Hello fellow Foodies! This week, our Makan Kaki – F&B entrepreneur, consultant and host of CNA’S Food To Change The World – Chef Ming Tan is back with a recommendation for “second to none” Briyani that boasts fluffy & fragrant rice, tender and tasty meat plus a few other additions that take it to the next level. First introduced to Chef Ming by his buddy, local celebrity chef and TV personality Shahrizal Salleh (Chef Bob), Geylang Briyani Stall is run by Hamid and his family. Chef Ming is partial to the mutton briyani, but they also have a chicken version worth trying.
Some highlights of Hamid’s mutton briyani:
First, the plate is messily laden with flat scoops of their long grain basmati rice that looks bejeweled, alternately glistening bright yellow, orange and pale white. With good quality basmati rice served here, you also get a slight scent of rose and pandan. The rice is also seasoned and spiced with a hint of the curry they cook their the chicken and the mutton in, which enhances the flavour and aroma of the tasty dish. Next, the meat of your choice is placed atop the bed of rice and a little bowl of curry is served on the side. Also on the plate is a dollop of pickle that’s almost like a thick chutney – it’s fruity and sweet to give balance to the very savoury rice and meat.
According to Chef Ming, the mutton is wonderfully tender after stewing in its spicy sauce, but I had to take his word for it. By the time I rushed down after work at 2.30pm (they close at 3pm), they were sold out. Thankfully, they still had chicken briyani, which I gamely ordered for a taste.
A large, whole chicken leg smothered in sauce sat on its bed of rice, but interestingly (and perhaps because I was so disappointed the mutton briyani was sold out), the little bowl of curry on the side was redolent with the distinct aroma of mutton and packed with bits of brinjal, carrot, potato and chilli. The chicken was tender and moist. The rice in itself was already delicious, but drizzling the curry all over intensified the flavour and unified the entire dish of meat and carbs.
However, the crowning glory has got to be their fried shallots, an essential crispy garnish they painstakingly prepare from scratch daily. In fact, when I paid a visit to the stall at Chef Ming’s behest, I witnessed a little mountain of shiny purple shallots being sliced and prepped for frying.
It takes skill to achieve such a beautifully burnished cook – they have chew, they have crunch and are so dark you might think they are burnt, but oh no, the deeply caramelised shallots retain an irresistible sweetness and fragrance. So be sure to ask nicely for some – they’ll take your briyani to the next level.
For Chef Ming, the individual components of the dish are tasty on their own, but mixing everything together makes the briyani a dish to be savoured slowly. Wash it all down with some teh halia and you’ll dreamily drift through the rest of your day totally satisfied.
Chef Ming’s advice is to get their early, as the queues can be long. You’ll want to be there just after they open, say by 11am latest. But rest assured their service is quick, efficient and with a smile. The line moves pretty quickly because they have the experience and the advantage of a small, specialised menu. Chef Ming can’t recommend Geylang Briyani Stall enough – go and try for yourself & see whether this suits your taste! After sampling the chicken briyani, I know I will be returning to sink my teeth into the mutton version!
GEYLANG BRIYANI STALL
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre
1 Geylang Serai, #02-146, Singapore 402001
Open Tues – Sun: 10.30am – 3pm (closed Mondays)
Tel: +65 9170 9700