known for the spectacular way its aristocracy entertained. Of all the Muslim cuisine, Hyderabadi is the only cuisine the sub-continent that can boast of a major vegetarian element. This has much to do with the local influences. Considering that the elite of the erstwhile Hyderabad state came from the north of India and was almost entirely Muslim, this is a little surprising. The nation's vegetarians, of course, stand to gain by it.
Some of the salient features of Hyderabadi food are the key flavours of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. The key spice is chilli, which is used in abundance and is the reason for the sobriquet "Dynamite Food".
There's just one word to describe Hyderabadi cuisine - FIERY!
All Andhraites love spices, especially red chillies, and use it so generously that your tongue, ears, eyes and everything else will burn days later. The cuisine draws its flavour from two rich legacies - the Deccani cuisine of Nizams with its delectable biryanis (rice flavoured with meat and vegetables), haleem (pounded wheat and mutton dish) and kebabs, and the spicy Andhra style of food, laced with mustard, garlic and chillies and eaten with doles of chutney and pickle. Eating Out:The history of Hyderabadi cuisine has stood high like it's culture and for the spectacular way its aristocracy entertained. For a gastronomical treat the hotels, restaurants and cafes in the city provide a variety of exotic food for all kinds of gourmets. Some of the most traditional Hyderabadi dishes which were probably served 400 years ago, and still served today are Biryani, Moghlai dishes, Chicken korma, Sheer korma, Double-ka-meetha, Gajar-ka-halwa . Be it the North Indian Peshawri delights, the traditional spicy South Indian or Continental & Mexican to the Chinese food or the best of Fast Food Centres, Pizzerias, Snack Outlets bakeries and sweet shops, Hyderabad caters to all pockets and tastebuds.
Hyderabad has a typical cuisine which combines the tastiest recipes of the south with the northern Mughlai. The most popular is the birani or pulao. It is the aromatic long grained basmati rice cooked with mutton or chicken pieces. These meat pieces add a flavor of their own to the preparation. The kababs are barbecued meat, hot and succulent, they are irresistible in taste.
Hyderabadi food has also taken many influences, slowly displacing the standard flavours by more improvised ones. This is best demonstrated by the advent of chicken, which if mentioned alongside mutton, is considered nothing short of sacrilege by the gosht-eating population. Mutton being the revered meat, chicken never really stood a chance till the broiler came along. This was clean meat and the North Indian love for Tandoori Murg took over. The point to be noted here is that in Hyderabad , it is the hen that is considered a delicacy while in the rest of the country, it is the Murgha or the rooster.
There are several dishes in this repertoire that have their origins elsewhere but have been in and around the place long enough to be called natives. This is the quality of Hyderabadi, foreigners can walk in as anybody, but after tasting the waters of Hyderabad , they are forever Hyderabadis.
The 400 years of Hyderabadi culture also has its origin in Art, Music & Dance, Poetry, and last but not least, the Cuisine. Hyderabad is never complete without the mention of the "Shahi Dastarkhan". The Dastarkhan is the Dining place where the food is served and eaten. It is normally a low chowki for the dining table and cotton mattresses for squatting and bolsters for the back rest. The Dastarkhan holds a place of reverence in every household. The Cuisine of Hyderabad has been influenced by various regional and religious cuisines, both Indian and Foreign, despite which it has been able to create an identity of its own. It has also been able to contribute towards making Indian cuisine popular world wide. The "Biryani" from this cuisine is one such example. What makes the Hyderabadi Cuisine special is the use of special ingredients, carefully chosen and cooked to the right degree. The addition of a certain Herb, Spice, Condiment, or an Amalgam of these add an unique taste and texture to the dish. The herbs and spices used and the method of preparation gives the dish its name. "Murgh do pyaza" gets its name from the onions that are added twice to the dish in two variations. The Masalas or the rich blend of herbs, spices and condiments give the dishes a base, or what is popularly known as "Gravy". Some of these blends are a well-kept secret that pass only down the family line or from the Ustad(Teacher) to his Shagird(Pupil). The head cooks or the "Khansas" were an asset to the house hold, and were treated with due respect. The word "Nawabi" is as synonymous with the Hyderabadi cuisine as "Shahi" is with Luknowi. These terms conjure delicacies that are rich in taste and texture with mouth-watering aromas. The "Kebabs" in Hyderabad need a special mention, the "ShammiKebab" is one such popular dish. The Kebabs are originally from Greece !! The Hyderabadi meal is never complete without the bread from the kilns of the local bakers. The breads from this cuisine are equally popular, be it rich "Sheermal" or "lukmi" (bread stuffed with savory mince meat). Bread is not only an accompaniment to the meal but also forms a base for a popular sweet dish "Double Ka Meetha".
Yummy!! Mouth-watering Shahi Cuisine of Hyderabad . There is a saying among the younger generation of Hyderabadis these days. They say " Let us starve ourselves for hours before its arrival on our tables". This saying is actually a tribute to the Hyderabadi Biryani. Even, we, the Staff of Reachout, feel the same way. Whenever we plan to go out for Biryani, we make sure that our appetite is super strong and our stomachs completely empty so that we can indulge in a pure, unadulterated, sumptuous taste of Hyderabadi Biryani.
Hyderabad 's strong Mughalai influence is perhaps the reason why the Hyderabadi Biryani has become so popular all over India . This famous dish has been experimented time and again to a perfection. Infact the Biryani has influenced a Hyderabadi's tongue so strongly that usually other famous dishes of Hyderabad takes a back seat. It takes an extra ordinary taste for other dishes to beat the competition of Biryani.
For vegetarians, we have dahi vadas (lentil dumplings in Yogurt), mirch-ka-sabu (chilies in a cream gravy), and the more common Bagaara Baingan.
On the dessert menu, Hyderabad is famous for double-ka-meetha (a bread and cashew nut pudding), Badam-ki-Jhab (marzipan), and Dil-e-Firdaus (a rich milk based sweet).
Thank the stars the cable culture cannot alter the yearnings of the palate! And of course the any-time favorite with all Hyderabadis - Irani-chai cannot be ignored! This purely Irani tradition of drinking chai is a spillover from Irani trade in the 1600s. Street-side 'Irani Cafes are most popular for it's typical refreshing Irani Chai that one would love to have at the first opportunity given.
Well, we have carried you from a simple appetite to the most heaviest of platters of Culinary Hyderabad. You will be excused if are tempted to lash your tongue a few times on your lips or if you involuntarily happen to get some water in your mouth.
Above info Courtesy:
See also: A `deccani' flavour, SYEDA FARIDA, The Hindu