A bite of Hyderabadi Biryani

Mutton Biryani - Shah Ghouse Biryani Hyderabad
Hyderabadi Biryani – Shah Ghouse Biryani Hyderabad

Heartbroken! That’s how I felt when Gullu (my sister) came back from Hyderabad, ‘empty-handed!’

That day, Saurabh and I were beaming with excitement. I was out for an assignment, when I got a call from Saurabh, which changed my sunny day into a gloomy one. Sounding evidently dejected, he told me Gullu had indeed committed the biggest crime. She was coming back without the legendary pack of Hyderabadi Biryani, we had so fervently dreamt of.

She pulled the biggest tease when she came home back home, with just a bag full of Karachi Bakery’s biscuits. As much as I love the rosy fruit biscuits, the absence of Biryani felt agonizing.

Saurabh, in fact, has never even been to Hyderabad and had had Hyderabadi Biryani only in Delhi. So, I could only imagine, how dejected, he must have felt. That day, I decided I would never expect such favours from anyone. No wishing for Pyaz Kachori from Janta/Rawat or Dark Chocolate from Flury’s.

Yes, we do take our food very seriously.

So, last week, when Gurjas went to Hyderabad, I made no such demands or had any expectation from him either. He was there, only 2 days and that too, for Eatstory Art’s commercial shoot. So naturally I didn’t want to pester him with my gluttonous demands.

Gurjas, however, has a penchant for surprising me. So, he did manage to get the much-desired biryani packed for us and was planning to keep it a surprise. But, thanks (or no thanks) to my phone, which broke down on the same day he was traveling back to Delhi, he spared me the surprise and ‘temporary heartache’ of missing out on the treasured biryani, again!

So, here he was, standing at the Airport with a “Family Size” pack of Mutton Biryani and a small pack of Chicken Biryani from Shah Ghouse Café & Restaurant in Hyderabad. ‘You got me Biryani!’ is what I said, even before saying ‘Hi’ to him. “Looking at your excitement, killing the surprise was worth it.” Gurjas said.

We met Saurabh on our way (who had been waiting for 2 hours, post his work, to join us) and took a long journey from South Delhi to my home, back in Indirapuram. We also picked up some Seekh Kebabs and Beer on our way.

And, that’s how we were all set for our mini celebration.

My mother was obviously astonished to see the portion size Gurjas had got. I, on the other hand, was instantly besotted by the aroma, as soon as she opened the packet. We could hardly wait to dig in! With delicious tender meat pieces with fragrant strands of Basmati rice cooked in dum (a vessel lid covered with dough), the biryani was spicy and meaty with complex mix of aromatics. The beauty of this Biryani was, since it was cooked in dum style, the meat remained tender and juicy, with a distinct flavour. The unique flavour of cardamom, yoghurt, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and coriander, was absolutely magical! Saying it was finger licking good would be an understatement.

I’ve heard people say Hyderabadi Biryani is dry and lacks the vibrance of Awadhi Biryani. Contrary to the notion, I believe, that if made well, there is no better Biryani preparation than the one Nizams loved to eat themselves. It’s complex, royal and oh so delicious! I am so glad, Gurjas without much asking, made the effort of giving me my favourite meal and in turn, my favourite night yet, at my new house.

Honestly, all along I did secretly hope, that he gets the Biryani. And somewhere I knew, that if there were one person, who would understand my yearning for a flavour/dish, it would be him – my gluttony partner, always and forever!



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