Hyderabad is the capital of southern India’s Telangana state. A major center for the technology industry, it’s home to many upscale restaurants and shops. Hyderabadi cuisine is world-famous for its delicious biryanis and kebabs. Who can say no to a plate of steaming hot rice with bursting flavors? Here are some of the dishes you must try on your visit to Hyderabad.
28 Local Foods You Must Try Out in Hyderabad
1. Mirchi ka Salan
Mirchi ka salan is a traditional Hyderabadi dish prepared in weddings and special occasions. It is a spicy dish served with rice or chapati. The mirchi (chilli) are cooked in spices and mixed with ground peanut paste which gives the dish a grainy texture. Let the hot, spicy and pungent taste of the salan give you what you crave. This dish will make you come back for more and more every time.
2. Hyderabadi Biryani
The ingredients are basmati rice, goat meat or chicken or beef, curd, onions, spices, lemon and saffron. Coriander leaves and fried onions are used as garnish. A biryani is usually served with dahi chutney and mirchi ka salan. Baghaar-e-baingan is a common side dish. Believe it or not, this dish is such a favourite that people don’t mind having it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and consider it a stairway to heaven.
3. Dum Pukht Biryani
Hyderabadis and their love for rice and biryani is defined by this very dish. It involves the slow cooking of rice with vegetables and spices and chicken or mutton. The slow steaming process lets the rice be cooked to perfection and the aroma of the dish makes you drool. Also, the flavor of desi ghee will take the taste of the dish to another level.
4. Hyderabadi Marag
Hyderabadi Marag or Marag is a spicy mutton soup served as a starter in Hyderabad. It is prepared from tender mutton with bone. It is a thin soup made with mutton with bone, onions, cashew nuts, curd, coconut powder, boiled milk, cream, ginger-garlic paste, salt, and other spices like cloves, cardamoms, etc. All these ingredients make it a light and delicious soup. It has the perfect texture to be served as the starter and awaken the stomach for more such treats with the next meals.
5. Keema Samosa
Who doesn’t like fried food? Food lovers never say no to fried delicacies. One bite and you can’t stop yourself from indulging in more. Keema samosas are one of the best samosas of Hyderabad. This tempting triangle is filled with keema and vegetables and served with chutney or ketchup. (And one is never enough).
This one’s a traditional delicacy. It is considered one of the best dishes in India. Paaya is prepared with roasted spices and goat trotters, which means lots of rich, succulent flavors packed into this one scrumptious dish. Serve it hot with steamed rice and experience the flavor bursting in your mouth. This dish has a soup-like consistency and is usually eaten as a breakfast food in the winter months with naan.
7. Maghaz Masala
Maghaz means ‘brain’ and masala means ‘spice’. Bheja Fry is a popular dish that actually uses the brains of goat, sheep, or lamb cooked in spicy masala. The dish is quite popular in Hyderabad and Mumbai and is quite literally mind-blowing. The thick, hot, spicy gravy filled with juicy and succulent meat is a treat for non-veg lovers and this obviously can’t be missed. The best way to enjoy it is by eating it with your hands and savoring the taste in every lick.
8. Boti Kebab
Hyderabadi cuisine is not complete without kebabs. Intensely marinated mutton cooked with garden-fresh herbs is the secret behind the impeccable taste. And this one’s kinda the best among the variety of kebabs available. Give it a try along with green spicy chutney. Bite into the tender kebabs and feel blessed.
9. Khatti Dal
This piquant Hyderabadi-style lentil stew will send a shiver down your spine. The star ingredient of this dish is tamarind, which lends the dal its zesty flavor, making it more tempting than ever. Relish this with rice and a meat dish or vegetables. And remember, it’s not just any ordinary dal. It’s exclusive.(And tangy).
10. Gosht Pasinde
This meat recipe from Hyderabad will instantly make you drool. This dish is for relaxed weekends, bringing cheer to the day. Mutton is marinated in ginger-garlic paste, yogurt, and other spices, after which it is pressure cooked. The cooking makes it tender. Try the dish with hot tandoori rotis to savor the real taste.
11. Malai Korma
Korma is a dish consisting of meat or vegetables braised with yogurt or cream, water or stock, and spices to produce a thick sauce or glaze. Malai Korma is a delicious Mughlai vegetarian dish, koftas made with malai paneer and delicate gravy. If you love thick and creamy gravy then the palatable Malai Korma is the dish for you. The cream adds a rich taste and lends you a feeling of a royal feast, balanced with sour tomatoes. Serve it hot with rotis or rice.
12. Murgh do Pyaaza
Another feast-like dish for the meat lovers from Hyderabad. The name itself makes you hungry. Plus the tempting flavours of this chicken recipe melt in your mouth. Most often, raw mangoes are used, though lemon juice or cranberries can be used as well. The simple recipe for Dopyaaza comprises chicken or meat, onions, ginger and garlic paste, whole hot spices like black cardamoms, cloves and peppercorn, salt, and chili powder. Relish this on your next trip.
13. Qabooli Biryani
This is not just any other Hyderabadi Biryani! The vegetarian rice dish can easily give tough competition to its non-vegetarian counterpart. Qabooli Biryani is distinct from other biryanis because of the incorporation of chana dal. This scrumptious, flavourful dish is made of curd, basmati rice, delicious spices & of course, chana dal all cooked in the dum method.
14. Burani Raita
Boondi burani raita is a garlic-flavored raita that goes very well with any Indian meal. You can skip boondi and make plain burani raita. This goes perfectly with qabooli biryani. Ready to enjoy a nawabi delicacy? The strong, lingering flavor of ginger raita is a perfect match for all the rice dishes. And rice and curd are a great combo.
Lukhmi is a typical savory starter of the cuisine of Hyderabad. It is a local variation of samosa. A Hyderabadi treat is never complete without the authentic Lukhmis. These little squares of maida filled with minced meat is just what you need to treat your taste buds. Dip it in hot chutney and savor the delectable flavor of meat and spices.
16. Hyderabadi Khichdi
The Hyderabadi version of the popular dish Khichdi is distinct from the many variants enjoyed all across India. It is eaten with Keema (minced mutton curry). It is consumed as a breakfast item, as well as during the month of Ramadan. While most khichdi preparations use toor or moong dal, the Hyderabadi version uses masoor dal Also, turmeric doesn’t feature in the ingredients list. The colouring of the dish comes from the caramelized onions which are an important flavour of the dish. As opposed to the semi-liquid, moist preparation of khichdi elsewhere in the country, the dish made here has a drier texture, and each grain of rice stands out.
17. Kache Gosht ki Biryani
The biryani is as unique as its name. Cooked with raw meat, it is fragrant and succulent in taste. It is a spicy fragrant and colourful variant of biryani made in traditional style. Raw meat with spices is cooked for a couple of minutes and then covered with rice and kept covered until done. The aroma is enough to keep you hooked but once you taste it, there is no going back. Savor it with raita to get the best out of it.
18. Tunday Kebabi
Hyderabad – just like another name for the land of kebabs. Just the name Tundey Kebabi will instantly perk up your appetite. Ingredients include finely minced meat plain yogurt, garam masala, grated ginger, crushed garlic, and many other spices with lemon wedges and onion rings. Relish the spicy delicacy with creamy mayonnaise.
19. Sheer Khurma
After you’ve savoured the rich & royal biryanis and kebabs, you need to end your meal on a sweet note. This vermicelli pudding is made during special occasions and is a hit amongst all ages. Prepared with milk and dates, it has a sweet-creamy taste. If you prefer crunchiness, add some dry fruits like almonds or cashew nuts.
20. Shahi Tukda
Shahi tukda is a rich dessert and it lives up to its name. Pieces of bread that have been deep fried till golden brown and crisp are topped with the very popular rabdi and garnished with loads of dry fruits and some chaandi ka varq. Shahi Tukda, made with bread and cream, is the most sumptuous dessert you’ll have ever tasted. The best part is that it tastes equally delicious when served hot or cold.
Haleem is a stew composed of meat, lentils, and pounded wheat made into a thick paste. The preparation of haleem has been compared to that of Hyderabadi biryani. It is particularly consumed in the Islamic month of Ramadan during Iftar as it provides instant energy and is high in calories. This has made the dish synonymous with Ramadan. The ingredients include meat, pounded wheat, ghee, milk; lentils, ginger and garlic paste, etc., and dry fruits such as pistachio, cashew, fig, and almond. It is served hot, topped with ghee-based gravy, pieces of lime, chopped coriander, sliced boiled egg, and fried onions as garnish. Every bite is better than the last one.
22. Hyderabadi Dum ka Murgh
This is a great weekend dinner dish. Chicken that melts in the mouth and gravy that has rich creamy and velvety texture is what everyone would want on a Saturday night. The chicken gets marinated in spices, herbs, nuts, curd, fried onions, tomatoes and saffron before going on the stove and getting slow-cooked in its own juices. It is a part of the dum pukht cuisine i.e. slow and flavor-full cooking with herbs adding freshness to the feast.
23. Mutton Dalcha
Mutton Dalcha is usually prepared during lunch time. It is a very good combination with Bagara khana. Main ingredients are mutton, chana dal and tamarind. Vegetables may also be added to the stew. To the Dalcha, we generally add bottle gourd as the combination of meat, lauki and lentils along with spices tastes delicious. Adding meat with bones in the Dalcha gives a very good taste as the juice extracted from the bones and mixed into the dal brings out the rich flavour. Dalcha also brings out a tangy flavor as the tamarind pulp is added while making the dish. Enjoy this zesty and savoury dish on a lazy day.
24. Shikampuri Kebab
The hyderabadi shikampuri kebab is a great dish that can be served as an appetizer, with tea, as a side dish or simply as a side dish with any rice item. It is basically cooking mutton and dal together and then grinding it to a fine paste and adding the hung curd filling with the kebab dough before frying. Adding eggs to the batter saves it from falling apart. This is a perfect dish to be savored during Ramadan and iftar.
25. Double ka meetha
Double ka meetha is a bread pudding Indian sweet made from fried bread slices soaked in hot milk with spices, including saffron and cardamom. The dish is similar to Shahi Tukda. It is particularly prepared during the festive month of Ramadan and on Eid. The recipe uses bread, condensed milk, and dry fruits. This Indian version of bread pudding presents the deliciousness of bread when it absorbs the richness of milk and cream and is flavored with dry fruits and spices.
This creamy rice pudding is sold in tiny earthen bowls or mitti ke kasore. The dish is made by cooking rice in sweetened thick milk, which is then topped with cardamom, saffron, cloves, and cinnamon, as well as dried fruits and nuts. It is light and flavorful and has a rose essence. It is the perfect end to a hearty meal.
27. Khubani ka meetha
Dried apricots from Afghanistan are especially prized for their flavor. Khubani ka meetha is a very popular dessert of Hyderabadi cuisine. Preparation of the dish involves boiling apricots with syrup until they reach the consistency of a thick soup. The dessert is topped with blanched almonds or apricot kernels, and is traditionally garnished with cream, but custard or ice cream can be used too. The dessert is normally served hot with malai.
28. Irani chai and biscuit
Irani chai is mostly served in a white ceramic cup and saucer and is often called 90 ml chai after its standard volume. This light-coloured tea is made of 3/4th whole milk and 1/4th tea decoction. The sweet, milky Irani chai is known for its unique taste and rejuvenating properties. It is traditionally served with staples such as Osmania biscuits, lukhmi, tie biscuits, fine biscuits, and even sweet cream.