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Meat eaters, queue up!

To sample Tamil Muslim cuisine at Dakshin. It's worth it

THE advantage of living in a country as diverse as India is that you have the option of never repeating yourself - at least not in terms of food. Everywhere you go, you find different communities, with their own rituals, clothing and food. It is literally choices galore for a foodie. And if you truly adventurous, you will not hesitate before trying out delicacies from far flung places which you might not even have heard of.



While I didn't attempt to be very adventurous, I recently decided to sample something that I had not even heard of before -- Sahibu Virundhu, the cuisine of Marraikayar and Rawoother Muslims of Tamil Nadu.

South Indian food is slowly coming out of its stereotype (think idlis, dosas, rasams and vadais), thanks to a plethora of restaurants that have opened up. However, the advantage of being a star-rated property is that you can go out of a set menu and experiment, which is what Dakshin is frequently doing. This time, they have flown in a chef from their property in Chennai who has been with the hotel for over 30 years and obviously knows his job.

Sahibu Virundhu, literally translated means Muslim feast, or what the community eats during special occasions. Their food is generally rich -- with influences from Arab countries, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Their cuisine prominently features fish, chicken and mutton. Spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks and star anise are widely used, along with dry fruits like almonds, pistachios, cashewnuts, dry grapes and even poppy seeds. 

I sampled some Eral curry for starters (prawn tossed in mildly spiced paste of cashew and poppy seeds) which was, as the menu promised, only mildly spicy. This was followed by Kozhi qorma (chicken made with coconut and cashew paste) which was tasty, Poricha kari (lamb cooked dry, tossed in spices) and Kalai kari (mutton with raw banana). This with Idiappa kozhi biryani, with noodle instead of rice. Quite interesting and delicious. Worth a try, I say!

Till: November 27
At: Dakshin, WelcomHotel Sheraton, Saket
Timings: 12.30 pm to 2.45 pm (lunch) and 7.30 pm to 11.45 pm (dinner)
Meal for two: Rs 2,500 + taxes
Call: 42661122

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