Hyderabad recently bagged the UNESCO title for the Creative City of Gastronomy and this indeed is just the reason we needed for some off season feasting celebrations! Move over biryani though and dig into other lesser known Hyderabadi fare to relish the new found flavour we owe so amply to Hyderabad!
Qubani ka Meetha
What better way to do some muh- mitha than with an extremely distinctive Hyderabadi dessert? Qubani ka meetha is an authentic Hyderabadi dish that is mostly unique yet popular for its rich taste and distinctive flavour. Dried apricots are cooked with sugar and flavoured with rose water to make this soft, mushy dessert dish that can be amply done up with dried fruits. Sinful indeed!
Famously named after the Hyderabad ruler Mir Osman Ali Khan, Osmanis biscuits are a tea time favorite in Hyderabad but equally relished across the lengths and breadths of the country. Just the perfect combination of sweet and salty, Osmania biscuits are a wholesome delight with their melt in the mouth texture underneath the crispy outer shell. Tea times in Hyderabad are incomplete without this particular biscuit to do up cupfuls of chai!
Even chai in Hyderabad is not your everyday cuppa of plain milk tea. The people of Hyderabad like their chai Irani style even when it is of Persian origin. The addition of mawa to black tea makes Irani chai a delightfully creamy beverage that refreshes and satiates with its richness. You can’t be in Hyderabad and not have a sip of this uniquely deep flavoured chai if you are a true blue food connoisseur!
Lukhmi is Hyderabad’s local adaptation of the very popular samosa. Flaky golden pockets made of maida dough and stuffed with minced meat is deep fried and served with onions, chillies and hot chutney. An indulgence indeed worthy for your tea time cravings!
While veg biryani is a farce for many, Hyderabad seeks to delight with even its meat shunning version of the popular one pot meal. The nutty flavor of chana dal makes this dish such a heavenly delight that will have also the hard core non- vegetarians craving for a generous second serving!
Because Qabooli biryani can be made even with the otherwise integral condiments of ginger and garlic, it would be blasphemous to not pair it with something zesty. Comes to the rescue the famous Burani Raita that makes your meal a delight to relish over and over again. A ginger based side,the burani raita’s strong flavour and aroma makes for an excellent match for basically every rice dish. And when you have the Qabooli biryani for company, your taste buds would be in for a real treat.
Mirchi ka Salan
Need to up the spice? Turn to Hyderabad’s exciting mirchi ka salan for rescue. The rich nuttiness of a peanut and sesame based gravy incorporates perfectly the spice of the chilli peppers to make your biryani feasting rendezvous a gastronomic experience you will never forget.
Sides are what does up every meal. No wonder that Hyderabadi cuisine is resplendent with wide variety of dips and chutneys,each distinctively different from the rest. Achari tamaatar is a spiced tomato chutney that incorporates the delightful appeal of dry coconut and sesame seeds. And with the plethora of biryanis that it hoards, you can also encounter an Achari Tamatar raita while exploring the gamut of Hyderabadi cuisine.
A classic Hyderabadi dish, tamate ka tut is a rich tomato based soup that resides in the juiciness of fresh red tomatoes made denser by the addition of besan. If you are ever in Hyderabad and end up catching the flu, you don’t need to worry. You will always have a bowl of steaming tamate ka kut to keep you strong and steady. Even without any cold and flu, this Hyderabadi soup is equally a treat to gobble up!
Extremely rich and intensely flavorful, it’s a wonder why Hyderabad’s Jauzi ka halwa remains such a lesser known dessert. Made with sprouted wheat flour cooked with derilious amounts of ghee and milk, flavoured with saffron and nuts, jauzi ka halwa has every element in its every spoonful to indeed send you to heaven with its explosive fusion of flavour and taste.
Tamatar Ka Halwa
Hyderabadis love their tomatoes in every form. So after tomato chutneys and tomato soups there’s tomato halwa on the menu! Also called shahjahani meetha/ halwa, this tomato based dessert surely is one of the most unique sweets you will encounter in your entire life!
Badam Ki Jali
And it isn’t just tomatoes that dominate the food hierarchy in Hyderabad. The city also has a thing for its cookies that are uniquely distinctive in name as well as in essence. One such popular Hyderabadi biscuit that is a hot favorite among all is the badam ki jali. Almond based cookies are baked in exotically shaped moulds that make them as much of an eye candy as a tooth pleaser. Among the most preferred of these exotic badam biscuits are the Ashrafis that are made by pressing the cookie dough between two Nizami coins to get the design inscripted on them!
The people of Hyderabad has a kanck for making halwa out of vegetables. And this time it is one of the lesser flavoured veggies bottle gourd that goes into the making of the utterly divine sweet dish called Gil-e-Firdaus. Made with grated bottle gourd and rendered healthier with the addition of rice and also sago cooked in milk and cardamom, Gil-e-firdaus will make you fall in love with the humble lauki with all your heart and soul!
Mauz ka Meetha
A hyderabad special, Mauz ka meetha is a very simple dessert made of ripened bananas cooked in condensed milk and devoured with gluttonous appetite by lovers of all things sweet. A sure satisfactory slurp- up!
The extreme biasness that Hyderabadi cuisine is projected with its fondness for meat seriously derides its many amazing vegetarian dishes. Tootak is one such veg based appetiser that can indeed appease your taste buds like no other. A rawa and khoya dough ball is stuffed with spicy paneer and potato that is then baked to just the perfect crisp and color. The exquisite flavor of rose water that overpowers your very senses with every bite is enough to send you into a fizzy with its unique blend of flavour and aroma.