Most people relate Palakkad to good filter coffee and idli-sambar and Kozhikode to biriyani. However, there is a restaurant in Palakkad that deviates from such definitions. It serves genuine Thalassery dum biriyani, tasty fish curry meals, excellent beef roast and other lip-smacking non-vegetarian dishes. The name of the eatery is 'Hasis Kitchen' and it is located on College Road. Along with non-veg dishes, several evening snacks are other attractions here.
The Thalassery dum biriyani at Hasis Kitchen has several fans. It is prepared using jeerakasala rice. The owner Hasinatha ensures that she gets involved in all steps of the making of the biriyani. Asked about the secret of the taste she would reply, “The masala powders are prepared here itself, pure coconut oil is used and for biriyani, Milma ghee is the ingredient. The taste of the biriyani comes from the special masala.”
She also reveals that even actor Mohanlal was bowled over by the taste of the Hasis biriyani. “When Mohanlal was in Palakkad for the shooting of the film Odiyan, I had sent chicken biriyani for him. After relishing the dish, he called me and said that he liked it very much. I have been fortunate to earn many such good friends by serving tasty dishes,” says an ecstatic Hasinatha over receiving the praise from Mohanlal.
Fish curry meals
This is a weakness of Keralites, who prefer a fish fry along with it for lunch. Hasis Kitchen does not disappoint such customers. The highlight of fish curry meals at the restaurant is the taste of the fish curry and fish fry. However, only a limited quantity of the items are prepared to ensure the quality. The customers drool over the fish curry prepared with ground coconut and tastes hot and tangy. The fried items are made only to order.
There are several regular customers for fish curry meals who reveal why they reach the restaurant without fail: “The fish curry served along with the meal is not just another dish but very carefully cooked. It is indeed a special fish curry.”
Everybody loves porotta and beef and Hasis too serves the combo, but with a twist. Here, the porotta arrives as ‘pothi porotta’ – it is covered with banana leaf. The preparation is as below: A layer of beef curry is placed over a porotta and another layer of porotta and curry follows. All this together are wrapped in a banana leaf and heated before serving.
The porotta and beef curry gets set in the banana leaf and a tempting aroma spreads when the wrap is opened. Within no time, the dish disappears. The pothi porotta at Hasis is, in fact, the main attraction for porotta lovers.
‘Kozhi nirachathu’ is a special chicken item served at Hasis only on booking in advance. Kozhi niruthi porichathu is available every day but kozhi nirachathu is a unique dish that takes much time for preparation. Special masalas made by Hasis is applied to chicken, which is filled with eggs and onion masala. It is then sealed and slowly cooked over a low flame.
The next step is frying of this preparation. This is followed by roasting in a special gravy made of garlic, onion and tomato. The kozhi nirachathu is now ready.
Chatti rice and beef roast
Hasis Kitchen also serves ‘irachi chor’ (meat rice) which is available as a common item at the hotels in Mahe. At Hasis the dish is served in earthen ware. Meat rice is made by mixing rice and beef curry in a special way. It can be relished with ‘papad’ and curd.
Other special attractions available at the restaurant are beef roast and beef cutlet. The roast has a home-made taste.
Yet another speciality is the starter item mutton soup, which is not easily available like chicken soup.
Hasis Kitchen has the interiors of a new-gen café, but it serves exclusively traditional cuisine. Not even a single Chinese dish is part of the menu. Nobody complains about this as a wide variety of Thalassery snacks, Koova milk and puddings too tempt customers.
A housewife turned entrepreneur
Hasina Arif belonging to Thrissur came to Palakkad 13 years ago. When her children dined out they always commented, “The food from hotel doesn’t taste as good as the dishes made by Umma. Why don’t you open a restaurant, Umma?” It was the encouragement of children and friends that made Hasina, a housewife, an entrepreneur.
Initially she made pickles and sold them. When the venture met with success she felt confident to prepare other dishes. Soon Hasis Kitchen was opened in Palakkad town. Being a housewife, Hasina selected mostly women as the staff at the eatery. It is this team of women that lures foodies to the restaurant with homely food.