Hyderabadi Cuisine

Hyderabadi cuisine (native:Hyderabadi Ghizaayat) also known as Deccani cuisine of India, was developed after the foundation of Qutb shahi dynasty by Sultan Quli, promoting the native cuisine along with their own. Hyderabadi cuisine had become a princely legacy of the Nizams of Hyderabad State. It is an amalgamation of Mughlai, 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.

Hyderabadi cuisine could be found in the kitchens of the former Hyderabad State that includes Telangana, Marathwada region (now in Maharashtra), and Hyderabad Karanataka region (now in Karnataka). The cuisine also contains city-specific specialities like Hyderabad (Hyderabadi biryani) and Aurangabad (Naan Qalia), Parbhani (Tahari), and Bidar(Kalyani Biryani).

The cuisine emphasises the use of ingredients that are carefully chosen and cooked to the right degree and time. Utmost attention is given to picking the right kind of spices, meat, and rice. Therefore, an addition of a certain herb, spice, condiment, or a combination of these adds a distinct taste and aroma. The key flavours are of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds which are extensively used in many dishes. The key difference from the North Indian cuisine is the use of dry coconut and tamarind in its cuisine.

Traditional utensils made of copper, brass, and earthen pots are used for cooking. All types of cooking involve the direct use of fire. There is a saying in Hyderabad, cooking patiently (ithmenaan se) is the key; slow-cooking is the hallmark of Hyderabadi cuisine. The Slow-cooking method has its influence from the Dum Pukht method used in Awadhi cuisine.

Hyderabadi Cuisine has different recipes for different events, and hence is categorized accordingly, like 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.

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 form the Hyderabadi Biryani and Hyderabadi Haleem. Til ke chatuni with Arabic tahini, Persian dried lamb with beans is modified with dalcha, tanduri 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.

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.

In the past, the food was called Ghizaayat. The cuisine is linked to the nobles, who religiously maintain the authenticity of the past, and the recipes are a closely guarded secret. The royal cooks are known as Khansamas, highly regarded by the nobles. Shahi Dastarkhan is the dining place, where food is served and eaten. A chowki is a low table, instead of a dining table and cotton mattresses for squatting and bolsters for the back rest. The Dastarkhan is revered in the noble household.

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Hyderabadi Biryani

Hyderabad’s most famous meat-and-rice dish; the Nizams served some 26 varieties of biryanis for their guests. An authentic Hyderabad meal invariably includes a mutton biryani. Hyderabadi Biryanis incorporating chicken, lamb, beef or vegetables instead of mutton are also popular.

Biryani Bown
Biryani Bown

Biryani Types:
Hyderabadi Biryani – a traditional celebration meal of lamb and rice.
Kachche- gosht ki biriyani – raw meat is stir fried with spices(masalas) for couple of minutes and then covered with rice and put in the Dum Pukht (slow oven).
Hyderabad Zafrani Biryani – Saffron is soaked and mixed with the rice at the time it is put in the Dum Pukht.
Kheeme ki khichidi- Kheema is marinated in yogurt, green chilli paste, spices for a couple of hours and cooked. Then cooked on slow flames with layers of rice and kheema mixture alternating.

Hyderabadi Haleem

Haleem is a seasonal delicacy of wheat, meat and cooked for hours to a porridge-like paste. This traditional wheat porridge has its roots in Arabia, known as harees. Haleem is a seasonal dish which is made during Ramzan (Ramadan).

Hyderabadi haleem
Hyderabadi haleem

The high calorie haleem is an ideal way to break the ramzan fast. Haleem means patience, because it takes long hours to prepare (often a whole day) and served in the evenings.

It is a popular starter at Hyderabadi Muslims weddings.

Curries and Starters

Hyderabadi Marag

Hyderabadi Marag or Marag is a spicy mutton soup served as a starter in Hyderabad, India and part of Hyderabadi cuisine. It is prepared from tender mutton with bone.It is thin soup.The soup has become one of the starters at Hyderabadi weddings.


Chakna (or “chaakna”) is a spicy stew made out of goat tripe and other animal digestive parts. It is a speciality dish among Hyderabadi Muslims. The tripe stew with chunks of liver and kidneys.


Pathar-ka-Gosht – (Urdu – پتھر کا گوشت ) is a popular non vegetarian Dish, Especially prepared in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.This Dish is prepared with Mutton by Heating it on a Wide Stone, on a Flame. The Spices are added once the Meat Pieces are heated and served with Onions and other Ingredients. It is very famous in South India and also a must to have dish in Most of the functions.

Some of famous Curries and starters:

Hyderabadi Marag – A thin mutton soup | Garle – A Hyderabadi snack. Spicy kheema balls dipped in besan batter and deep fried | Angrezi cutlet- Cutlets made out of spicy kheema and pieces of bread made into a mash, coated with bread crumbs and deep fried | Tootak- A delicacy made out of spicy kheema wrapped up in rava-butter mixture and baked | Ande ki pakodi- Slices of boiled eggs, dipped in besan batter and deep fried | Kheeme ke samose- samosas with kheema stuffing | Bagara khana – Basmati rice delicacy.| Baghara baingan – Stuffed Eggplants, a delicacy where tender and fresh brinjals are stuffed with grounded peanut-coconut mixture and cooked in a rich and creamy paste.| Dalcha – Mutton and Lentil delicacy. | Murghi ka Khorma – Chicken curry | Hyderabadi Kheema- A popular mutton-mince curry. | Paaya – Bone soup| Tamate ka Kut- Thick tomato gravy served with pieces of boiled eggs | Churri- Thick yogurt raita with chopped onions, green chillies and coriander| Chakna – A dish made out of Goat intestines and tripes cooked with flour and other spices.| Pathar-ka-Gosht – Mutton/lamb seared on a stone slab found in Hyderabad. | Bina Masale Ka Murgh – chicken done with only curd, turmeric and saffron | Dum-ka-Kheema | Muthhi Key Kebab – Meat balls (goat) | Nizami Murg Handi | Maghaz Masala (Beja Fry) – A goat’s brain deep fried delicacy.| Dopiaza – A curry made from lamb, onions, butter etc. | Kubuli – Rice with dal tossed in curd and mixed together with fried onions.| Kairi k1a Do Pyaza – Lamb meat in a spicy sour gravy | Khurma Gosht – It is a mixture of mutton, potato and a variety of spices | Kulfa Gosht – Chunks of Lamb in a succulent and spicy Purslane leaves mash | Palak Ka Gosht- succulent lamb chunks in spicy spinach leaves mash | Masala Mutton- spicy lamb curry made from peanut, sesame, dried coconut and curd paste | Binees ki Phalli Gosht – Lamb Ribs with French beans Curry | Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan – Sauteed Indian broad beans | Turai Gosht – Ridged Gourd in Lamb meat and Tomato Sauce | Turai Methi Gosht ka Salan – Ridged Gourd in Meat+Fenugreek leaves sauce | Baghari Turai aur Chane ki Dal ka Saalan – Split Bengal gram and Ridged Gourd Curry | Chuqandar Gosht – Beetroot in Spicy Meat stew | Arvi aur Gosht Ka Khatta Salan – Colocasia and Lamb meat Stew | Kaddu Ka Dalcha – Bottle Gourd in Legume Soup | Chugur Gosht – Lamb & Tender tamarind leaves curry. | Boti Kabab – Minced meat delicacy.| Bhuna Gosht | Bhuna kheema- dry, spicy kheema. Goes well with hot, steaming rice | Tamaton Ka Kut – Rich Tomato Saucy Curry | Tala huwa Gosht – Braised Meat in aromatic spices and onion | Khatti Dal – Liquid dal made with Imli.| Rawghani Roti – A type of Bread. | Pasande Kabab | Khagina- Made with onions and the fried eggs. | Khabuli Hyderabadi Nihari – A breakfast dish made of Goat’s feet and tongue. | Tamatar Ghosht | Ambade ka Salan – It is made with a leaves of Ambada(sour greens) and Mutton. | ((Kulcha/Naan Ki Roti)) – It is a type of wheat bread cooked in Tandoor type oven.

Hyderabadi Disserts

Falooda :  Falooda (Hindi: फ़ालूदा) (also Faluda), is a cold beverage popular in Indian subcontinent. Traditionally it is made from mixing rose syrup, vermicelli, psyllium (ispaghol) or basil (sabza/takmaria) seeds, tapioca pearls and pieces of gelatin with milk or water.Phaluda Falooda is a version of persian dessert known as faloodeh and is believed to have brought to India during the Mughal period. Vermicelli used for preparing faloodeh is made from arrowroot whereas vermicelli used in the Indian version is usually made from wheat.

The ice was gathered during the winter or carried from the mountain tops and stored in large insulated underground chambers topped by dome structures. This allowed ice to remain available throughout the summer, even in the desert. The best use was made to prepare desserts like faluda. Later on, as techniques improved, rose water and sugar were added with the vermicelli. Today there are many versions of faluda. Some are made without noodles and blended with fruit. One of the Indian versions consists of kulfi, translucent wheat-starch noodles and flavoured syrup. Some faludas are served as milkshakes.

Double ka meetha: Double ka meetha (Urdu: شاہی ٹکڑا) is a bread pudding dessert of fried bread slices soaked in hot milk with spices, including saffron and cardamom,. Double ka meetha is a dessert of Hyderabad, Telangana.

Double Ka Meetha

Double Ka Meetha

It is popular in Hyderabadi cuisine, served at weddings and parties. Double ka meetha refers to the milk bread, called “Double Roti” in the local Indian dialects because it swells up to almost double its original size after baking.

The dish is similar to Shahi Tukda which has its roots in Mughlai cuisine. It is particularly prepared during the festive month of Ramadan and on Eid. The recipe uses bread, condensed milk, and dry fruits.

Some of famous Hyderabadi Deseerts 

Qubani ka meetha(Khubani-ka-Meetha) – Apricot Pudding, Toppings with almond and cream. The original recipe is a translucent liquid.| Double ka meetha- Bread Pudding topped with dry fruits, a derivative of mughlai dessert Shahi tukre. | Dil e firdaus – Kheer made from kaddu.| Sheer korma – Vermicelli Pudding – Sheer means Milk and Korma is a dry date fruit, is a celebration special dessert, specially made on the Ramzan day. | Badam-ki-Jhab known as marzipan. | Gaajar ka Halwa- Carrot Pudding | Mauz-ka-Meetha – A Banana dessert. | Shahjahani Meetha: A sweet made out of tomato pulp, minced banana and khowa. | Firni – A Rice dessert.| Faluda.| Kheer Pooriyaan. A Special dish on Eid-e-milladunnabi.