Hyderabadi Biryani is a popular non-vegetarian variety of Biryani. Using lamb and rice, it is a traditional celebration meal and is the staple of a die-hard Hyderabadi. The Hyderabadi Biryani is so named as it is seen mainly in the city of Hyderabad, India. The blending of mughlai and andhra cuisines in the kitchen of the Nizam (ruler of the historic Hyberabad state), resulted in a dish called the Hyderabad Biryani. 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, however the method of preparation involves more time.
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 curd 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.
Biryani is derived from the Persian word "Birian". In Farsi, Birian means "Fried before Cooking".
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 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, bottom and top layer are always rice. An interlayer of some condiments may be introduced between the meat and the rice. Cardamom, Mace, Screwpine essence, rose water may be added to give flowery and herbal aroma. The Handi is sealed and put on the coal embers to cook. For Calicut Biryani, the Handi is placed on the embers produced by coconut shell. The seal is broken only when ready to serve.