24 May 2024

Vada you think of trying a dosa South Indian food in Griffith

| Oliver Jacques
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Siva Reddy with a dosa.

Owner Siva Reddy is showing Griffith a different side to Indian cuisine. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Love Indian food? What about dosa, vada and idly?

You may never have heard of these dishes because Indian restaurants in the Riverina predominately serve cuisine from the north of the country.

South Indian food is something completely different. In Australia, it’s rarely found outside Sydney and Melbourne.

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That’s why there’s so much hype surrounding Biryani Hut, a new eatery in Griffith that serves up dishes from the Southern Indian tech-focused city of Hyderabad.

While North Indian establishments tend to serve heavy meat and dairy-based curries, those from the south offer lighter rice and lentil-based dishes that are mostly vegetarian. The latter are also big on crispy snack-like food that’s served on street corners across the subcontinent.

I sampled the main dishes at Biryani Hut and provide an overview of what to expect.


Paneer Biryani

Paneer Biryani. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Biryani, also called biriyani with an extra “i”, is marinated meat, vegetables and spices mixed in with rice. Flavour such as saffron and turmeric are added to make it a yellowish colour. It’s similar in some ways to the Spanish rice dish paella.

There are five main condiments mixed in with rice at the Griffith eatery:

Hyderabadi Chicken – thigh and drumstick pieces.
Chicken 65 – sweet, deep-fried chicken.
Mutton – succulent goat pieces.
Veg – vegetables such as potatoes, peas and carrots.
Paneer – soft cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit-derived acid.

Masala Dosa

Siva Reddy with a dosa.

Masala Dosa. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Perhaps the most popular South Indian dish is a thin savoury crepe made from a fermented batter of ground rice and lentils and stuffed with a spicy potato and onion-based mix. It’s served alongside a vegetable stew called sambar and chutney, a savoury condiment made from slow-cooked fruits or vegetables, vinegar and spices.

In some restaurants, the crepe is so big it hangs over the dining table, but it’s more modestly sized in the Griffith establishment.



Vada. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A vada is a golden savoury snack served with sambar and chutney. At Biryani Hut, they are made in the traditional donut shapes, but can also be found as fritters, dumplings or cutlets. It can be made from legumes, potatoes or lentils and is a common breakfast food in South India.



An idly is a rice cake. Photo: Chefspencil.

Idly is steamed savoury cakes served with sambar and three types of chutney on the side – coconut, tomato and green. It’s made from fermented rice and lentil batter and is also popular in Sri Lanka.

Although also eaten for breakfast in the subcontinent, most Australians would probably prefer to try this spicy dish after noon.

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Overall verdict on Biryani Hut

The Griffith eatery is a good introduction to South Indian food. Better still, it’s cheap. While alcohol is not on the menu, you can bring your own – making it even more of a bargain.

Biryani Hut, located at 420 Banna Avenue, is open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm.

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