golden yellow mutton BiryaniMade with long-grain aromatic rice, lightly spiced with cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, ginger, garlic and more, filled with chunks of precisely cooked mutton, and fried cashews, thick raisins, coriander and mint Garnished with leaves, it is a perennial favorite of the residents of Thiruvananthapuram. right in the middle Biryani There will be a boiled egg.
Serve with finely chopped onions, tomatoes and green chillies, coconut chutney, lemon pickle or date pickle and lots of pappadums, aromatic raita. BiryaniCooked with a generous dollop of ghee or coconut oil, it will disappear within minutes. this was it Biryani It was served in most upmarket and small restaurants and eateries in old Travancore, including places such as Nagercoil, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam Alappuzha and Kottayam. The culinary tradition continued even after Trivandrum became Thiruvananthapuram.
Therefore, for many people who grew up in Thiruvananthapuram before the novices, it was aromatic Biryani which whet their appetite Biryani, Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of restaurants serving the Thalassery and Malabar versions. Biryani cooked with small grains kaima rice or gymnasium Rice. Famous restaurants and popular eateries in Thiruvananthapuram used this rice for Biryani, And the dishes were no longer the same for gourmets.
Many caterers and cooks eschew the flavourful grains of basmati for short-grained rice at weddings and celebrations. Suffice it to say that there were many who yearned for a taste of the ‘real’ Biryani‘, which was mainly brought to Thiruvananthapuram by Deccani Urdu-speaking Muslims who came to serve in the cavalry of the Travancore army, administration and judiciary. They settled in the city and many of the residents were first introduced to this version Biryani,
MP Azad is the founder of Azad Hotel in Thiruvananthapuram. , photo credit: special arrangement
Many of them came from places in Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad and settled at various places in Travancore. Chand Begum, whose ancestors came to Travancore during the reign of Murtaza Khan Saab Martanda Varma, says she still cooks Biryani with Basmati.
“My Mother Used to cook on a wood stove in the open. The mutton and rice were cooked separately and when they were three-quarters done, the rice, usually basmati, was added to the pot along with the mutton. The fire of the stove was then reduced and the coals were placed on a lid used to cover the vessel in which the fire was started. Biryani was being cooked. It was all a matter of time.
Tasty Biryani. , Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetty
One of the few restaurants that still serves Biryani The city’s 83-year-old Azad Hotel is made of long-grain rice. It was established in 1940 by MP Azad, a businessman. It was probably the first in Thiruvananthapuram to serve non-vegetarian food and their mutton Biryani became the gold standard to compare other Biryani,
Meeran Pilla Parid Kunju was such a great admirer of freedom fighter and Congress leader Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad that he came to be known as Azad among his friends. Wazeem recounts that when his grandfather opened a non-vegetarian eatery, it was called azad kada (Azad’s shop). Finally, they decided to call it Azad Hotel. “They first opened a small temporary outlet near Vallakadavu. Our first restaurant was in Overbridge. From those days, we only sold mutton and chicken as my grandfather wanted to assure his customers that only the best was sold in his hotel.”
MP Azad’s grandson Wazeem Azad says his grandfather used to travel a lot to places like Mumbai and Hyderabad and may have been inspired by it Biryani He was lying there. “In those places, Biryani Almost always made with long grain rice such as basmati. maybe that’s why our Biryani Always made with Basmati. We have retained the same recipe that was adopted eight decades ago. However, we stopped using raisins and pineapple pieces in our biryani. That is the only difference,” says Wazeem.
Some of the ingredients used in Travancore Biryani made independently. , Photo Credit: Sreejit R Kumar
Even for marriage and other functions Biryani Their signatures from Azad’s include Date Pickle, Raita, Boiled Egg and Papadum. “In the forties and fifties, such sweets were not common. We always served fresh slices of pineapple, which aids digestion and is also served as a dessert,” says Wazeem.
Flavors of Deccan
In fact, many of them served as the emperor’s bodyguards, says history lover and conservation architect Sharat Sundar Rajeev. In the 17th century, Kottayam had a Muslim community just outside the fort complex in Thiruvananthapuram from the time of Kerala Varma. “Ballads and local folklore talk about a Muslim bodyguard who was killed during the assassination of Kottayam Kerala Varma in 1696. Therefore, it is quite possible that these communities introduced it. Biryani For Travancore,” says Sarat.
Restaurateur and home chef Nabeela Shanawas also shares her opinion. Biryani cooked by Ummah (Mother) always had it with long-grain rice, and had chunks of pineapple in it. Food coloring was added to small portions of rice. Nabeela, whose parents are from Alamcode, near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram, and Alappuzha does not remember when Biryani Anything but long grain rice was made at their house.
A cook mixes spices and chicken pieces in the central kitchen of Azad Hotel in Thiruvananthapuram. , Photo Credit: Sreejit R Kumar
Chef and restaurateur Suresh Pillai explains that the fad kaima And gymnasium Rice is a recent phenomenon in southern Kerala. “At most places in southern Kerala, Biryani Made with only long grain rice. it’s only in the last 10 years Biryani Together kaima Or gymnasium Rice, mainly used in the Malabar region, started becoming popular in places like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam,” he says.
He says that Malabar to meet popular taste nikah biryani, which is made in their restaurant, which is made kaima Rice. “But I also make Biryani with Basmati. Actually, for mutton BiryaniI prefer basmati to short grain rice.”
Chef Suresh Pillai | photo credit: special arrangement
Wazeem says it may be a matter of taste but many in southern Kerala still yearn for the taste of basmati Biryani and the edge of his egg, Papadum and pickles. he adds that it is the same Biryani It is made at a subsidiary branch of Azad in Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, which is run by extended family members. “Once the half cooked rice is put in the half cooked mutton or chicken, the pot is closed and cooked in the same Dum Style. The coals are spread on a plate over the pot while it is still on a low flame on the stove. Taste of meat, spices and rice mingle in every bite Biryani,” He says.
Recently, Azad Group of Restaurants rebranded their Biryani In the form of Azad Pakka Travancore Biryani. “It is a brand in itself in Kerala and since we have continued the culinary tradition of following the same recipe for over 80 years, we decided to market it as such.”
They laugh and say that many come to Azad for a taste and feast of nostalgia Biryani,