Did We Like Hyderabad’s Karahi Chicken?


We had to go up to Boston for a couple of days, so our friend Roberto B. offered to write another review for us. His choice was Chicken Karahi from the Hyderabad cart. Take it away Roberto:

On my third visit to Hyderabad Goat Kacchi Biryani, I managed to resist ordering the eponymous goat, and tried the Karahi Chicken which is pictured so compellingly on the cart front.

Although, the dish I got did not look as gorgeous as the photograph of a steaming balti pot of chicken chunks and one perfectly shaped green pepper floating in a deep red sauce, it definitely met my flavor expectations.

Right away, I could taste that the spices were nicely charred before they were blended with the tomato base, one of the marks of competence in the region’s cuisine. I just wish the ginger had been more pronounced, as implied by its star billing in the menu description.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

The meat was moist and falling-apart tender, a mix of breast and leg meat that delivered the whole chicken experience but with nary a bone.

I should have specifically asked for the garlic pickle, which comes with some of their other dishes.  It’s not homemade or anything – they spoon it out of the plastic tub right in front of you, but no other desi cart I’ve visited has included this perception alerting substance disguised as a condiment. (NYSF Note: We had it at the Famous Dal Wagon.)

Garlic pickle is an intensely concentrated salt, sour, salty, fermenty, garlic bomb, for those who can handle it. It jolts the palate open, but unlike capsicum heat,  leaves you intact for savoring the rest of the plate.  I bet I would have tasted the ginger if I’d started with the garlic pickle.

rice & garlic pickle
Garlic Pickle from the Famous Dal Wagon (credit: NYSF)

For the sake of being thorough – there existed some of that shredded iceberg lettuce and carrot mix so many of the carts pawn off as salad. Eating it is optional and neither adds nor detracts from your dining experience.  Maybe it is good for some people’s conscience or something.

The rice in this cart’s dishes was as wonderfully saffrony as ever but I swear I got a different, whiter rice, than comes with the goat.  In any case, it was an adequately nutty basmati that companioned well with the chicken.

The last time I got the Goat Kaachi Biryani the rice had the unmistakable nose of rose-honey which I wasn’t sure whether it was intentional or had osmosed its way over from the dessert of the day – gulab jamun – but I liked a lot.

There’s a lot to be said for consistency in a food vendor but I like that Hyderabad keeps the passion alive by mixing it up, while maintaining their standards of quality.

You never know what dessert they might have conjured up on a particular day or if they’ll be serving Goat on a Wednesday despite the sign that says “goat on Tuesdays and Friday’s”…or pouring mango lassi.

Thanks Roberto. We appreciate your observations and enthusiasm.

goat biryani
Hyderabad’s Goat Kacchi Biryani (credit: NYSF)