Hyderabadi Biryani is a wholesome dish made of rice and meat that finds a prominent place in the exotic cuisines of India.
The word 'Biryani' is derived from the Persian word 'Birian'. In Farsi, Birian means 'Fried before Cooking'.
Biryani is considered to be a dish of Persian origin, that found its way to India through different routes and through the various traders and the plunderers that India has had in history.
The name of the dish thus kept changing depending upon the area where it surfaced. So we have Awadhi Biryani that's from Awadh (Lucknow), Calcutta Biryani, (Nizam's) Hyderabadi Biryani and Arcot Biryani.
South India has more varieties of biryani than any other part of the Indian subcontinent, possibly because rice, the main ingredient is the staple food here.
Hyderabadi biryani originated as a blend of Mughlai and Iranian cuisine in the kitchens of the Nizam, rulers of the historic Hyderabad State.
In the olden days, rice was fried (without washing) in Ghee (Clarified butter). It did two things: 1. It gave the rice a nutty flavor 2. It burned the outside starch layer gelatinizing it. After the rice is stir-fried, it was boiled in water with spices till half cooked.
Preferred choice for meat is leg of Telangana goat. The meat is marinated in a paste of with Papaya, whole-milk yogurt and spices. Thereafter, the meat may be cooked in an earthen pot called Handi, the rice and meat are layered, with the bottom and top layer being always rice. An interlayer of some condiments may be introduced between the meat and the rice. Cardamom, Mace, Screw-pine essence, rose water may be added to give flowery and herbal aroma. The Handi is then sealed and put on the coal embers for slow cooking. The seal is broken only when ready to serve.
Hyderabadi Biryani is also a staple part of Pakistani Cuisine due to its exotic flavor and aromatic taste.