The 400 years of Hyderabadi culture also has its origin in Art, Music & Dance, Poetry, and last but not least, the Cuisine.
Hyderabad is never complete without the mention of the "Shahi Dastarkhan". The Dastarkhan is the Dining place where the food is served and eaten. It is normally a low chowki for the dining table and cotton mattresses for squatting and bolsters for the back rest. The Dastarkhan holds a place of reverence in every household.
The Cuisine of Hyderabad has been influenced by various regional and religious cuisines, both Indian and Foreign, despite which it has been able to create an identity of its own. It has also been able to contribute towards making Indian cuisine popular world wide. The "Biryani" from this cuisine is one such example.
What makes the Hyderabadi Cuisine special is the use of special ingredients, carefully chosen and cooked to the right degree. The addition of a certain Herb, Spice, Condiment, or an Amalgam of these add an unique taste and texture to the dish. The herbs and spices used and the method of preparation gives the dish its name. "Murgh do pyaza" gets its name from the onions that are added twice to the dish in two variations.
The Masalas or the rich blend of herbs, spices and condiments give the dishes a base, or what is popularly known as "Gravy". Some of these blends are a well-kept secret that pass only down the family line or from the Ustad(Teacher) to his Shagird(Pupil). The head cooks or the "Khansas" were an asset to the house hold, and were treated with due respect.
The word "Nawabi" is as synonymous with the Hyderabadi cuisine as "Shahi" is with Luknowi. These terms conjure delicacies that are rich in taste and texture with mouth-watering aromas. The "Kebabs" in Hyderabad need a special mention, the "ShammiKebab" is one such popular dish. The Kebabs are originally from Greece!!
The Hyderabadi meal is never complete without the bread from the kilns of the local bakers. The breads from this cuisine are equally popular, be it rich "Sheermal" or "lukmi" (bread stuffed with savory mince meat). Bread is not only an accompaniment to the meal but also forms a base for a popular sweet dish "Double Ka Meetha".
The forthcoming editions would carry further information on the cuisine of Hyderabad and also a few recipes from this land. We bid adeiu for now and look forward to welcoming you again for more recipes. Khuda afiz......
Reddy, is a graduate in Hotel Management and Catering Technology
from Osmania University, presently working in Hyderabad.
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