Rahul Verma discovers the joys of Chennai biryani in South Delhi
The glitter of lights catches my attention whenever I drive past a certain part of Ramakrishna Puram. On the left side of the busy road is a row of shops. Quite a few, clearly, are small eateries— I see colourful signs and a horde of people poring over their plates of God-knows-what with obvious pleasure. What is it that they are eating, I kept asking myself.
Then one day I saw a sign that said “Tamil Nadu biryani”. That was the clinching point. I knew I would be back– and soon.
Then, as it often happens, my brother-in-law — to reach whose house I have to go past the RK Puram food corner told me that when he lived in Chennai many years ago, he loved the biryani there. So I knew I had to now make my stop and examine the Tamil Nadu Biryani corner.
I did so last week, hoping for some mutton biryani. But it was past 8 p.m. when I reached there, and the mutton biryani and mutton curry were over. They only had chicken biryani, and though I don’t think chicken biryani can hold a candle to a good plate of mutton biryani, I bought three plates to take with me. One plate of chicken biryani is for Rs.130, while a plate of mutton biryani —or a plate of mutton curry —is for Rs.240. They also sell chicken 65 – a dry and spicy dish – for Rs.110 as well as parotas. You can have a plate of chicken curry and parotas for Rs.100.
Let me give you directions to this place. If you are coming from Africa Avenue, turn right after crossing Safdarjung Enclave. Go straight after the next traffic light, and you’ll find a row of shops on your left. Muthu’s Tamil Nadu biryani is shop number K 15, sector 5 (near a petrol pump). Muthu used to run a biryani place in Mayur Vihar Phase 1, his son, Chinnu, told me. Now the son has taken over his father’s business – but in R.K. Puram.
The biryani was rather nice. The chicken had been fried well, and gave body to the flavours of the rice. It was spicy and hot, but not perhaps the way Andhra biryani is. The saalan that came with the biryani was thick and spicy, with pieces of meat in it. A group of young friends was asked to taste and give their views on the biryani.
Someone caught the flavour of black pepper, someone else thought she could taste coconut in the saalan. And they all agreed the biryani was rather good.
I am sure the mutton biryani will be even better. For the brother-in-law who misses the Chennai biryani — and for my own mutton biryani loving soul– I have to stop by at Muthu’s when I am next in the neighbourhood. That will be my southern comfort.