One of the best things I like about India is the diversity of the food that is served on your plate with the change in geography. Nowadays though, no matter where you are in the country you do have the option to have any type of cuisine available with the tag of “Indian Food”, no matter in which city you are in. But, during my tenure in Hyderabad, I came across something beautiful, delicious and unique which I had never come across which made this feel even more special. It is called Mandi, an Arabic word derived from the word nada meaning dew, reflecting upon the moist dew like texture of the meat.
Mandi is a type of biriyani served in a big plate of rice, topped with big chunks of perfectly cooked meats that are juicy and tender at the same time. The rice itself is very much flavorful with the garnishing of fried onions and dry fruits only adding to the taste. Usually it is served with three different salans (or curries) to enhance the dish and it does not disappoint. One plate is enough to fill three hungry souls, and the custom is to eat of the same plate. It is an amazing experience and something which I feel increases the bond between the individuals.
I did a little research and found that that it is quite common in the Malabar region of Kerala and of course, the Barkas region of Hyderabad. Though Mandi outlets have slowly started popping up in the newer part of Hyderabad. Yum Yum Treeand Al Zaara Matbaq al Mandi are couple of my favorite places in Greater Hyderabad when it comes to having Mandi. Ofcourse, there is Barkas in the old city where you will get countless places to have this beautiful dish.
I am sure with its gaining popularity in Hyderabad, soon new Mandi joints will start opening up in the rest of the country. So until that happens, next time you decide to visit the City of the Nizams and you have never had a Mandi, I suggest you gather all your friends and head out to a Mandi joint and left satisfied with a delicious dinner.