Cookbook:Hyderabad Biryani

Hyderabad Biryani
CategoryIndian recipes

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Hyderabadi biryani is a popular variety of biryani. It is so named as it is seen mainly in the city of Hyderabad, India, where the dish emerged from the blending of mughlai and Andhra cuisines in the kitchen of the Nizam (leader of the historical Hyderabad state). It, like other biryanis, is made using Basmati rice which is only found on the Indian subcontinent. The spices and other ingredients remain the same, but the method of preparation involves more time.

It is usually accompanied with dahi ki chutney, raita, or mirchi ka salan.

There are 2 styles of preparing this variety. The Katchi Biryani is prepared with the Katchi Yakhni method (with raw gravy). The raw meat is marinated in yogurt and cooked only by the dum, or the baking process, which is done with rice. This is a challenging process as it requires meticulously measured time and heat to avoid overcooking or undercooking the meat. In Pakki Biryani, where the meat is cooked with all the accompanying spices and then the rice is simmered with the resultant gravy redolent of mace, ittar and kewra in a sealed vessel with saffron and cardamom. It is accompanied by side dishes like Mirchi ka Salan, Dhansak and Bagara Baingan.

The meat used in the preparation is usually mutton, beef—popularly called Kalyani Biryani—or, less frequently, chicken. There is also a vegetarian version of the Hyderabadi Biryani in which the place of the meat is taken by a mixture of vegetables such as carrots, peas, cauliflower and potato. The vegetarian version is called 'tarkari' biryani. The Hyderabadi Biryani version of the mixed Vegetable Biryani is the "Tahiri".

See also: Cookbook:Katchi Biryani




  1. Make deep incisions in the chicken flesh. They should be deep enough for spices to get absorbed, but not so deep that they could render the pieces smaller.
  2. Mix turmeric, chilli powder, salt, garlic paste, yogurt, and half-lemon's juice. Thoroughly apply this paste onto the chicken, and let marinate for an hour.
  3. Heat about 100 ml of oil in a pan. Add cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom seeds, bay leaves, ½ spoon cumin, 1 spoon coriander powder, and finally onions. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add mint leaves.
  4. When onions turn slightly brown, add marinated chicken and cook for about 20–30 minutes. It should not be fully cooked at this stage.
  5. Add garam masala and coconut powder. Remove from the heat when about ¾ cooked. There should not be much sauce, and the chicken pieces should look roasted.
  6. Meanwhile, while the chicken is still cooking, prepare the biryani rice. Slightly rinse 3 cups of basmati, then add half as much water as rice by volume and 1–2 teaspoons salt. Cook until half done, preferably in an electric cooker. Take a few semi-cooked grains of rice and colour them with diluted saffron for garnishing.
  7. Place about half the semi-cooked rice in it a heat-safe pot or dish about 12 inches (300 mm) in diameter. Next, layer half of the chicken on it, and top with half the remaining rice. Add the remaining chicken, then the rest of the rice.
  8. Heat oil, and deep fry half the sliced onions until golden brown. Similarly fry the cashews. Garnish the top rice layer with these two along with 100 ml ghee, coconut milk, saffron rice grains and coriander.
  9. Cover the dish well. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to low heat. The flame should not be at the vessel's centre, but on one side of it. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then rotate the vessel to heat another part of its circumference. In this way, keep rotating the vessel every 2–3 minutes for about 20 minutes. Every time you turn it, carefully disturb the contents with a shake/jerk so prevent the settling of ghee at the bottom.
  10. Remove from the heat, and wait for about 10 minutes before uncovering.
  11. Before serving, mix the medley from the bottom. Serve with boiled egg halves. Enjoy.