Dindigul comes to town!
Having opened two flagship stores in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, the Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant group is making its presence stronger in the Kerala market
KOCHI: Dindigul, a quaint city in Tamil Nadu, has many interesting historical anecdotes attached to it. Ruled by Tipu Sultan in the past, it is well-known around the country for its textile industry, infrastructure, and most importantly, biriyani. The love for the dish is also what Malayalis have in common with the people of Dindigul. Sure, we have our signature biriyanis — like the renowned Thalassery dum biriyani — but we are also welcome to savouring flavours from around India — Hyderabadi, Tehari, Bombay or Dindigul.
I first ate at a Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant (aka Thalappakatti Biriyani) while I was a graduate student in Chennai. The food you eat at a place easily becomes your first memory of it. And for me, Dindigul Thalappakatti biriyani and their signature soups are a pleasant trip down memory lane. Thalappakatti Biriyani (then Anandha Vilas Biriyani Hotel), the massive restaurant chain was founded in 1957 in Dindigul, by its founder Nagasamy Naidu. Over 60 years later, the chain now owns around 30 restaurants in Chennai, over a dozen in other Indian cities, and a few overseas — France, Sri Lanka, UAE, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA. It entered the Kerala market last year, with an outlet in Palakkad.
It opened two more flagship outlets this year, one in Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram that opened on January 26, and another in Kochi launched 10 days ago.
But from then to now, their flavour hasn’t changed a bit. The taste and aroma of their mutton biriyani are as old as Thalappakatti Biriyani and Nagasamy, who made something called dalcha, a side dish to make biryani better, by making use of mutton bones and adding dal and vegetables like brinjals and potato to it. “Our core taste and mixes have stayed the same. Being present across the world and catering to hundreds, we make additions and variations, but the identity of the brand is still its traditional dishes,” says Ashutosh Bihani, Chief Executive Officer, Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant.
Before entering the Kerala market — a state with its bag of spices and a peculiar palate — Ashutosh and his team studied it for a year. The launch was delayed by the pandemic too. “We tried all the major varieties and places — Malabar biriyani to Jeff Biriyani. We also had to understand if our product would work in Kerala. But the effort has paid off. Pattom outlet is getting good patronage and Kochi is picking up as well,” he says. While they are working on feedback regarding operations, Ashutosh is happy Malayalis have received the taste of Dindigul well.
Try it yourself
Thalappakatti Biriyani is sure to offer your taste buds an interesting ride. I can personally vouch for the Mutton Milagu Soup, a light broth made from Indian spices and mutton chunks. It is a very healthy, flavoursome way to begin your heavy biriyani meal. The Thalappakatti special mutton biriyani is an absolute must-try and has boneless and bone-in options. Unlike most Kerala biriyani are prepared — cooking rice and masala separately and then adding them in layers — Thalappakkatty biriyani rice is evenly flavoured. That and the juicy mutton is a combination to remember!
The chicken kothu porotta is yet another pick I would recommend. Pair it with some chicken porichathu or Gun Fire Chicken, and you are signing up for a flavour explosion. Ghee rice is yet another speciality here.
It is lighter, easy on the ghee and goes well with side dishes like Chicken Varuval Masala or Mutton Masala (a must-try if you like mutton).
For the meat lovers, they have Al Faham And barbecue chicken. After a heavy meaty meal, finish off with the Angoori Rasgulla, my top dessert pick without a doubt!
Ingredients: Mutton mince 1 kg (cleaned), Shallots 500 grm, Garlic 150 grm (peeled), Curry Leaf 5 springs, Coriander leaf 50 grm (cleaned and chopped), Ginger 50 grm (cleaned and chopped), Dry red chilli 15 nos (stem removed), Green chilli 8 nos (stem removed), Cardamom 6 pods, Cinnamon 2 inch, Cloves 6 pods, Fennel seeds 1 tsp, Salt 2 tsp, Groundnut oil 4 tbsp, Fried grams ¼ cup
Method of preparation:
In a cleaned Iron kadai heat oil and add all the ingredients except mutton mince and Fried grams. Roast for 5 mins.
Add mutton mince and roast till the moisture is absorbed (10 mins) and grind on a stone grinder till coarsely ground. (don’t grind to fine paste)
Take out the mixture in a mixing bowl and add fried grams, mix well and form small ball-shaped roundels.
In another kadai heat oil for frying and fry the prepared Kola Urundai till lite golden brown.
Serve with mint chutney or just with sliced onion and lemon.