Hyderabadi Biryani: History, Types, And 5 Must-Visit Spots
Image Credit: Here is all you need to know about Hyderabadi Biryani | Unsplash

Biryani is a dish that unites India. It is the true embodiment of the unity in diversity that we as a nation are proud of. This one dish takes several forms in different parts of the country—from the rich Lucknavi Biryani to the spicy Hyderabadi one, the potato-filled, satisfying Kolkata biryani, or the mild-flavoured Muradabadi biryani—we are a country of biryani lovers. And one of the most popular and beloved biryani varieties is the delicious Hyderabadi biryani. So, let us look at a brief history, along with the top spots to enjoy the dish in Hyderabad. But let us first look at four different types of biryanis, other than Hyderabadi, that are popular in India.

Four Different Types of Biryani

Lucknawi Biryani (Awadhi Biryani):

Recipe - Cook with Lubna

Originating from the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Lucknawi biryani is known for its rich and fragrant flavours. It is typically made with long-grain Basmati rice and tender pieces of meat, such as chicken and mutton. The biryani is cooked with saffron and ghee, giving it a distinct taste. It is often garnished with fried onions and fresh mint leaves.

Kolkata Biryani:

Kolkata biryani, also known as Calcutta biryani, is a unique variation of the dish. It is primarily made with fragrant rice, such as gobindobhog or basmati, along with marinated pieces of meat. What sets Kolkata biryani apart is the use of potatoes and boiled eggs as additional ingredients. It has a distinct mild and slightly sweet flavour and is not as rich as the other varieties.

Thalassery Biryani:

Thalassery Biryani is characterised by its use of short-grain rice, such as Kaima rice or Jeerakasala rice, and is often cooked with succulent pieces of chicken or beef. It is different from another version, which is the Malabar biryani, originating in the same region as Thalassery, which does not use coriander powder and tomatoes in its preparation.

Sindhi Biryani:

What distinguishes Sindhi biryani is the use of ingredients like potatoes, tomatoes, and a variety of spices, including dried plums (aloo bukhara), which impart a unique tangy flavour to the dish. It is often garnished with fresh coriander and mint leaves. Sindhi biryani is heavy and filling, with a very unique flavour compared to the rest of the varieties.

The History of Hyderabadi Biryani: A Khichdi of Stories

Recipe - Cook With Fem

There are several stories that talk about Hyderabad biryani being one of the most loved biryanis in the past 400 years, but there are no reliable sources on how the dish originated. One thing that is apparent is that there is Mughal influence involved in the way the dish is cooked. According to most accounts, the dish was formed in the kitchens of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The state was multi-cultural, with cooks in the kitchen and guests from different parts of the world. So, this biryani has inputs from Mughlai, Iranian, and the local cuisine of Hyderabad. It is also said that the wives of Nizam were from Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt, so they too contributed to making the biryani what it is—legendary!

Top 5 Spots In Hyderabad To Enjoy Biryani

Biryani Times

This place in Madhapur is the perfect calm spot for you to enjoy Hyderabadi Biryani without compromising on the authentic taste of the dish. There are also delicious kebabs that the place offers, but the biryani is just superlative.

Cafe Bahar

If you are planning on trying the famous Biryani at Cafe Bahar in Himayatnagar, make sure you plan it well in advance, as the place is always packed with people—such is the craze for the delicious biryani that they serve. Started by a Parsi man, this is a true biryani hotspot.

Meridian Restaurant

This famous place in Punjagitta has its own loyal customer base that keeps visiting for the quality and quantity of biryani served. They are really popular for their rich mutton biryani; you need to try out this variety of biryani to understand the hype.

Shadab Hotel

This 70-year-old shop in the Ghansi Bazaar area serves biryani that is loved by locals and tourists alike. At any time of the day, there is a line and a wait time of 15-20 minutes to eat the delicious biryani from this legendary shop.

Biryaniwalla & Co.

Located in the busy area of Banjara Hills, this shop has been running successfully for the last four decades. Along with their biryani, their special mirchi ka salan is really popular amongst old-timers who love and appreciate this vintage little place.