Who taught the Thais to make Biriyani?

Apparently the Malaysians!

Anyway, it reiterates the fact that cuisines are not country specific but originate from regions. As we move away from classifying it as Thai food, variations within the country are wide. The South Thai for example has a lot more influence from Malaysia with Satays and the likes taking centre stage.

Chef's table with Ramkumar at the launch of Benjarong's Southern Thai festival, threw up a new surprise. A biriyani. I'll come to that in a bit. Having chicken wrapped in pandan leaves is now passé, but how about with a fish? I would expect it to fall apart and disintegrate, especially if a basa fish is being used, but the chef has ensured that only a good fillet of seer fish is being used for this dish. The result? A nice fish dish with flavours and shape retained. So much so, that if I wasn't told that it was fish, I would have mistaken it for chicken.

So, the biriyani. Khao Mok is what the Thais call it. Thai Biriyani is what we can call it. Except for the hint of lemongrass, it is almost biriyani in entirety. Oh, no basmati, but jasmine rice used for it. Oh, and no raita. Yes, it is a biriyani and no it is not a biriyani! Thai Biriyani? As much as it appears to be out of place, the chef says that cooking it is just like cooking a biriyani. So, it has to be a biriyani right? No?

The festival is on till the 8th of October, so it's best if you find out yourself.