Hyderabadis are not only popularising their trademark Hyderabad dum biryani in every nook and corner of the world, but are also consuming it with equal enthusiasm at home. Statistics reveal that the city of Nizams is one of the highest consumers of Hyderabad dum biryani, with an all-time high of 7 lakh plates being consumed everyday. The figure was 4.2 lakh plates two years ago. With basmati rice, the heart of the Hyderabadi biryani, registering a 35% jump in price during the last six months, hoteliers had jacked up the rates of the Nawabi delicacy by up to Rs 25 per plate recently. But the craze for the dish continues and sales are constantly on an upswing. Old-timers attribute it to the dish still being the cheapest and tastiest one-meal dish which does not need an accompaniment and is available across the city. No other dish has taken its place as yet, they said. “Fast food outlets selling pizzas, burgers and chicken dishes have failed to overtake Hyderabad dum biryani. They face a stiff competition from this easily digestible dish that can be eaten daily, unlike fast food items,” says M A Majeed of Pista House. For some it’s a staple dish and can never tire them, the hotelier added.
According to Sheikh Gani Basha, manager, Kohinoor, a basmati rice supplier, around 3,500 tonnes of basmati rice is supplied by all major suppliers to the 400-500 biryani joints in the twin cities every month. However, hoteliers said that compared to the organised sector, sales in the disorganised sector are more as there are hundreds of small and big caterers tending to orders at marriages and other functions. Besides, there are several households that supply the world-famous dish. Mohammed Moinuddin of Moghal Caterers, who bagged an order to make Hyderabadi biryani in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said that after Charminar, Hyderabad is synonymous with its Dum ki Biryani. It is not available anywhere else except parts of Middle East because cooks from Hyderabad have gone there. “The technique used for dum and the masala (spices) used to make the dish are unique to the city,” he said. While Moinuddin gets regular calls from Bangalore and Chennai to make the dish at weddings, he said he cannot afford to go as he may end up losing significant time due to travelling.
“The traditional method of cooking the Hyderabad dum biryani dish on firewood ensures that the mutton is juicy and tender,” said Mohammed Hussain, partner, Garden Restaurant, Secunderabad. He maintained that with the city population increasing and more people preferring to eat out during the weekends or depending on takeaways, the demand for the delectable dish has only increased.