Foreigners desperately scour the streets of the old city in search of this gastronomical delight.

Tourists from other parts of the country swear by its richness.

A first-time visitor to Hyderabad has to taste it and if possible take a ‘parcel' back home.

As for the Hyderabadis, we simply can't do without it.

So what makes the Hyderabadi biryani so unique? Why commentators identify it with the way of life in Hyderabad? Why does everybody call Hyderabadi biryani the best South Indian dish ever and some even claim that it is better than the Lucknowi biryani?

Food connoisseur, gourmand and expert in Hyderabad cuisine, Nawab Mehboob Alam Khan, says that nowhere in the country biryani is prepared the way it is done in Hyderabad.

Variations

“There are several variants of biryanis everywhere. The style of cooking, however, remains the same everywhere. But, only in Hyderabad, biryani is cooked in a unique style,” he says.

The former Chairman of A.P. Minorities Commission says that the unique cooking style of Hyderabadi biryani has made it renowned worldwide.

“Unlike elsewhere, we in Hyderabad do not cook meat and rice separately. We cook raw rice and raw meat together with exotic spices and that's our speciality,” he explains.

Meticulous planning

The authentic Hyderabadi biryani is meticulously prepared in the ‘Kutchi' (raw) biryani style, in which raw rice and raw meat are cooked together in a ‘handi' (earthen pot) with spices and a little bit of water.

“It takes meticulous planning and a lot of time to prepare Hyderabadi biryani. The richness of Hyderabadi biryani is due to its unique cooking style,” Mr. Mehboob Alam Khan says.

It's just not the rich taste for which the Hyderabadi biryani is famous for.

The delicacy is also often compared to the way of life in Hyderabad.

Mixed with other styles

“Just like the Hyderabadi society, which is a confluence of different cultures, Hyderabadi biryani has become famous because of its ability to imbibe many food ingredients. In fact, the practice of using dry fruits is an Iranian trait,” says Convenor of INTACH, Hyderabad, Anuradha Reddy.

Persian style

The history of biryani is quite impressive.

Historians believe that the unique cooking style of Hyderabadi biryani can be traced back to Persia.

‘Dum'

It is believed that this style of cooking, known as ‘dum' came from Persia during the regime of Mughals in the country.

The Nizams were great patrons of rich food. That was the reason during their regime, the biryani and its many variations spread to all over the Deccan region and Andhra Pradesh.