Hyderabadi cuisine

Hyderabadi cuisine (native: Hyderabadi Ghizaayat), also known as Deccani cuisine, is the native cooking style of the Hyderabadi Muslims, and began to develop after the foundation of the Bahmani Sultanate, and more drastically with the Qutb Shahi dynasty around the city of Hyderabad, promoting the native cuisine along with their own. Hyderabadi cuisine had become a princely legacy of the Nizams of Hyderabad State, as it began to further develop further on from there. It is an amalgamation of Mughal, Turkish, and Arabic along with the influence of the native Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. Hyderabadi cuisine comprises a broad repertoire of rice, wheat and meat dishes and the skilled use of various spices, herbs and natural edibles.[1]:3[2]:14

Hyderabadi cuisine has different recipes for different events, and hence is categorized accordingly, from banquet food, for weddings and parties, festival foods, and travel foods. The category to which the recipe belongs itself speaks of different things like the time required to prepare the food, the shelf life of the prepared item, etc.[3]

Mehboob Alam Khan is a foremost expert on the Hyderabadi cuisine.[4]


Medieval period

The Deccan region is an inland area in India. The native cuisine was prominent until the Vijayanagara Empire lasted, it was during the rule of Delhi Sultanate, Muhammad bin Tughluq when he shifted the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, the Deccan region adopted the foreign cuisines. In the 14th century when the Bahmani Sultanate was formed by revolting against the Delhi Sultanate in Deccan, the Turkish noblemen were appointed in the high positions, and introduced the Turkish cuisine.

The two-centuries-long political instability in the region of the Deccan and the main Central Mughal authority and migration has introduced Deccan with multiple foreign cuisines.[5]:91–92[6]:31

In Deccan medieval cuisine, banquets were common among the aristocracy. Multiple courses would be prepared and served in a style called Dastarkhān (A long cloth laid on the floor on which food dishes and dinners plates are placed). Food was generally eaten by hand, served on among commons and nobility. The food was mostly meat oriented being grilled and fried in tandoor. The curry were highly seasoned and flavored by using spices. Fruits were preferred rather than dessert after main course. Once the meals are ended Kahwa (liquid hot drink) was consumed that contains ingredients to digest food. The ingredients of the cuisine varied greatly according to the seasons and festivals, and many items were preserved in the form of Pickles.[5]:91–92[6]:31[7]

Modern period

The modern cuisine was evolved during the Nizams in the mid-17th century, and elevated to a sublime art form. Hyderabad has a history of continuous influx of migrants from all over the world and in general from the Indian sub-continent, particularly since 1857. Most of the foreign food had been improved to suit the culinary preferences, resulting to form the unique derivative cuisine that excels over the original. Biryani (Turkish) and Haleem (Arabic) for instance is prepared all over India, but the Hyderabadi variety is ultimately from the Hyderabadi Biryani and Hyderabadi Haleem. Til ke chatuni with Arabic tahini, Persian dried lamb with beans is modified with dalcha, tandoori naan of Uzbek (Central Asia) to create Sheermal. Most of the modern day desserts in Hyderabadi cuisine were introduced and invented during the times of Nizams, today that had become an integral part of cuisine.[6]:31[7]

Hyderabadi cuisine is an integral part of the cuisines of the former Hyderabad State that includes the state of Telangana and the regions of Marathwada (now in Maharashtra) and Hyderabad-Karanataka (now in Karnataka). The Hyderabadi cuisine contains city-specific specialties like Hyderabad (Hyderabadi biryani and Hyderabadi Haleem) and Aurangabad (Naan Qalia), Parbhani (Tahari), Bidar (Kalyani Biryani) and others. The use of dry coconut, tamarind, and red chillies along with other spices are the main ingredients that make Hyderabadi cuisine different from the North Indian cuisine.[6]:31[7]


Hyderabadi dinner also known as Dastarkhwan are usually of five course meal; Aghaz (Soup), Mezban (appetizers), Waqfa (Sorbet), Mashgool Dastarkhwan (Main course) and Zauq-e-shahi (dessert).[8]



Lukhmi is a regional non-vegetarian variation of the samosa, though, it is shaped into a flat square patty. It is made from flour and stuffed with minced mutton or beef, known as Kheema. It is eaten as an evening snack or served as a starter at celebrations.[9][10]

Hyderabadi Haleem

Hyderabadi Haleem is a popular dish of Hyderabad. It is a stew composed of mutton, lentils and wheat.[11] It originates from Harees, an Arab dish brought to Hyderabad by Arab migrants. Harees is still prepared in its original form in Barkas.[12] It is sometimes served as a starter at celebrations, but it is usually only prepared during the month of Ramadan for the Iftar meal.[13]


Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most popular dishes of the city. It is distinctly different from other variations of the Biryani, originating from the kitchens of the Nizams of Hyderabad. It is a celebration dish of basmati rice and mutton, along with yoghurt, onions and various spices.[14][15][16]


  • Kalyani Biryani is a variant of the Hyderabadi Biryani using beef instead of lamb or mutton.[17][18] This meal was started after Kalyani Nawabs of Bidar came to Hyderabad sometime in the 18th century. The Kalyani biryani is made with small cubes of beef, regular spices, onions and lots of tomatoes. It has a distinct tomato, jeera (cumin), dhania (coriander) flavour.[19]
  • Tahari, Tehri or Tehari are variants of the name given to the vegetarian version of Biryani. It was developed for the Hindu bookkeepers of the Muslim Nawabs. It is prepared by adding the potatoes to the rice as opposed to the case of traditional Biryani, where the rice is added to the meat. In Kashmir, Tehari is sold as street food. Tehri became more popular during World War II, when meat prices increased substantially and potato became the popular substitute in Biryani. It is not really considered to be part of the Biriyani family in its true sense.[20]

Other dishes


Pathar ka Gosht is a mutton kebab. It is named for the traditional method of preparation, on a stone slab. (Pathar means stone in Urdu)[21]

Hyderabadi Khichdi

The Hyderabadi version of the popular dish Khichdi is distinct from the many variants enjoyed all across India. It is eaten with Kheema (minced mutton curry). It is consumed as a breakfast item, as well as during the month of Ramadan for the Sehri meal.

While most khichdi preparations use toor or moong dal, the Hyderabadi version uses masoor dal. Also, turmeric doesn’t feature in the ingredients list although some people use it in the modern preparations. The colouring of the dish comes from the caramelized onions that are an important flavour of the dish. As opposed to the semi-liquid, moist preparation of khichdi elsewhere in the country, the dish made here has a drier texture, and each grain of rice stands out.

Nawab Mehboob Alam Khan, culinary expert[22]

Talawa Gosht

Tala hua Gosht, or Talawa Gosht (in Hyderabadi dialect) is a simple mutton or beef[23] dish usually accompanied by Khatti Dal. It may be eaten with Roti or rice.[24]



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  2. Leonard, Karen Isaksen (2007). Locating home: India's Hyderabadis abroad. stanford university press. ISBN 978-0-8047-5442-2. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  3. "'Most Hyderabadi cuisine is dying' - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  4. Borah, Prabalika M (30 September 2010). "Nawab of good times". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  5. 1 2 Collingham, Lizzie (2006). Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199883813. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Chapman, Pat (2009). India food and cooking: the ultimate book on Indian cuisine. New Holland Publishers. ISBN 9781845376192. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  7. 1 2 3 Shahid, Sajjad (16 August 2011). "Biryani, Haleem & more on Hyderabad's menu". Times of India. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  8. "Day 2 in Hyderabad: Ivanka visits historic Golconda Fort". 29 November 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  9. bgbag. "The Hindu : Badiya biryani". www.thehindu.com. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  10. "Lukhmi, the mince stuffed Hyderabadi savoury". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  11. "On the food trail in Hyderabad, where Ramzan is incomplete without haleem". The News Minute. 2018-06-06. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  12. "It's haleem time". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  13. Alluri, Aparna. "Hyderabad's Charm Found in Ramadan Delights". India Ink. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  14. Khan, Sarah. "36 Hours in Hyderabad, India". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  15. Tankha, Madhur (2017-08-02). "The art of Hyderabadi biryani". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  16. "9 kinds of biryani every food lover must know". BombayTimes. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  17. "The Other Hyderabadi Biryani With a 300-Year-Old Past".
  18. Nanisetti, Serish (2015-11-04). "A tale of two biryanis". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  19. "Why Kalyani Beef Biryani Is A Favourite Of Many Hyderabadis, Muslim And Hindu".
  20. ScoopWhoop (2016-09-24). "Veg Biryani Is Not Biryani. I Wish People Would Just Stop Calling It That". ScoopWhoop. Retrieved 2016-10-29.
  21. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/140710/lifestyle-food/article/pathar-ka-gosht-vanishing-delicacy
  22. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/sunday-chronicle/epicuriosity/121117/one-pot-wonder.html
  23. Reddy, Gautham; Shams, Alex (2016-11-21). "Welcome to the Beef Capital of India". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  24. KhanaPakana.Com. "Hyderabadi Tala Hua Gosht - SnowWhite". www.khanapakana.com. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  25. "All's in a name! - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  26. "Aab shola refreshing summer drink".
  27. "Quintessentially Hyderabadi—Irani Tea". Retrieved 2016-09-23.

Further reading

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