The World Famous – Hyderabadi Biryani

Aadaab to all my readers!

Here is the most awaited post on Aadaab; the Biryani, sorry to keep all my readers waiting.

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Biryani is synonymous with Hyderabad. It is an iconic dish, loved not just in Hyderabad but a favourite all over the world.

The mere mention of Hyderabad and your mouth starts watering for biryani. I am a Hyderabadi and Biryani runs in our blood! It’s my favourite, favourite and the most favourite dish, like it must be for most people who belong to this city. It is usually on the menu in our home for the Sunday family lunch.

The Biryani Tales

The aromatic Dum Biryani is a historical dish and has been a celebrated dish on the menu since the Mughal era. Even today, no wedding or party is complete without a few rounds of scrumptious Biryani.

However, there are two distinct types of Hyderabadi biryanis: A ‘kachchi yaqnee dum biryani’ and a ‘pakki yaqnee dum biryani’.

Kachchi Yaqnee Dum Biryani: Kachchi means raw or uncooked, hence this is made from raw meat marinade, layered with semi-cooked rice and cooked in the dum style.

Whereas, Pakki means cooked or ready, therefore, in Pakki Yaqnee Dum Biryani the meat is pre-cooked and then layered with the semi-cooked rice and cooked in the Dum style.

Cooking with Dum is a traditional technique, which requires sealing the vessel with hard dough or foil and trapping the steam inside. The food will cook in its own steam. The Dum is removed once the biryani is ready.

The Kachchi yaqnee is the more popular of the two biryanis.

People savor the lamb biryani the most, although chicken and beef biryani is equally enjoyed.

For all my readers who have been waiting for the biryani post on aadaab, here is my mum Aqsa Fatima’s authentic recipe of kachchi yaqnee lamb Dum Biryani. It was passed down to her by her father, Nawab Mahboob Alam Khan, a connoisseur of Hyderabadi food and history.


I have divided the recipe in four parts.

Recipe and Ingredients                   Serves 6-


Lamb 2KGS
Fresh Ginger-Garlic 3TBSP
Salt A few TSPS (adjust as per your taste)
Chili Powder 1TBSP
Turmeric Powder ½ TSP
  • Mix these ingredients well with cleaned lamb and leave in the fridge covered for marinating overnight or for entire day.
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Lamb marinade




Yoghurt 1KG
Cinnamon 2 sticks
Lemon Juice 3 TBSP
Shah Zeera Powder (Cumin powder) 1TBSP
Cardamom Ground powder of 15 pods
Cloves 4-6
Coriander 2 whole bunches, finely chopped
Mint leaves A bunch
Green chilies 6-8, slit
Onions 1 large, finely chopped
Fried onions A handful (preserve the oil in which these are fried)
Fresh cream 2 TBSP
Oil 1 cup (add the oil from the fried onions)
Ghee or melted butter ½ cup
Raw papaya powder or paste (meat tenderizer) 2 TBSP
  • Mix ½ cup milk with saffron and melted butter or ghee. Divide into two equal portions. Use one half of the mixture in this marinade. Preserve the other half for the rice.
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The ingredients for the second marinade



The cooking of the biryani rice is called Adhan.

For this you need:

Rice 1.5 KGS (You are free to use a ratio of 2:1 of meat: rice, making it only 1 kg of rice )
Cloves 5
Cardamom 5 pods
Shah Zeera whole 1TSP
Lemon Juice 1TBSP

*Add the above ingredients to boiling water. Add handful of salt. Semi-cook the rice. It should open up slightly. Once it is half done, drain the water, remembering to save at least two cups from it.

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Ingredients for the rice or adhan



Now it’s time to assemble part I, II and part III for the final cooking.

  • In a heavy bottom pot or a biryani ‘Deg’ (A traditional copper pot used to cook biryani), spread the meat marinade, evenly
  • Spread the slightly cooked rice on top of the meat
  • Spread the remaining saffron and milk mixture on the rice layer
  • Top the rice layer with a cup or two of water, saved from the adhan
  • Now place the lid on the vessel and seal it with dough and let it cook. You can place a weight on the lid to add more weight and seal the lid better

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    The biryani pot, all sealed and ready to be cooked




  • Total cooking time should be approximately 45-50 minutes. However divide the cooking time in the following way:
  • Cook on full flame till you can see steam coming out of the vessel (About 15-20 mins)
  • Once you see the steam coming out, let it cook on the same flame. Reduce the flame after 10 minutes and leave it for final Dum for about 20-30 minutes
The steam from the biryani, hinting its time to reduce the flame

Before you know it, your house will be filled with the aroma of zafraani Biryani, telling you it’ ready!

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Your delicious biryani is ready!

Scrape the dough out and open the Dum. Gently mix the rice and meat layers. Serve the delectable piping hot biryani with Hyderabadi Bagare Baigan or Mirchi ka Salan (curry made with green chilies and spices), (Separate posts coming up).

The dish is quite simple to make, it only sounds tedious. Even if you think it sounds like a big task to prepare authentic biryani, it’s totally worth all your efforts!

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Do try this authentic recipe at home and let me know what you think.

Can’t wait to hear your Biryani tales 🙂



































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