Food @ Trivandrum

String Hopper – Special Vazhayila Chicken Biriyani

It has been a long time since I visited or wrote about the food from String Hopper, the restaurant that claims to specialise in recipes revolving around the quintessential Idiyappam (otherwise known as String Hoppers)… That fact has nothing to do with the restaurant but rather it was because I ended up being busy with work because of which the amount of time I could afford to spend on blogging was limited and during the rare moments, when I could work on the blog, I ended up choosing newer places especially one nearer to where I live due to time constraints, plus, obviously, this restaurant is not going anywhere, right??? Anyways, today, I finally got the chance goto String Hopper again and having had Idiyappams for breakfast today at home, I thought of trying something other than Idiyappam and having had a Biriyani made with Idiyappam before, I thought of trying their non-Idiyappam Biriyani and the chef recommended that I try what they call as their Hopper Special Vazhayila Biriyani and I chose the Chicken version of the same which was served wrapped in Banana Leaf as shown in the pic below…

The Biriyani, wrapped in Banana Leaf appeared to have been made using short grain Rice and as per what the chef mentioned, they made it using organic Country Chicken (Naadan Kozhi)… There appears to be quite a bunch of herbs including Pandan Leaves, Mint and I could see some caramelised Onions along with pieces of Carrots and Tomatoes as well… The portion size appeared to be fine for one though based on my capacity, the amount of rice is slightly more than for one though the ratio of rice to masala looked to be nice… The Biriyani was served along with Raita and Pickle as can be seen from the pics below…

First of all, as soon as I opened the Banana Leaf wrap, I could feel the aroma of the Chicken along with the spices and herbs… The whole thing was steaming hot and the fragrance of the Rice was there but it was being dominated by the Chicken and the masala and herbs… Country Chickens unlike the so called Broiler ones tend to be much more stronger / gamey in terms of flavour and that could be felt in the aroma as well… I felt that the rice ended up being a bit on the overcooked side, but the Chicken, to my surprise ended up being cooked perfectly, which is not easy to achieve with Country Chickens… As for the taste, the fragrance of the Pandan leaves was coming thru more than that of the mint and even the Banana Leaf… As for the masala used, I felt that the taste of Cinnamon and Mace was dominating it more than anything else though I could sense the presence of Cardamom and Coriander as well along with of-course the usual Ginger and Garlic… The fragrance of Ghee was also present but if you ask me, it was just not enough… However, overall, I found the Biriyani to be enjoyable and is a must try cause of the use of Country Chicken… As for the Raita and Pickle, they were like any other that we see being served with Biriyanis everywhere in Trivandrum with the one single exception which was that I felt that the pickle given was more spicy than how it is usually…

So, overall, as I said, I think this is a biriyani thats 100% worth trying and with some minor fixes, has the potential to be one of the best Biriyanis ever… I have conveyed the same to the chef when he asked me for feedback and I hope to be able to enjoy it even better next time 🙂

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