For foodies, if there’s one thing that makes Hyderabad stand out, it has to be its delectable biryani. It is known across the country for serving the spiciest and the most delicious biryanis ever.
Hyderabadi Biryani is a popular variety of Biryani in India, and the Hyderabadi biryani is so named as it is seen mainly in the city of Hyderabad.
Hyderabadi biryani is generally believed to have originated in the kitchens of the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was a leader of the historical Hyderabad state. Considered a staple part of Indian cuisine, it originated as a blend of Mughlai and Iranian cuisine. Hyderabadi biryani, like other biryanis, is made using Basmati rice which is only found on the Indian subcontinent.
The spices and other ingredients remain the same, however the method of preparation involves more time and sophistication. Fewer spices are used than in this traditional cooking technique with fresh spices and herbs for flavouring. The ingredients are basmati rice, goat meat or chicken or beef, dahi, onions, spices, lemon saffron to name a few. Hyderabadi biriyani uses fine and long grained basmati rice which looks like pearl, each grain separate and distinct. Coriander leaves and fried onions are used as garnish. The original dish includes red meat but chicken, eggs or vegetables are also used for some variations.
We at Potful, prepare the Hyderabadi biryani using the dum method of cooking. Dum means to 'breathe in' and pukht means to 'cook.' Dum pukht cooking uses a round, heavy-bottomed pot, preferably a handi or a clay biryani pot, in which food is sealed and cooked over a slow fire. Hence, it is also called pot biryani. The two main aspects to this style of cooking are: bhunao and dum, or 'roasting' and 'maturing' of a prepared dish. In this cuisine, herbs and spices are important. The process of slow roasting gently allows each ingredient to release their maximum flavor. The sealing of the lid of the biriyani pot achieves maturing. Cooking slowly in its juices, the food retains all its natural aromas.
At Potful, like in ancient times, dough is spread over the clay pot, like a lid to seal the veg, chicken or mutton dum biriyani being cooked. This is known as pardah or veil. Upon cooking, it becomes a bread which has absorbed the flavours of the food. In the end, dum pukht food is about aroma when the seal is broken on the table and the fragrance of a Persian past floats in the air. This is an experience which you can enjoy with Potful since the pot is unopened and rice is untouched until delivered.
Hyderabadi biryani is of two types: the kachchi or raw biryani, and the pakki or cooked biryani.
The kachchi biryani is prepared with kachchi gosht, which means raw meat, marinated with spices overnight and then soaked in curd before cooking. The meat is sandwiched between layers of fragrant basmati rice and cooked in the dum biriyani cooking method, sealing the pot biryani with dough. This is a challenging process as it requires meticulous attention to time and temperature to avoid over- or under-cooking the meat.
In a pakki biryani, the meat is marinated for a shorter time and cooked before being layered with the rice and cooked in a dough-sealed vessel. Another version of pakki biryani is called pakki aqni and contains cooked gravy. Here, the ingredients are cooked before baking. Saffron and cardamom are used for flavouring.
There is also a vegetarian version of the biryani which is made using vegetables such as carrots, peas, cauliflower, potatoes, and cashews. The vegetarian version is called 'tarkari' biryani. The Hyderabadi mix veg biryani version of the Vegetable Biryani is the "Tahiri".
The biryani is usually served with curd chutney and mirchi ka salan or curried chilli peppers. The salad includes onion, carrot, cucumber, and lemon wedges.
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In Hyderabad, they use boiled eggs and use only 10% cooked rice and raw marinated mutton chunks to be cooked in the raw papaya paste, yoghurt and lemon juices. It is called 'kachhi' method where both the principal ingredients are almost raw. But interestingly Hyderabadi biryani omits the use of Mughlai mitha attar, which is used generously in Lucknowi Biryani. Both types however, use saffron and fried onions for flavouring. However, the cooking style varies.
Hyderabadi biriyani uses fine and long grained basmati rice which looks like pearl. Each grain is separate and distinct. On the other hand, Lucknow uses a lesser version of basmati. Also, the rice is soaked before cooking in Lucknowi Biryani.
Hyderabadi Biryani is rich in spices whereas one would find a lack of the same in its Lucknowi counterpart. Mitha attar and the use of kewra however, give an intensity of aroma which makes up for this omission. Eggs are not used in Lucknowi biryani which is one of the ornaments of Hyderabadi biryani.
As for the style of cooking, Lucknowi vs Hyderabadi symbolizes 'Pakki' vs 'Kachhi'. Although Hyderabadi dum biriyani can be cooked in either way, the traditional method involves the Kachhi style of cooking. The difference to be highlighted here is how much the meat is cooked.
In the Lucknowi mutton biryani, the staple ingredients which are rice and the meat, are 70-80% pre-cooked. Then it is set for a slow dum, in a deep bottomed vessel, closing the lid, wrapping it around with a dough, on a slow and smothering fire.
In the case of the Hyderabadi mutton biryani, 'Kachhi' is a method where the 10% cooked rice is cooked in an hour with the marinated meat, getting cooked in the beaten yoghurt. The result is brilliant with the rice having acquired the entire flavour of the mutton juices, infused with saffron. The mutton is so soft that it literally comes out of its bone.
Potful provides online food delivery and is dedicated to bringing the authentic taste of Hyderabadi biryani at your doorstep. A good day, a good biryani and a good burp is now just a click away for all food lovers in Bangalore.
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