Divine cuisine from God's Own Land

Kerala Special
Last Updated 13 March 2013, 13:40 IST

If you are in search of good South Indian non-vegetarian food, Mohan Singh Market in INA is the place to visit. There are no hi-end restaurants here but small eateries which are quite popular. One among them is Kerala Hotel. One can easily get an idea of its popularity by looking at the crowd that eagerly but patiently stands in queues to enjoy the delicacies which have true flavours of God’s Own Land’s cuisine!

As one enters, two tables seemed to be laid out. No wonder the queues thinks! But wait, as one looks around, there is a small entrance from the left side leading into a largish room, with another dozen or so tables. Phew! God saves the day and the empty tummy. The conversation seems to be minimal as a lot of God’s Own food lovers (er.. Keralites) pore over some really good-looking, delicious food.

Interestingly, there is no menu. The list of the dishes available is pasted on a wall. One decides to start with snacks and work the way down to the main course. So dalwada, banana fry, sweet moong dal pakora and gulgule take precedence. Ripe bananas wrapped and fried in besan (chick pea flour) give a deliciously sweet taste to the banana fry whereas ground moongdal mixed with gur (jaggery) is also a must try - if you have a sweet tooth.

Dalwada is savoury and tastes good but is a bit hard.

It is time to order some lip-smacking non-vegetarian food item. Since biryani and curry seem to be the dish-for-the-day on almost every table, how can anything else be brought to ours? So chicken biryani and curry it is. The delivery is fast. But the chicken in the biryani is nowhere to be seen! Did they miss out, in the rush to serve it? Apparently not, for a big chunk of meat lies hidden under the red rice. God is kind. 

Actually, another thing that makes this biryani more special is its preparation. Essentially, the meat with its curry is prepared entirely separately from the rice, unlike the way biryani is cooked normally - overnight and with the meat. It is only at the time of serving that the meat curry is ladled onto the plate and the rice piled on top. The bed of red rice is delicious, especially when mixed with curry and eaten with papaddam.

As for the taste, the curry itself is very different. It uses ample pepper, cloves, cinnamon, kari patta, daal chini and a sweet tint is infused through cashews. It is not spicy at all, perhaps because of the coconut oil it is prepa­r­ed in. The chicken piece is tender and juicy. Both the biryani and curry turn out to be good choices.

There are other dishes too which include delicacies such as prawn fry and crab fry priced at Rs.150. Of course, there is a long list of fish items including Kari-meen – a very popular dish down in Kerala. You also get what’s called – thali priced superbly reasonably at Rs. 40.

(Published 13 March 2013, 13:40 IST)

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