Hyderabad’s obsession with Biryani is well known, but that not the only rice and meat medley in the city that is worth raving about. Here is our bucket list of some of the other rice and meat dishes that you must try.
Until just a few years back, if you wanted to have a good plate of Mandi, you would have been forced to travel all the way to Barkas or hunt down some obscure eatery in Mehdipatnam. Thankfully, this dish is now easily spotted across the city. Traditionally cooked in underground earthen ovens, most restaurants now cook the meat in tandoors. The rice is smoky and fatty owing to the use of meat stock and is paired with a slightly acidic tomato dip called Zhug.
Where to Eat: Mandi @ 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Yum Yum Tree, Madhapur, Hyderabad
The use of saffron and aromatics such as cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom make the Khabsa Rice more luxuriant than other similar dishes. It is most commonly had with mutton (Laham) that is braised or pressure cooked to a fall-off-the bones softness. The sight of hefty pieces of juicy meat resting on the fragrant rice is guaranteed to have you drooling.
Where to Eat: Spice 6, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Spice 6 - The Arab Villaggio, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
While the rice in Madfoon is the same as in Mandi, the cooking process for the meat changes. The meat is wrapped in an aluminium foil and then cooked slowly in charcoal pits. Due to the time-consuming cooking process, this dish is no as easily available at Mandi, but it is totally worth the effort of hunting it down.
Where to Eat: Mandi@36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad (only on weekends)
Zarb is a dish that traces its roots back to the nomadic Bedouin community. The nomadic lifestyle necessitated travelling light. In the absence of hefty, traditional ovens, they travellers would usually dig up sand, light a fire and bury the sealed mix of marinated meat, and rice which would get cooked slowly by the trapped heat. Typically, vegetables and herbs are also included.
Where to Eat: Levant Restaurant, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
In the span of three decades, this Indianized adaptation of Iranian Zereshk Polow by the legendary Britannia & Co. in Mumbai has gone on to be the dish most people think of when they hear Parsi cuisine. Robust mutton gravy buried under the rice is served with small kebabs and a generous topping of barberries, nuts and fried onions. It is sweet and sharp tartness of Barberries (Zereshk) that makes this dish addictively good.
Where to Eat: SodaBottleOpenerWala, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Chelo means rice and Chelo Kebab is quite simply a dish comprising of rice and kebabs. In India, this Iranian dish is most closely associated with the legendary Peter Cat in Kolkata. It is a one-plate meal comprising of buttered rice, sunny side up, veggies, a chicken kebab, and a seekh kebab. You are unlikely to find the Iranian Kebabs in Hyderabad, but a couple of spots offer an Indianized take on this classic.
Where to Eat: Brickyard 480º, Lingampally, Hyderabad
Pallab De is a techie who arrived in Hyderabad towards the beginning of the decade and fell in love with the city’s vibrant and rich culinary legacy. He has been blogging for over a decade and a half, and, shares his food-related musings under the moniker of ‘Hyderabad Food Guy’.