New to Hyderabad? Looking for some authentic Hyderabadi Biryani, but confused? Don't worry, we are here to help you out. Many restaurants both in and outside Hyderabad (within India and abroad) claim to serve authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. However, just naming the dish or claiming it to be the original recipe does not make it authentic.
You can determine if a restaurant is serving authentic dish by checking how it is served, finding how it is cooked and by the characteristics of the restaurant. Here are few tips that could help you find out the authentic one.
An authentic Biryani is made only from Basmati rice, a long and slender rice variety popular in South Asia. The rice has a typical flavour which is caused by the aroma compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. These characteristics make Basmati rice a preferred variety to make the dish.
Secondly, the only authentic Biryani is the Dum ka Biryani. It means the rice and the meat together, along with spices are steam cooked in a large conical vessel called deksha. The lid is sealed with dough to prevent the steam from going out and the food is slowly cooked, typically on charcoal. This cooking method is what gives the dish, the distinct flavour and taste.
This way of low heat cooking is difficult. A chef cannot really examine the dish while it is cooking. Once it is removed from the flame, and the meat is overcooked or undercooked - the chef cannot really make adjustments. Therefore, only expert chefs can make a perfect dish.
Here is what you should get with an authentic Biryani. It comes with Mirchi ka Saalan (dish made with big green chillies), dahi chutney (made with curd and onions) and onion salad with some lime pieces. If any restaurant does not provide you all of these at no additional cost - then it's not serving authentic dish. These are absolutely the basic things that make the 'Biryani' meal. If anyone item is missing it is like serving a Pizza without topping.
Many restaurants also serve a non-authentic variety called Pakki Biryani - in which meat and rice are cooked separately. Then, mixed at the end to make the dish. This is like mixing curry and rice. You can easily identify this kind of dish by its colour. It completely looks yellowish or light brown, unlike the authentic one, in which half of the rice looks white and half looks yellowish or light brown.
Finally, remember that the Biryani was originally created to serve quick meals to troops during war. So any good restaurant will typically serve a large number of guests. A good restaurant in Hyderabad serves tens of thousands of meals a day.
The above should hopefully help you figure out a restaurant serving Authentic Hyderabadi Biryani!