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Food @ Trivandrum

Al Saj Restaurant: Irachi Choru With Chicken Fry

Yet another day when my parents asked me to order lunch for myself and my dad… For those who may be unaware, my parents does this thing sometimes when there is just enough food in the house for the two of them and they then ask me to order food for myself along with some side dish or so for my dad… It was one such day this time and as I was checking the delivery apps for options, I thought of going for something from Al Saj since it has been a very long time as the place has very limited options for vegetarians and so, buying from there would result in my mom being left out as she doesn’t like the food there… So, this time since she didn’t need any food to be bought, I decided to exploit the opportunity and here we are… 🙂

So, what caught my attention when I opened the menu was the availability of Irachi Choru and that too the Chicken version of the same… Irachi Choru is something I have been wanting to try for a long time ever since I first heard about it but couldn’t as every place where I saw it listed in the menu only had the version made with Beef, which I don’t like to eat… So, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Chicken version and so I went ahead with the same and for my dad (and also me to share), I also added a portion of their Leg Piece Chicken Fry… The food arrived as shown in the pic above…

For those who may be unaware, Irachi Choru is the rice and meat dish thats said to have been originated among the native tribals of the land that is now known as the Malabar region in Kerala… It is even said to have been the inspiration for the Arab traders who is said to have developed the now so famous Biriyani (one of the theories about origin of Biriyani which I think historically / chronologically makes sense)… Though this can look like a Biriyani, the taste and method of preparation is quite different as in from my understanding, unlike the Biriyani, here the meat and rice are cooked together (together being the key word) slowly along with spices and herbs, traditionally in a clay pot and Banana Leaf is used to cover the pot resulting the whole dish being infused by the fragrance of the Banana Leaf… This recipe is said to have been existing in the Malabar region long before the first Arab traders arrived… Here, the menu mentions the Irachi Choru Chicken to be Biriyani type Rice, mixed with hot Chicken Masala, wrapped in Banana Leaf which to be frank made me feel skeptical as in whether its some kind of a gimmick… Anyways, I still decided to try and it arrived as shown in the pic above wrapped using Banana Leaf accompanied by Pappadam, Pickle and Raita and when unpacked, was as seen in the pic below along with a couple of pieces of the Chicken Fry as well…

Coming to the taste, first of all, the Raita and Pickle were pretty much their standard raita and lime pickle paste that they usually provide when ordering Biriyani from them… As for the rice, it seems like the spices used was the same as what they have been using for their Biriyani, but without the richness / greasiness of the Ghee and the Ginger Garlic paste which dominates the taste in case of the masala in a Biriyani… Ghee, Ginger and Garlic were indeed present but at a far milder level when compared to their Biriyani… The Chicken was indeed cooked well… The Dry spices used was what dominated the flavour profile here… The rice was quite fragrant but personally, I felt it was a tiny bit undercooked and that was the only flaw I felt here… To be frank, having never had Irachi Choru before, I am not exactly sure if this is how its supposed to taste like, but I for one did end up liking it as a lite alternative to Biriyani…

Comping to the Chicken Fry, Al Saj has an option by which we can get just leg pieces in a portion of Chicken Fry and since the leg and thigh meat of Chicken is my favourite, I chose that option and both me and my dad ended up sharing the pieces… Coming to the taste, first of all the Chicken was cooked well and this is that quintessential Trivandrum style Chicken Fry made with spices especially Dried Chilly Flakes… You can see the amount of Chilly Flakes in the pics below… The rub clearly felt quite thick as can be seen in the pics below… Overall, I felt that its a nice Chicken Fry option that can be eaten as it is or with Rice, etc…

So, thats it for now… As you may have guessed from what I have written above, I am indeed left with mixed feelings about this Irachi Choru… But its okay… I can only hope to be able to find more options of this Chicken version of Irachi Choru to be able to understand it further… Anyways, that being said, do feel free to try the same and let me know your thoughts in the comments below… 🙂

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