Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I don't feel any smarter after eating this

Alternate title: Fear Factor - Indian Style

My food philosophy is that if something is on the menu, then someone likes it and someone thinks it is okay to eat. So when I found myself with my friend and colleague Nmuthu at Karaikudi Restaurant in Mylapore, India, I knew I had to be true to myself when I was asked if I'd ever had brains and do I want to try it. So I said yes.

Mutton Brains at Kaaraikudi in Mylapore

When the dish was placed on our table, some of the pieces still resembled the brain so I immediately knew I was in for a challenge. I stared at the plate for a minute and with some hesitation picked up a small piece. The texture in my hand was soft and delicate and no I wasn't just playing with my food; in India people eat with their hands, their right hand actually. After thinking for a minute about what I was about to eat, I popped the piece of brain in my mouth and chewed. The texture in my mouth is something I've had a hard time describing since I told the first person about my eating adventure. It was homogeneous and creamy in texture on the inside with a very delicate skin on the outside. The flavor was very mild having not been well sauced. The flavor of brain, I'm told, is usually dominated by whichever sauce they are prepared with. Nmuthu also tried a piece and told me that even though he doesn't love brains he has had them before and the ones we were eating that day lacked in any significant flavor; they were not prepared that well. Fortunately the rest of our meal was fantastic! In addition to the brains, we also ate vegetable biryani, chettiyar chicken masala, gobi 65, and two types of south Indian bread - parotta and chapathi.

Clockwise from the top: Parotta, Chettiyar Special Chicken Masala,
Vegetable Biryani, Mutton Brains

Lunch at Kaaraikudi

Biryani is a rice based dish that is popular throughout the Middle East and India. Some say that the biryani from Hyderabad put that city on the culinary map; we ate some vegetable biryani and it was delicious. The chicken masala we ate must be from a local recipe, although I didn't ask, since Chettiyar, or more commonly Chettiar, is a title used by people in south India to identify themselves or others with a specific group of people. The Indian breads we ate, parotta and chapathi, are two common south Indian breads served with most meals. Finally, gobi 65, which is one of my favorite snacks/appetizers in India - my favorite is still pani puri, and I ate some of that this trip too. Gobi is cauliflower and it is very popular in Indian cuisine. Gobi 65 is fried cauliflower dredged in chili powders and other spices, here is one recipe from Coimbatore, another great city in south India. If you ever find yourself in Mylapore, check out this restaurant, it was very good.

Here is my receipt, see the third item?

No comments:

Post a Comment