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Biryani bistro

Barely four months old, Dindigul' Sri Velu Biriyani Hotel has already become a hotspot for biryani buffs

PHOTOS: T. SARAVANAN

LIP SMACKINGBiryani that beckons all

Biryani holds a special place in the town flooded with smorgasbord flavours of south Indian cuisine. For, it can make all the difference to the non-vegetarian food, which has a dedicated fan following in the city.

Though there are different types of biryani patronised by the foodies, ‘Dindigul' biryani occupies a special place with its taste and rich flavour. Its popularity is such that there is a section of people who regularly visit Dindigul just to have a taste of this biryani. No doubt, then that many are celebrating the opening of ‘Dindigul' Sri Velu Biriyani Hotel in the city.

Located on the busy Tamil Sangam Road clogged with non-vegetarian restaurants, this place has emerged as a potential hot spot for the biryani buffs in a short time.

Hailing from Dindigul and himself being an ardent lover of biryani, V. Rajkumar, proprietor, discovered his raison d'etre after leaving the popular Venu Biryani Hotel in Dindigul, where he worked as cashier. “I gained much experience at this place and decided to start this restaurant in my wife's home town,” he chuckles.

Cooking method

But what makes their biryani different from those offered by other joints? “It's all in the cooking. We don't use coconut or tomato but add little curd and lemon juice to get the tangy taste. The meat selection also makes all the difference. We use only ‘Mecheri' sheep variety choosing only six to 10 months-old sheep to maintain the tender quality of the meat,” explains Mr. Rajkumar.

They also maintain the basic minimum cooking standard for biryani, which in Parsi means ‘fry before cooking'. Basically, they follow these steps. The meat is seared in ghee and cooked in water with permissible spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and garlic till the meat becomes tender. Besides they also add butter to make it rich. The rice is also fried in ghee and then cooked in meat broth, which lends a homogenously strong meat flavour to the cooked biryani, which is finally dum cooked.

The trick is in how well you balance all the variables so that everything is cooked together and comes out to make a perfect ‘Dindigul' biryani. If this is not enough the onion raita and the ‘dhalcha' they offer together with the biryani make a perfect accompaniment. “We drain out all the watery content from the curd, as the water content in onion also dilutes the curd. We add sweeteners to make it tasty. The ‘dhalcha' is also thick here,” says his wife Ms. Geetha.

The hotel does not offer full meals for the lunch but does provide steamed rice with rasam for those who wish to round off the biryani platter with pungent rasam rice. Array of side dishes ranging from ‘mutton chukka' to ‘thala kari', from ‘mutton chops' to liver roast, compensate for the lack of variety in biryani. Only three types are available here – mutton, chicken and egg – with price ranging from Rs.40 to Rs.180. Exotic side dishes like crab gravy, quail fry, prawn (both dry and gravy preparation), besides some fish varieties can also make you go berserk here.

In the evenings, steamy rice noodles, ‘paya', ‘kari dosai', hot idlies and many more tasty items beckon all.

Lack of parking space is a major hitch. “Yes, it is a shortcoming but it is the price we have to pay for our strategic location,” Mr.Rajkumar points out, adding that he plans to start an outlet at the Madurai Railway Junction.

The restaurant, which also takes outdoor catering, is open between 11 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. For details contact 9150341301/9150341303.

T.SARAVANAN

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