Biryani is not only a wholesome meal but also satiates our palate enormously. Who doesn’t love this long-grain rice cooked over slow flame with whole spices? Many of us have fallen back on the popular Hyderabadi-Dum biryani, Kolkata biryani, Lucknowi biryani and Bombay biryani time and again, but how many of us have tasted the lesser known Dindigul biryani or the Kayalpatnam biryani of Tamil Nadu? Let’s travel to Dindigul, which is about 85 km away from Madurai, and get a taste of the biryani in the city. Interestingly, it has also been nicknamed as the Biryani City.
Once you are in Dindigul, ask anyone and they will swear by the city’s oldest biryani restaurant, Thalappakatti on East Car Street. The 57-year-old eatery started by Nagasamy Naidu, who always sported the thalapa, a traditional turban, soon got the name Thalappakatti Naidu because of the use of a unique mixture of spices, which he painstakingly made. Today, Thalappakatti is a brand, which has grown over the years. It has opened 14 branches in Chennai, besides joints in Coimbatore and Kodaikanal in the state.
The mutton biryani here is something to look out for accompanied with dalcha, made of mutton bones, lentil and vegetables, including aubergines and potato. Biryani is usually made of long-grain rice that has its own flavour, but this particular dish is made of seeraga samba rice, which is short grain combined with Kannivadi meat from tender grass-fed goats. Price-wise too it is easily palatable, as a plateful of this dish comes for Rs 179. For those who swear by chicken, they will not be disappointed as well.
There are other popular hubs in the city like the Ponrum Biryani and Venu Biryani. Sample the dish in all these places when you are in the city. It is said that the water used from the Kamarajar Lake in Athoor adds to the taste of the biryani found in the city.
From Dindigul let’s go to Kayalpatnam, a coastal town in Tuticorin district. Situated about 53 km from Tirunelveli, this place is also known for its biryani, called the Kayalptnam biryani. Cooked in coconut oil, this biryani uses plenty of nuts in its recipe. It is prepared in dum-style. The Kayalpatnam mutton biryani is a must-taste if you are visiting the town. It is mostly available in restaurants run by Muslims.
You will have to savour them to actually know how different they are in taste from the popular fare. So, next time when you are travelling to Dindigul or Kayalpatnam, make a trip to the restaurants for the finger-licking dish. You can get your bus tickets for Dindigul from Ticketgoose.com