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Cuisine of Malabar Muslims for foodies

The mutton is cooked tender, the rice flaky and delicately spiced with the right portions of condiments, to leave the taste lingering for long. That is the special brand of Malabari Moppila biriyani.

Biriyani - whether mutton, chicken, fish or prawn - is the USP of moppila cuisine, says Umi Abdulla, who has earned for the peculiar Malabar Muslim cuisine, name and fame through her books and articles, festivals and demonstrations.

The Taj Residency is organising a ten-day Moppila Food Festival here from August 19 to 28 in association with Ms. Abdulla. The buffet dinner served at the Beypore Hall comes at Rs.225 per head.

``A surfeit of choice ingredients is the peculiarity of our cookery. We use coconut - in milk form or ground fine, onions, ghee, fine-grained aromatic rice, `nendrapazham' ... in good measure,'' says the expert of this culinary art.

``There is a different menu everyday. One particular type of biriyani is the main item, and `kozhinirachathu is another. The meal can be started with a taste of the traditional `barani'soup or `jeeraka kanji'(rice cooked soft and seasoned with ground coconut, cuminseed).

The side-dishes spread out include `alisa'( husked wheat cooked with chicken) `muttamala' or `egg garlands'(yolk of egg cooked in thin strings in sugar syrup, with the white cooked as a pudding ornamenting the centre).

``I propose to make the rare delicacy `pancharapatta.' It is an elaborate process. Layers of eggs are cooked on a slow fire in hot oil. It is to be eaten with sugar and plantain. `Palvazhakka', `unnakaya' and chakkarachoru' are some of the desserts being served.

Maleeha Raghaviah

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