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  • The society of the Hyderabad state was diverse in nature. It included people of multiple ethnic, racial and social backgrounds.
  • The Hyderabadi Tehzeeb was characterised by peaceful co-existence of these different social classes.
  • The foundations of this Hyderabadi Tehzeeb were laid before the Asaf Jah rule when Hyderabad was still a Mughal province.
  • Some of the prominent demographic groups included the Persians, Telugus, Kayasthas and Siddis.
  • Persians were a part of the Hyderabadi society since the time of the Qutub Shahi rule in the Deccan. A tremendous amount of Persian influence can be seen on the art, architecture, literature and culture of Hyderabad.
  • The Kayastha came to Hyderabad along with the Mughal administrators during the early days of the establishment of the Hyderabad State. They were the intellectual pillars of the court.
  • Turkish and Persian scholars, artists, craftsmen and traders also came to the Deccan. The intermingling of people from different regions led to the emergence of ‘Dakhni Boli,’ a dialect of the Urdu language.
  • In the 19th century, the African Cavalry Guards was formed within the Nizam’s army. These soldiers traced their ethnicity to West Africa. These men married into Indian families and were assimilated into the local society. They were called ‘Siddi’ or ‘Habshi’.
  • The Hyderabad state also comprised of many tribes including the Gondas, Banjaras, Koyas, Konda, Reddys, Erukalas and Chenchus.

Hyderabadi Cuisine

  • Hyderabadi cuisine is an amalgamation of Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Afghani influence along with indigenous Telugu and Marathwada cuisines.
  • It began to develop from the time of Bahamani Sultanate and subsequently developed further under the Qutb Shahis and the Nizams of Hyderabad.
  • Some of the most famous Hyderabadi delicacies are:
1. Haleem: It is a stew cooked with wheat, lentils and small pieces of meat. It is cooked slowly until a paste-like consistency is formed.
2. Hyderabadi Biryani: It has two versions. In Kachchi Biryani, raw meat is cooked with a layer of rice whereas, in Pakki Biryani, the meat is cooked before and then mixed with rice.
3. Mirchi Ka Salan: It is a curry made up of sesame seeds, coconut and peanut paste with chillies in it. It is usually served with Biryani.
4. Shikampuri Kebab: This Kebab is stuffed with green chillies, onions and hung yoghurt.
5. Patthar Ke Kabab: It originated in Hyderabad. Lamb muscle meat is marinated with spices and cooked over a stone of black granite. It is heated by a bead of hot charcoal underneath.
6. Gosht Pasinde: This dish is made up of meat, beans, potatoes and a lot of spices. It has a thick creamy texture.
7. Mutton Dalcha: Mutton is cooked with channa dal and a generous amount of tamarind and is served with rice. A vegetarian alternative of the same is made with pumpkin or bottle guard instead of the mutton and is called kaddu ka dalcha.
8. Baghara Baingan: It is a delicacy in which eggplant is stuffed with grounded peanut-coconut mixture and cooked in a creamy paste.
9. Khubani Ka Meetha: This famous Hyderabadi dessert is cooked with lemon juice, almond and sugar.
10. Sheer Khurma: It is a dessert of Persian origin. It is prepared by mixing vermicelli, dry fruits and sugar with milk and boiling it till it gets a thick consistency.
11. Shahi Tukda: As the name suggests, ‘shahi’ Tukda is a dessert of royal origin. It is made by cooking milk till it becomes thick and then adding small pieces of fried bread. It is seasoned with dry fruits.