Types of Hyderabadi Biryani

Pakke Gosht ki Biryani, Dahi ki Chatni and Baigan aur tamatar ka Salan

Hyderabadi Biryani comes in different flavors and different styles of cooking it.

The Akhni is the secret sauce of the Biryani which consists of Meat with Masalas, Spices, Curd, Ginger and Garlic Paste, Red Mirchi Powder and lots of other ingredients that are marinated for few hours before being cooked.

In Earlier times the aristocratic Hyderabadi families used to safeguard the Biryani making process by having trusted cooks and the girls in the family were not allowed into the kitchen during biryani making process to protect the secret sauce from going outside the family once the girls get married.

In Hyderabad there are 2 ways a biryani is made, Pakhi(precooked)Akhni and Kachi(raw)Akhni.

The Akhni is layered in slightly precooked basmati rice. When akhni is raw its called Kache gosht ki Biryani and if its precooked it is Pakke gosht ki Biryani.

The Biryani with the layered akhni and rice are cooked on slow heat for a long period of time on low heat for the Dum(pressure) which cooks and softens akhni and rice

Pakhi Akhni is easy to make and does not require the precision as the akhni is separately cooked and then layered with precooked rice.

The Kachi Akhni Biryani is more delicious than the Paki Akhi Biryani and requires Mastery and a good amount of experience to know the proportion of heat, time and dum(pressure) given to a biryani.

A Master cook can just know by the aroma the different stages the biryani is in and when it is ready to serve. The Biryani is usually served with dahi ki chatni and baigan ka salan or Mirchi ka salan.

Ittar essential oil

Ittar is specially used during Eid and in ceremonies or in etiquette of welcoming the guests by apply it on their wrists or top of the hand. For Muslims its a recommended practice to apply ittar or flower essence before every prayer and especially during Eid Prayers. 

Attar also called Ittar is a essential oil derived from natural sources like flowers, spices, barks and roots. Most commonly these oils are extracted via distillation. The essence oils are then diluted in base oils of olive, sandalwood or almond and stored and aged from few months to ten years depending on the desired maturity of the essence. 

Natural attars are derived and matured through a delicate process of distillation and maturing and hence are costly. There are many synthetic attars made of chemicals available for cheap however they do not offer the healing properties the natural attars offer. 

It is said that Prophet Solomon(A.S) had the ability to converse with animals and plants and he spoke to flowers and documented their healing properties.  Prophet Mohammed(SAWS) loved essences and its his recommended practice (Sunnah) for Muslims to apply attars before prayers. 

These attar essences are used to attain different emotional temperament as they contain mercy and compassion of Allah(SWT) bestowed to all creation.   The essence carries a symbolic meaning to reveal each individuals true inner essence for purification of the heart.  Saints and spiritual aspirants adorn themselves with these essence to assist them in their journey towards enlightenment in many traditions. 

The Islamic prophetic medicine and the Sufi traditions use specific essences for specific healing purposes. In the esoteric tasawuff path such as the sufi/irfan traditions the essence of the attars reminds one of their own inner purity and the struggle required towards purification of the soul, to remove imbalances and to attain ones true nature/essence. 

Some of the attars with spiritual and healing significance that are commonly used in Muslims households are amber, frankincense(loban), sandal, musk, jasmine, hina, oud, jannat-ul-firduas. Rose is Considered the mother of all attars.

Hyderabad has a good tradition of attar shops since its 400 years history and there are currently over 100 such shops in the city selling variety of attars and perfumes. I have a good collection of attars and essential oils and have been using them since childhood. I even used to put up a stall to sell attars at Charminar during my school/college days to earn pocket money. 

#ittar #attar #perfumes #eidmubarak #essence #essentialoil

A tale of Sheer Korma

Sheer khorma is a famous mouth watering sweet prepared on Eid ul-Fitr and is a traditional Muslim festive sweet for Eid celebrations across the Indian Sub Continent.

Sheer Khorma is a Persian name for the Sheer(Milk) and Khurma(Dates) شير خرما‎

Its main ingredients are butter or ghee fried sewiya/vermicelli, boiled and thickened milk, dates, ghee and sugar. Soaked, cut and ghee fried Dry fruits like dates, pistachios, almonds, Buchanania lanzan(chironji), cashew and raisins are added and sprinkled as toppings.

Saffron, Cardamon, Clove and Rose water are added to enhance the flavor. The making process starts the previous night and its a slow and delicate process to prepare it to match the taste each year.

This special sweet is prepared in celebration of 1 month of fasting and is relished on the Eid Day after eid prayer and morning breakfast. It is usually served throughout the day to all the visiting guests. It is very popular sweet dish prepared and relished throughout the Indian Subcontinent. I did not find this dish prepared anywhere in UAE, Iraq and Iran during my travels.

The Sheer Korma has a history and fusion of food cultures from across Asia and started its journey from the Arabian desert as Arabs used to eat dates with milk during fastings. The vermicelli came with Marco Polo's arrival in India who brought noodles from China. The dessert was adapted by the Mughal royal chefs or khansamas.

The Sheer Khurma is a tale and testimony of the unification of cross cultural food habits and adds the sweetness and love to humanity beyond any geographical, religious or political divisions.

Eid Mubarak 💞

#SheerKorma #MeethiEid #EidMubarak

Beliefs and Core Beliefs

Beliefs define our life. Belief is the conviction of something that one holds true. Belief is the root cause of all purpose and action that one takes.  Beliefs can be empowering or dis-empowering. It is crucial to adopt only beliefs that serve us and to let go of those beliefs that limit us.

Core beliefs operate in our unconscious. They can be empowering or dis-empowering, they work autonomously. We don't know they are there. Our good or unwanted behavior is driven by core beliefs. We can only see our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that these core beliefs produce. Awareness and Observation of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors  will lead to ones core beliefs.

One way to get to limiting core beliefs and replace them is through Shadow Work۔ Shadow work consists of uncovering core beliefs that do not serve us. There are many processes and rituals to help to  know the limiting core belief that can surface through observation of triggers, feelings, body sensations. Other ways are through imagery, journaling, hypnosis, Psychotherapy CBT, REBT etc. 

According to Albert Ellis and REBT, the beliefs that upset us are all variations of three common irrational beliefs that contain a demand, either about ourselves, other people, or the world in general. 

These beliefs are known as “The Three Basic Musts.” and are as follows:

1) I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.

2) Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.

3) I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.

One can overcome these 3 musts by having unconditional acceptance. 

(1)        unconditional self-acceptance;
(2)        unconditional other-acceptance; and
(3)        unconditional life-acceptance. 

Getting in touch with the core beliefs with acceptance, self compassion, kindness and love starts the healing and change journey towards replacing limiting beliefs that no longer serve us. This is done with just observing ones feelings, emotions and sensations with no judgement, accept them with kindness and replace them with self awareness and mindfulness practice of better beliefs.

A good way is to get in touch with a coach, counselor or psychologist who does shadow work or work related with uncovering limiting core beliefs through psychotherapy 

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