A balancing act


Biryani lover that I’m, I discover it arduous to resolve which type is finest.

Madras type, made with basmati rice and excessive on spices, has at all times been my desire. I like Ambur-style biryani the place purple chilli paste replaces the entire inexperienced chilli, in addition to subtly-spiced seeraga samba biryani. Therefore, once I go to a newly-launched eatery specialising in Malabar or Thalassery biryani, as it’s popularly recognized, I’m admittedly sceptical.

To start with, I couldn’t settle for this plain-looking, white color dish being referred to as biryani (this prejudice was to be dispelled quickly). For me, biryani must be excessive on drama, and include all of the paraphernalia. So when Chef Razak AC took me into the kitchen of Ajwa Thalassery Dum Biryani, I used to be questioning the place all of the cooking takes place, because the kitchen was spic and span. There had been large dabaras of varied sizes, and I used to be puzzled the place that appetising aroma was emanating from, as there was no hint of any cooking.

“We start the preparation as early as 7 am. Preparing Thalassery biryani is a meticulous and time-consuming course of that requires ample planning and preparation,” says Razak, who together with three of his buddies opened Chennai’s maiden department of Ajwa Thalassery Dum Biryani.

Three cooks from Razak’s household take turns to come back to Chennai to organize the speciality dish on a regular basis. The kaima rice selection is sourced from Bengal, and solely ghee is used. The meat gravy, cooked on medium warmth with sautéed onions, tomato and few spices, requires no oil.

A balancing act

“The aroma and flavour will be attributed to the kaima rice, and the three phases of gradual cooking that are probably the most important facet of this type of biryani,” says Razak. The most vital facet of Thalassery biryani, nevertheless, is the dum: the mutton or rooster gravy and the cooked rice are sealed and saved apart for shut to a few hours.

A balancing act

We order mutton and the fish biryani. The chef recommends spring rooster, which is made with recent rooster weighing anyplace between 450 to 600 grams. Our biryani arrives unassumingly, topped with fried onions and served with small parts of candy dates pickle and onion raita. Just because the dish is cooked in layers, so it’s served. “We cut it like a cake and plate it. You have to go right down and scoop out the rice and meat and place it on your plate,” says Naushad Mohamad, one of many companions. I relished the fragrant preparation, which tasted scrumptious. The hours (4, says the chef) spent painstakingly making ready this biryani had been value each morsel.

A balancing act

The date pickle, usually served with biryani within the Malabar area, is made from dates syrup with grated beetroot, carrots and inexperienced chilli. It takes some time to get the palate used to the numerous tastes of the rice, meat and pickle, and as soon as it synchronises, you start to relish its impact on the style buds. The flavourful, ghee-infused preparation with a touch of masala right here and there, and a splash of candy tangy date pickle offers a satisfying meal expertise. For vegetarians, there’s vegetable biryani and plain fragrant ghee rice or the Kerala nei choru, together with 4 vegetarian aspect dishes resembling dal fry, cauliflower fry, and paneer butter masala. Completing the meal with a sizzling Sulaimani is a good suggestion.

Thalassery biryani is all about the correct amount of spices, excellent cooking of the rice and eventually balancing each with excellent dum. We are knowledgeable that for dinner in addition they serve Malabar particular objects resembling nei pathri, puttu and Kerala parotta. But the restaurant, with a seating capability of 60, has nothing to write down residence about by way of atmosphere.

A balancing act

So has the expertise made me shift loyalties? What can I say? Thalassery biryani is an expertise, however Chennai biryani is an emotion.

Ajwa Thalassery Dum Biriyani

  • 205, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Arumbakkam
  • Hits: Mutton and fish biryani, prawns mulakittathu
  • Misses: Spring rooster, barbecue
  • Meal for 2: ₹800
  • 48538383

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