Onion Salan or the Restaurant Biryani gravy onion salan is commonly known as Hyderabadi Biryani Sauce/Salan. This is a very popular gravy based preparation accompanied with the scrumptious and wholesome Hyderabadi Chicken biryani or Mutton biryani.
The onion salan is mildly spiced gravy made with an amalgamation of roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and dry coconut, made into a smooth paste and cooked with spices; lightly sautéed onions added in with little tamarind juice to give that extra punch.
Coming to Hyderabadi cuisine, a luscious and appetizing Chicken Biryani served with salan is a must in most restaurants in and around Hyderabad. This is the signature dish of the Hyderabadi food. This combination of food is a traditional Hyderabadi dish prepared in wedding and special occasions especially most Muslim homes.
Salan is a popular Hyderabadi dish typically served with Biryani or Tandoori roti, Salan is a Hyderabadi lingo for any variety of curry or gravy based dishes that are served along with rice, roti or Biryani.The origin of the salan is from Hyderabad but later broadly spread over various cities with large Muslim populations.
Salan is a mildly to spicy, rich flavourful gravy based dish made with a blend of tomato and onions cooked in medley of aromatic spices along with nutty based paste made from peanuts, sesame seeds and dry coconut and tamarind juice.
This spicy and tangy gravy is a perfect combination that goes well with Biryani. You can also serve it with layered parottas or other popular Indian flatbreads. The salans are influenced from the Nawabi cuisine, rich in flavours and aroma and enticing taste.
The masalas added to the salan are generally braised/ bhuna until oil floats on top, which is the critical procedure to bring out flavours from various spices added into the gravy and only in the final stage, water is added to give it a gravy consistency.
Normally salans are of not very thick consistency. It is quite easy to distinguish salan from other forms of curry, evidently the use of vegetables – either vegetables or vegetables with meat. In fact salan in the classical sense, one should know on using and combining the right combination of meat and vegetables.
The combination of vegetables and meat is quite magical. Salan are generally not very spicy and the gravies have a smooth velvety texture and base usually made from a combination of onions, tomatoes, coriander and yogurt. Salan is the best comfort food.
There are a huge range of delicacies in the form of curries/ gravies which the Moguls/ Nizams introduced into this cuisine. Some of the popular gravies are the Qurmas/ Kormas which are normally yogurt based. Shorbas which are not soups but thin curries with dumplings added into and an extravagant use of tamarind and also the Khalias distinguished by thick gravy which is sour and yellow by excessive use of turmeric.
Onion Salan has a distinct and characteristic flavour. The curry has a rich and complex flavour using curry leaves in gravy which can heighten the flavour and the nutty taste emanating from the mix of peanuts and sesame seeds with a light sweetness from the coconut and tanginess from tamarind juice. This makes a perfect combination and blend of flavours to high lighten the dish.
Onions are endlessly versatile and a very essential ingredient used in innumerable recipes made all over the globe. Native to Asia, these amazing bulbs are prized for its depth and flavour they add in most savoury dishes. They have a pungent flavour which becomes wonderfully sweet upon lengthy cooking.
Caramelized onions are a brilliant addition to make savoury Indian gravies.It is an excellent process of slowly cooking them in oil until they get richly browned. Onions are naturally sweet and this prolonged cooking caramelises the sugar, resulting in an intensely flavourful paste.
Salan Recipes Hyderabadi cuisine has a variety of spicy, mildly spiced, rich, smooth, velvety and extraordinary Salan gravies made with vegetables or meat or a combination of both. Some of the classic and authentic salan from this marvellous cuisine are:
Mirchi ka salan – is a spicy, enticing chilly curry.
Baghara Baingan – Stuffed eggplants, a delicacy where tender or baby eggplants are stuffed with ground peanut-coconut mixture; cooked in rich and creamy paste.
Lauki kai ka salan – Bottle gourd in yogurt curry.
Aloo Dahi ka salan – Sour potato curry
Arvi ka salan – Colocasia stew
Tomato ka salan – Whole tomatoes cooked in spicy gravy And many that you can find in my website.
How to make Restaurant Biryani Gravy Onion Salan:
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Curry leaves - 2 springs
Desiccated coconut - 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
Oil - 3 tbsp
Onion - 2 nos
Onions, chopped - 1 no
Peanuts - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Directions: Heat a pan and dry roast peanuts, sesame seeds, desiccated coconut. In the pan, add chopped onions and cook till onions are transparent and put all ingredients in the blender and make a fine paste. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, salt and sauté well till translucent and remove and keep aside.
In the same oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves, chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and add the peanut-sesame seeds paste and mix well. Add water once and bring it to a boil.
Turn the flame to slow and cook for 15 minutes. Then add tamarind juice, salt, jaggery and mix. Put the lid on and cook for some time. In this add the sautéed onions and cook for 12 minutes and switch off the flame. Salan is a versatile dish that goes good with roti, naan, biryani or rice.
Do try this recipe and enjoy cooking. Click over the link below to watch the making of OnionSalan: