Za'atar chicken to Sukappams; Our pick of seven must-try fried dishes this Ramzan, in Chennai
This Ramzan season, think beyond haleem, and head towards all things good and crunchy. From Vaniyambadi samosas to chicken corn dogs, there's a lot to savour this time of the month
Often Iftar tables during Ramzan are a visual spectacle of indulgence. And while dishes like the ever popular haleem and biryani make for wholesome feasts, there’s something about fried food that makes your meal infinitely better. Dunked in spiced batter and fried in oil, the stacks of fried chicken, juicy shrimps, crunchy samosas and such, have a compelling effect on one’s appetite. This year, we went around town looking for the best in fried food and boy, did we chance upon the finest dishes. From Syria to Kerala, we zero in on some innovative fried dishes that will take your Fridays and turn them into Fry-Yays.
Catch ’em fillings
A masala-rich beef filling (chicken and mutton also available) encased in a puff pastry outer shell, is what Aisha Ahmed has to offer this season. Called the Vaniyambadi samosa, and popular in the Ambur region, these homemade snacks are all mom-approved — for the recipe was handed down to her by her mom.`30 apiece. Till June 15. At Kilpauk. Details: 91760-07391.
What’s better than ground meat, lentil and spices flattened into patties? Fried patties! The Haleem Express’ Shammi Kebabs is the stuff of legends. Available in chicken, mutton and beef, the Shammi Kebabs are first prepared with in-house spices and then deep-fried. “Even if there was nothing else to eat, there was always Shammi Kebabs at home to make my day,” says Mudassir Ali, of the dish that has its roots in Syria. Outside Big Mosque, Triplicane. `25 (mutton), `15 (chicken).
Chef Abid Zahid might be serving up some decadent haleem and biryani this Iftar season at his restaurant, but it is the Chicken Escalopes that have our attention. Chicken breast is pounded, mixed with a mix of onion, capsicum and oregano, and crumb-fried — all the makings of a perfect starter, we think. `80 a piece. At Abid’s, Chetpet. Details: 4337-4747.
Home cooks Yasmin Sait and her daughter-in-law Sadiya Gibran are known for their Sukkappams, a Kerala speciality that is made using rice flour, coconut milk and beef. Every component of this dish is deep fried — from the bead-sized rice balls to the beef. There’s crunch, some chew and a whole lot of flavour. “We don’t use that much oil, and the coconut milk has various health benefits,” says Sadiya. At Kilpauk. `300 a box. Made to order. Details: 94454-27566.
In your corn-er
Hakico Live Kitchen has taken the San Francisco route. Putting a spin on the American corn dogs, Hakico offers halal Chicken Corn Dogs. Mohammad Ali, the director at Food Consulate says, “The sausages are dipped in tempura batter and fried on a skewer, like a popsicle. It is then served with mustard and ketchup, just like the original.” `100 for two. At the Ramadan Bazar, Velachery, till June 17. Details: 97899-11103.
Let’s get za’atar!
With Mediterranean favourites like lahmajoun, tabouleh and sambusas, Mezze Madras’ newest addition is their za’atar fried chicken. Anush Rajasekaran says. “Tender chicken is rolled in panko crumbs, and then deep fried. It’s then topped off with some za’atar and served with our signature toume dip.” For the uninitiated, za’atar is an Arabic spice rub that has oregano, basil, thyme, dried sumac, sesame seeds, salt and other spices. At RA Puram. `200. Details: 98842-91857.
Want to serve up some lip-smacking samosas without the hassle of having to shape and fill them? Zaara Caterers in Triplicane, is retailing out a ready to fry range of samosas for the first time this year. Run by R Syed Suhail in Triplicane, the fish samosa, made of hummer fish and Indian spices, comes highly recommended. Order a day in advance. Minimum order is 500gm. At `370/kg. At Triplicane. Details: 72002-51510.