Food

Biryani on a budget

SCRUMPTIOUS: A plate of biryani at Arumugam mutton stall. Photo: A. Shrikumar  



Panai Marathu Kadai

The Panai Marathu Kadai biryani is not the usual kind we expect a biryani to be like. It’s bland but rich, unlike the spicy varieties. With a liberal dosage of cashew paste and ghee, the biryani has a tinge of Avadhi flavour that douses the effect of spices. Started by a weaver couple Gopala Iyer and Sankarammal, eight decades ago, the shop was primarily a take-away counter, which later became an eatery. “We had no name for the shop when my grandfather started it. People started identifying it with a lone palm tree that stood by our shop and that’s how it came to be called as ‘Panai Marathu Kadai,” says N.B. Jayakumar, grand-son of Gopala Iyer. “My grandfather was a good cook and my father Babulal learnt to make biryani from him. Our biryani is known for the peculiar taste. Mutton chukka and aatu-kaal paya go as perfect combinations for the biryani.” The shop dishes out 13 kgs of biryani daily, serving over 200 plates.

Rate card: Plain – Rs.65, Egg – Rs.75, Chicken – Rs.100 and Mutton – Rs.110

When: 12.30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: 1/1, New Mahalipatti Road

Call: 9003771944

Sulthan Biryani Corner

One of the well-known biryani destinations in Madurai, the Sulthan Biryani Shop is a 60-year-old outlet that serves the Madurai style dum biryani popularly known as ‘Muslim biryani’. Rich with spices and devoid of coconut, the Sulthan Biryani is a piquant indulgence. The strong flavour and spicy taste lingers long after you have eaten the dish. “We were the first shop to introduce biryani for iftar during the month of Ramadan. Then, the Simmakal outlet, which was the first one, was a round-the-clock biryani place,” says Feroze Khan, one of the partners. “Now, we have cut down on the timings due to restrictions. We have three branches at Iyer Bungalow, Mattuthavani and Simmakal. At the Iyerbungalow branch, we cook around eight kgs of biryani daily. And add a few more kilos over the weekends.” Another speciality of the shop is the Nalli Elumbu biryani.

Rate Card: Plain – Rs.60, Egg – Rs.75, Chicken – Rs.100 and Mutton – Rs.110

When: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Where: Naganakulam Bus Stop, Iyer Bungalow

Call: 9659998508

Manickam Hotel

The popular Manickam biryani is made of seeraga samba rice cooked in dum. It’s an extremely spicy variety of biryani that can set your senses on fire. “Our biryani stands out among all other kinds you get in town. We use hung yoghurt to get the trademark taste and flavour. For achieving uniform consistency, we maintain the correct ratio of mutton and rice. There’s a stipulated quantity of mutton that has to be added per kg of rice for the biryani to be tasty,” says R. Kannan, proprietor of the Kamarajar Salai branch. “It was Kamaraj, my elder brother who learnt it from the original master at our shop and developed his own recipe.” Started 60 years ago in the name of Balayya kadai, the brand later branched into four shops and came to be known as Manickam. The shop serves eight to 13 kilos of biryani and takes outdoor catering orders for 50 to 60 kilos per day. “We cook the biryani in two batches for lunch and dinner.”

Rate Card: Plain – Rs.80, Egg – Rs.100, Chicken – Rs.120 and Mutton – Rs.130

When: 12p.m. to 4p.m. and 6p.m. to 11p.m.

Where: Near Abirami Theatre, Kamarajar Salai

Call: 9894088377

Atchayas Hotel

In the hub of meat-lovers, there are quite a few restaurants that serve the vegetable biryani. The vegetable biryani served at Atchayas Hotel is quite a colourful dish with a variety of vegetables such as beans, carrot and green peas. Strewn with fried cashew nuts and garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves, it’s flavoursome and tasty.

“Our recipe is quite rich as we fry onions, tomato, carrot and beans in pure ghee. Another speciality is that we use the Ponni variety of raw rice instead of seeraga samba. It has a unique aroma and lends a pleasant taste to the dish,” says S. Balamurugan, Manager.

The restaurant offers Mushroom and paneer biryanis as other options for vegetarians.

A plate has 300 grams of biryani and fifty plates are served per day.

Rate Card: Vegetable, Mushroom and Paneer: Rs.45.

When: 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Opp to Omni Bus Stand, Mattuthavani

Call: 4352555

Arumugam Mutton Stall

Arumugam mutton stall is known for the spiciest biryani in town. Just one spoonful is enough to open the floodgates of tears. With chunks of soft mutton pieces perfectly cooked in a slew of hand-ground masalas, the biryani is sought-after among foodies.

Inspite of the spicy quotient, the biryani is high on demand but the makers prepare only eight kilos daily which vanishes faster than perhaps the time taken to prepare it. “Our joint is over 60 years old and we still follow the recipe taught by our first biryani master,” says Suresh Kumar, one of the partners. “Instead of the Dalcha, that’s usually served along with biryani, we give a range of kozhambus and salnas as accompaniments.” Among those, the milagu kozhambu and kozhi salna are much sought-after.

Rate Card: Plain – Rs.60, Egg --80, Chicken --150, Mutton – Rs.120

When: 1.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.

Where: No: 46, Azhagar Koil Road

Call: 9842102777

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 11:33:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/Biryani-on-a-budget/article14397106.ece

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