Because of this article we went for an exquisite meal, to Zains in Calicut, Kerala. Below is an extract from the article in Outlook Traveller by friend Hari Menon on North Kerala's Mappila cuisine. You can read the whole article here.
" Zain’s is where Kozhikode’s foodies go for their biriyani fix. There’s a good reason why the lane outside the restaurant fills quickly with cars, bikes and people. It isn’t just the biriyani. The dishes Zainabi Noor’s kitchen turns out every day are among the best examples of Mappila cooking you can get anywhere. It’s been over three decades since Zainabi started this restaurant, a pioneering woman entrepreneur. Today, as she surveys her popular realm with a mixture of businesslike efficiency and grandmotherly charm, it’s hard to believe her critics gave the venture a month. Her husband and partner, Noor Mohammed, an Afghan who once played football for Kerala, takes me through the day’s specials, most of which customers can check out in a glass cabinet in the restaurant—a good thing for visitors, since the menu is entirely in Malayalam. There’s the wonderfully fragrant prawn and chicken biriyani; kozhi adachitathu (whole chicken stuffed with eggs) which is half-cooked in masala, then fried, before being returned to the masala; the wonderful meen pathiri, a rice-based bread this time, steamed in plantain leaves with a fried fish and savoury stuffing, and, to finish with; unnakai, made from mashed boiled bananas, mixed with eggs, sugar, nuts and raisins before being deep fried, and chattipathiri, a savoury dessert made of refined flour pathiris layered with a mixture of beaten eggs, cardamom and sugar, with cashew, poppy seeds and raisins added."
Photo: A plate of plain pathiri with chicken curry.
Zains is located behind the Fire Station on Convent Cross Road, South Beach,
Calicut - 673001