Biryani comes from the Persian word ‘Birian’ which means ‘fried before cooking’. There are many stories associated with the origins of the biryani. One legend has it that Timor, also known as Tamerlane, brought it down from Kazakhstan via Afghanistan to Northern India.
Now, when we speak of the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, credit goes to the Mughals, who introduced us to this typical Persian dish. Aurangzeb invaded the South and installed the Nizam-ul-mulk who later became the Nizam of Hyderabad. During the Nizam rule, Biryani came to occupy an important place in the menu, especially during the special occasions and went on to acquire the name Hyderabadi Biryani.
As the bahu or daughter-in-law of a Hyderbadi family, I do consider it a shame if I didn’t know how to cook the Hyderabadi biryani. My mother in law is an expert, who whips up the most fragrant and finger-licking good biryani I have ever tasted in my entire life! It took me two years to finally get the courage to cook this biryani. I made sure my mother in law isn’t around during my first attempt. And so, Masood and his younger brother, Mushtaq, were the first lucky people to try my Hyderabadi biryani.
Fortunately, my first attempt was a huge success! The secret to a good Hyderabadi biryani is to use mint leaves and lemon juice generously. Some even add cashew nut powder and other fancy ingredients. I will get to that level, InshaAllah, but for now I am happy with how my biryani turned out.
Speaking of biryani, Dubai is set to prepare the biggest biryani bowl tomorrow at the Global Village. Read about it here.