I Found My Briyani in Paradise

The Kachchi Gosht Briyani (mutton biryani) came in a rustic copper bowl filled to the brim. The waiter placed a dish of raita and one other dish, the mirchi ka salan, a hot and sour chilli condiment. He scooped up the saffron coloured rice, along with the small pieces of mutton from the pot, and gingerly placed it on my plate. The sensational aroma of the briyani hit my nose and my senses. Is this what briyani supposed to smell like? It is the smell of basmati, yoghurt, ginger, garlic, saffron, light smell of screw pine, saffron, fried onions, meat and spices – all combined together in that little pot and wrestling with each other to reach my nose. Read more

Thai Pavilion

The Som Tam or raw papaya salad made with julienned raw papaya, pounded bird’s eye ,chillies, garlic, tomatoes and long beans tossed in a dressing of freshly squeezed lime juice and flavored with grated palm sugar and fish sauce was such a palate tickler! It had all that typical sweet, tangy, sour, spicy taste of Thai cuisine. The papaya was crunchy too, unlike some restaurants that tend to make it very mushy which I don’t like.Read more

Of Kebabs and Kormas

Kebabs are a must if you are in a Hyderabadi restaurant. I tried 3-4 types of kebabs. The Kakori Kebab is three times minced lamb mixed with spices, raw papaya, rose petals and cream. The kebab was so creamy soft that it just melted in the mouth and I bet it would bring the toothless to a big grin. It’s almost like a pate – you can spread it or smear it on bread! Another must try starter is the Shikampuri kebab – a patty of deep-fried minced lamb with a spicy kick. It is soft and tender on the inside with a crispy outer crust.Read more

Of Irani Tea and Osmania Biscuits

Soon after, two cups of steaming Irani chai full to the brim, almost spilling over, arrived with a side plate of Osmania cookies. I took a sip of the tea and, lo behold, it was extremely sweet, thick and milky. The Osmania biscuits were more like shortbread with a sweet, salty taste. They melted in the mouth the moment I popped them in. The biscuits were crumby as they left a lingering taste of fat on the tongue.Read more

Charminar and Laad Bazaar

The surrounding areas of Laad Bazaar and Mecca Masjid were crowded with hundreds of locals and tourists. The whole place was bustling with activities – noises from the market, sounds of incessant traffic and blaring of the horns of vehicles, with occasional speeding cars. The streets were dirty with paan spits. Nonetheless, the people were walking elbow to elbow, with the whole place in a festive mood. Read more

Pigging out at Taj Deccan

From Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, the Taj Deccan, the part sponsor of my stay in Hyderabad, was about 40 km away. From the airport, there were taxis and shuttle buses waiting to ferry passengers to various destinations in the city. Rental car booths were located at convenient locations some distance away from the arrival hall.  A car was waiting for me just after I left the arrival hall. I was picked up by the hotel’s car, driven by an amiableRead more

Meat Cuts to Heads and Hoofs

The meat stalls can be a bit of an eye opener – as usual there’s no refrigeration and you could see anything from standard meat cuts to heads and hoofs. There was blood splattered on the walls and floor. Live cows and goats were walking around the carcass of the slaughtered animals. I guess they don’t know that it is their turn next! Read more

Demand for Flowers

This morning I visited the colourful Flower market in Mehdipatnam in Hyderabad. It was such a busy place and I did not know that flowers are in big demand in India until I went there. There were garlands of many sizes, bouquets and loose flowers in bags. Apparently, the flower market is very busy before noon. This is so because most of the flowers are highly perishable and must be sold fast before they wilt. Read more

A Market in Hyderabad

It is mounds of green vegetables, lemons, fruits, curry leaves, green mangoes and more at the Monda market. There was the all-time favourite Gongura leaves (red sorrel leaves) and mountains of ginger and rice. Of course, this are not the only stuff you see in the market right? The vendors made my day. The price of the vegetables was unbelievably low! The Indian grapes were tempting. There were ice blocks covered in saw dust for sale and there was a vendor grinding coconut and spices for sale.Read more