Biryani Diaspora Tales.

Nasi Biryani in Singapore and Malaysia has a different configuration of separate coloured rice and the choice of protein, either floating in a gravy or is a chewy fried texture. It is very different from the ‘dum’ variety in South Asia from Dhaka to Karachi via Malabar, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow. It is rather similar to Yemeni Mandi or Arabic Biryani found in the southern Gulf. It is may be the Hadrami influence on the food refracted through the local spice palate.

A Indian Muslim or Mamak place here in Clementi Sunset Way has a chef from Pattukottai in Tamil Nadu in India who has introduced the southern Tamil Nadu variant of Dum Biryani at the restaurant on a trial basis. The mutton biryani has the meat falling off the bone which is a delight to the culinary fan in me. The stocky man with a pot belly, speaking in fluent Singlish has been chatting up with me to ask about the quality of biryani being cooked as it is really not the staple in a Mamak place. He has worked as a cook in a restaurant in Malaysia for 12 years where his boss taught him the dum technique. He was pleased to bring in the Indian version here, atleast at the experimental level.

Biryani can be an Indian Ocean World metaphor for diversity from Mukalla to Nagercoil to Singapore.

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