Hyderabadi Cuisine – Everything you need to know

If asked anyone about Hyderabadi food, Biryani will be the first answer. Well, it’s obvious as biryani is world famous. But Hyderabadi cuisine is much more than just Biryani and Shahi Tukra.

hyderabadi cuisne

About Hyderabad

Hyderabad is the capital of Indian state of Telangana. It is also land of Nizams. The city was founded by Muhammad Quki Qutb Shah in 1591 century. First it was named as Bhagya-nagar after Bhagmati, a Hindu girl whom he had married. Later, she got converted to Islam and adopted the title Hyder Mahal. The city was later renamed to Hyderabad, in her honour.

About Hyderabadi Cuisine

The Nizams were great patrons of rich food. They were also famous for there hospitality, hosting feast and state banquets. Its said that there were about 50 variations in biryani. During the Nizam’s regime, the biryani and it’s many variations spread to all over the Deccan region and Andhra Pradesh.

The Nizams were great lovers of food. They liked slow cooked food on wood fire, flavourful, meat in the food, fat, dry fruits and spices. The Nizami special dishes are still famous in Hyderabad and the rich taste of it will rarely fail to impress anyone.

The Nizam had nobles who were mainly Muslims, Turks, Persians and Afghans. They brought with them their own spices and their own cuisine. The hyderabadi cuisine has some influence of middle eastern countries. Nizam also brought a few of the advisors and administrators and learned people from Delhi and Lucknow. They also brought with them there culture and food.

Hyderabadi Cuisine also covers nawabi foods in one sense as most of the chefs were from awadhi region. But Hyderabadi dishes does not have sweetness same as awadhi. Hyderabadi cuisine has influence of Andhra, a spicy edge. This particular cuisine was influenced by various chefs from both Indian and Foreign. Hyderabadi cuisine has also contributed in making Indian cuisine popular around the globe.

Hyderabadi Cuisine has its origins from the Mughalai style of cooking of the Asaf Jahi period. Mughalai flavours were carefully mellowed and nurtured with a blend of qaulity spices, the cuisine of Hyderabad was born. In my 10 years of stay in Hyderabad, I have seen that a true Hyderabadi will go any where in the city for a well prepared dish.

When a Persian Ambassador came to the Qutub Shahi Kingdom in 1603, he described the food as “The food is a dream of deliciousness”.

Most of the dishes in Hyderabadi cuisine has got the name from the ingredients added and the preparation method. Example:

Dum ka Murgh: Slow cooked.

Bagara rice: Bagara means tempering.

Murgh Do Pyaza: Murgh means Chicken and Do Pyaza means two times onion. In this dish, onion is added at two stages. First is while making the gravy and second stage is in the end, when the dish is almost ready to retain its crunch.

Shahi Korma

Ingredients used in Hyderabadi Cuisine

In Hyderabadi dishes dry coconut, tomato or tamarind, nuts such as peanuts, cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, red chillies are the commonly used ingredients that make Hyderabadi cuisine different from the others. With so many different ingredients, hyderabadi cuisine is known to be sumptuous with a richness of taste that is difficult to find elsewhere in the country.

Hyderabadi dishes uses lots of ingredients, which are meticulously chosen and cooked to aromatic. Apart from this, addition of condiments, special spices, herbs and masalas makes these Hyderabadi dishes so exceptional.

Because of andhra influence, hyderabadi cuisine has blend of mughal spices and spices of andhra. The cuisine is also unquie in flavors because of:

  • Kind of spices used
  • Proportion of spices used
  • When they are used
  • How they are used

What is Hyderabadi Cooking Style?

It is believed that this style of cooking, known as ‘dum’ came from Persia during the regime of Mughals in the country. Equipments used in Hyderabadi cooking are:

Granite (patthar)

Degh and Lagan is most commonly used utensils to cook. Both the vessels are thick bottom to sustain long cooking time.

Sigri charcoal



Key Features of Hyderabadi Cuisine

  • As Hyderabadi cuisine is a mix of cuisines of various regions, it is now an amalgamation of Mughals, Turkish, Arabic along with local influence of Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. This is what makes the Hyderabadi Cuisine so special and stand out in the country.
  • This cuisine is more of non-vegeterian compared to vegetarian.
  • Hindus prefers to be veg on festival days
  • The word “Nawabi” is as synonymous with the Hyderabadi cuisine as “Shahi” is with Lucknowi.

Charateristic of Hyderabadi Cuisine

  • Dum cooking is done in Degh
  • Vegetables are added in most meat dishes
  • Varities of dal, pulao, biryani, khichdi are consumed
  • Curries comprises shorva, khorma, kalia, salan and bhuna
  • All parts of lamb is used for cooking
  • Cuisine is spicy as compared to Awadhi cuisine.
  • Grilling method of cooking is very popular such as tandoor, sigri, stone and griddle
  • Kheema is used for kebabs, kofta, pulao etc
  • No meal is complete without pickle. Avakaya (Mango pickle) is vey popular
  • Dessert section is lesser in number but includes famous dishes

General course of Hyderabadi food

  • Gazak, also called as starter
  • Kheema, which is minced meat
  • Shorva, which is non veg curry/gravy
  • Murg, which means chicken
  • Machali, which translated to fish
  • Pilaf, which as pulaos, biryanis
  • Chaval, translates to rice
  • Suzi/Tarkariyan, means vegetables
  • Dal, which is lentils
  • Rotiya, indian flatbread
  • Meetha, which sweet dish

Muslim’s course

  • It is also called as “Dastarkhwan” and comprise of 5 meal course
  • Aghaz (soup)
  • Mezban (appetizers)
  • Waqfa (Sorbet/Drink)
  • Mashgool Dastarkhwan (Main Course)
  • Zauq e shahi (dessert/sweet dish)

In Hyderabad food is a religion, it is worshipped and celebrated all over. This cuisine has different recipes for different occasions which is broadly classified depending on the time required to prepare the food, the shelf life of the prepared item

  • Banquet foods
  • Festival foods
  • Travel foods
  • Weddings/Valima
  • Parties or get-together

Hyderabadi meal mainly comprise of Rice, Wheat, Meat dishes, made with various spices, nuts, herbs and masalas.

Modern Hyderabadi dishes

Modern Hyderabadi Cuisine is mix of two legacies

  1. Deccani cuisine of Nizams
  2. Local influence of Andhra cuisine, which is spicy with generous use of red chillies.

Famous Hyderabad dishes today

By now it is clear that Hyderabadi dishes has been transformed by the continual movement of migrants into Hyderabad along with blend of Andhar cuisine.

Biryani has taken the center stage and pushes all other dishes to back seat. It is a major crowd puller and attarcts number of food lovers to the city from the India and from around the world too. Apart from biryani, there are many delicacies such as Sheer Korma, Chicken Korma, Gajar ka Halwa, Dum ke Baigan, Mirch ka Salan, Bagara Baigan and many more

There is a saying, cooking patiently or ithmenaan see is the key , slow cooking is the hallmark of Hyderabadi cuisine.


Biryani is Hyderabad’s most famous meat-and-rice dish. An authentic meal of Hyderabad invariably

includes a Mutton Biryani. Chicken and vegetarian biryani are also popular.


Paaki ghost ki Hyderabadi Biryani – Meat is cooked with spices and later arranged in layers with par-boiled rice and cooked on low flame for few minutes.

Kachchi gosht ki biriyani – raw meat is marinated with curd, fried onions, herbs and spices(masalas) for couple of hours and basmati rice is par-boiled separately with whole spices and herbs. The next step is to layer them and cook on low flame called as “dum”.

Dum-pokht biryani – slow-cooked biryani.


Mirchi ka salan or Mirchi tamatar ka salan – accompaniment for a Biryani

Dahi chutney or Raita: Chopped onions, green chillies and few herbs are mixed in curd which is not sweet.


Haleem is a seasonal delicacy made during Ramzan. It is made of wheat & meat, and cooked for hours to a porridge-like paste. Because of many ingredients, it is high calorie dish which is an ideal way to break fast.


Dum Ka Chicken

Andhra Chicken

andhra chicken fry

Bagara khana – Basmati rice delicacy.

famous food of hyderabad

Baghara baingan – Eggplants are sauteed till tender and cooked in rich and creamy gravy made of peanuts, dry coconut, sesame seeds.

ingredients for hyderabadi cuisine

Dalcha – Mutton and Lentil delicacy.

Murghi Korma – Chicken curry

Hyderabadi Kheema- Apopular mutton-mince curry.


Pathar-ka-Gosht – Thin strips of Mutton/lamb deep-fried on a stone slab found in Hyderabad.


Muthhi Key Kebabs – Meat balls (goat)

Do Pyaaza – Acurry made from lamb, onions, butter etc.

Boti Kabab – Minced meat delicacy.

Bhuna Gosht

Tamate ka Kut made with tomatos

Katti Dal

Rawghani Roti – Atype of Bread.

Pasande Kabab



Nihari – Abreakfast dish made of Goat’s feet.


Qubani ka meetha(Khubani-ka-Meetha) -It is a pudding made with Apricots and topped with almond and cream. The original recipe is a translucent liquid.

Double ka meetha- Bread pieces are deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup and topped with dry fruits.

Gil e firdaus – Kheer made from kaddu.

Sheer korma – Thin Vermicelli is used to make this pudding – Sheer means Milk and Korma is a dry date fruit, is a celebration special

dessert. It is specially made on the Ramzan day.

Badam-ki-Jhab known as marzipan.

Gaajar ka Halwa- Carrot Pudding

Mauz-ka-Meetha – ABanana dessert.

Firni – ARice dessert.




Dil khush – Atriangular pie, which is bread stuffed with cake leftovers

Dil pasand

Chota Samosa – Acrispy, onion-filled small samosa.

Osmania Biscuit – Anice, soft tea biscuit, gets its name after last ruler of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

Fine Buiscuit – Amulti-layered, oval shaped and sprinkled with sugar.

Hyderabadi cuisine dishes

Difference between Awadhi and Hyderabadi cuisine

Hyderabadi cuisine history

Famous food of Hyderabad

Hyderabadi food

What is Hyderabadi Cooking Style?

It is believed that this style of cooking, known as ‘dum’ came from Persia during the regime of Mughals in the country. Equipments used in Hyderabadi cooking are:
Granite (patthar)
Degh and Lagan is most commonly used utensils to cook. Both the vessels are thick bottom to sustain long cooking time.
Sigri charcoal

Is Hyderabadi food spicy?

Hyderabadi food is not spicy though there are many spices used in the making. The food is mostly made with meat which is mixed with rice or grilled or fried in tandoor. While there are many ingredients used in Hyderabadi dishes, there is a well balance of the flavors.

What is the famous food items in Hyderabad

There are many food items. To name few
Hyderabadi Biryani.
Hyderabadi Haleem.
Hyderabadi Marag.
Mutton Samosas (source)
Kebabs or Grilled Meat.
Mutton Dalcha.
Dum Pukht.
Kubani ka Meetha.