Mirch Ka Salan: All About This Spicy Partner For Your Biryani

Whether you are digging into homemade biryani or enjoying it at a restaurant, a bowl of salan is a compulsory accompaniment to the dish. Made with a lot of seasonings, its yoghurt or tamarind base has the potential to balance out the flavours which allows the diner to savour the meal properly. Among all other varieties, mirchi ka salan is the top preference of biryani lovers. 

As the name suggests, mirch or chilli is the key ingredient of this side-dish. Known to be nutty and spicy in taste, this curry can also be served with rice and roti. Mirchi ka salan is a gift of Hyderabadi cuisine and it is specially prepared during weddings and other special occasions. As per a theory, this curry was invented by a khansama under the Mughal emperor Akbar. The king and his royal subjects loved the salan and even “Ain-i-Akbari,” a historical record mentions it as a favourite dish. 

Another legend states that mirchi ka salan came into existence due to a king named Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah who is believed to be the founder of Hyderabad region where the iconic biryani was invented. To support this theory, historians say that Muhammad Quli was fond of hot and spicy dishes, therefore the credit for mirchi ka salan goes to him. 

Today, this curry has become an essential part of biryani culture and has also given birth to many other varieties such as bhindi ka salan and fish salan. It is made with chillies, raw peanuts, white sesame, cumin seeds, fresh coconut, ginger, garlic, tamarind, jaggery and lots of spice powders. This salan is prepared using large non-spicy chillies such as Bhavangiri chillies, Shishito peppers or banana peppers. 

Mirchi Salan Recipe 


For masala paste 

  • 1/4 cup groundnuts 
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds 
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds  
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds 
  • 2 tbsp dry coconut powder 

For preparing Curry 

  • 1/4 cup oil 
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds 
  • 4 dry chillies 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds 
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste 
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder 
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric 
  • 7 - 8 slit big chillies 
  • 1/4 cup tamarind pulp  
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves 
  • 1/2 tsp jaggery  


  • Roast all the ingredients mentioned under ‘Masala Paste’ one after the other on a low heat. Then grind the mixture into a smooth paste. 
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry mustard seeds, red chillies, cumin seeds, fenugreek, ginger garlic paste, and the prepared masala paste. 
  • Add salt, garam masala, and turmeric to the pan. Now place slit big green chillies into this mixture and fry for up to three minutes. 
  • Then add tamarind pulp, cook until the oil separates from the gravy. 
  • Once done, add curry leaves and jaggery. Cook it for ten more minutes and serve hot with biryani.