Expect finger lickin’ flavours at Yousuf’s Kitchen that dishes out a mean biryani and a host of baked goodies
Famous from the cafeteria in Alliance Francaise de Madras, Yousuf is now cooking from his kitchen in Royapettah and impresses with delicious biryani, chicken curry and a chocolate mousse
In South India we often say that cooking is an art form and while it can be taught — some have ‘kai rasi’ (gifted hands) that makes any food they make a delicious dish. Mohammed Yousuf would come into that category. When we ask him about the addictive biryani that is part of the menu of Yousuf’s Kitchen, the home chef modestly avers, “It’s a simple recipe — most Muslim homes in Chennai follow this one.”
We have been sampling chicken quiches, chocolate cakes and puffs made by Yousuf since 1996 at the cafeteria at Alliance Française of Madras, down College Road. Those were the days when before the pandemic hit us — we remember nursing a steaming cuppa coffee and a slice of freshly baked warm chocolate cake, dripping with chocolate sauce, as we waited for a play to begin at the Edouard Michelin Auditorium. Often, we would pack a few slices of chicken quiche to take home after the show, and make a dinner of it. Like all spaces, the pandemic threw a spoke in the wheels here too and Yousuf found himself stuck at home through lockdown. “I started cooking from home since the first lockdown,” says the self-taught 46-year-old chef who started by adding biryani and curries to his repertoire. Expect café signatures like doughnuts, cupcakes, chocolate lava cake and chocolate mousse, besides options like cutlets, samosas, biryani and gravies.
Last weekend we went ahead and ordered the mutton biryani and the pepper chicken curry – and when we say that we plan to order the same again this weekend, you get the picture! The mutton biryani is delectable, packed with flavour and meat that falls off the bone delightfully. The pepper chicken has the perfect punch of spice and pairs well with the rice dish. So, we ask him what makes his food so delectable. And he answers simply, “It’s the slow cooking. Not just the meat — but even when cooking the gravy base and masalas — I take my time.”
Minimum order of mutton biryani at INR 1,800 for a kilo, that serves up to seven people. (Delivery within five kilometers is free). Place orders via yousufafm@ gmail.com