Hyderabad is known for many things: Charminar, Ramoji Film City, Osmania biscuits and, most importantly, biryani. Byrani is a mouthwatering rice and meat dish held in the hearts (and stomachs) of people all over the world. While the famous dish did not originate here, Hyderabad has since been crowned the capital of biryani.
Many versions of biryani exist today in different regions of India and Pakistan. Some versions contain potato, such as in Calcutta and Bombay versions of biryani, or contain dried fruit, such as Sindhi biryani.
Hyderabadi Biryani contains neither potato nor dried fruit. Instead, it is comprised of a meat of choice (usually either chicken or mutton), rice, caramelized onion and plenty of spice to go around. It is often garnished with fresh lime juice.
While the origin of biryani cannot be entirely determined, it is generally agreed the flavorful dish arrived in India from Persia around 1394.
One legend claims Mumtaz Mahal (the queen for which the Taj Mahal was built) bears the responsibility for the creation of biryani. After visiting the barracks of her husband’s army, she was shocked to find them malnourished and weak. In response, she ordered the cooks to create a spiced rice and meat dish which would give the soldiers much-needed nutrition.
Others believe it is simply an updated version of a traditional Tamil dish served to warriors called oon saru.
Here in Hyderabad, biryani can be found almost anywhere in the city, from street stalls to five-star restaurants. The only problem you will face, apart from too many places to choose from, is that they all claim to have “Hyderabad’s best biryani.”
A restaurant called The Paradise is the most well-known. However, Bawarchi is also a strong contender. That said, eating around to discover where Hyderabad’s best biryani is served isn’t all bad.
However biryani was first created, one thing is sure; it has only gained popularity ever since. From a dish reserved for the elite during Mughal times, to an adored meal the world over, biryani is a delicacy everyone should try.