Ustad Hotel is a simple film. It is not a simplistic film.
Some movies entertain us. Others touch us. A few make us think. Ustad Hotel combines them in a two-hour feast. A fabulous background of the sun, sand and ocean, colourful visuals of Kerala parotha and Malabar Biriyani, the charm exuded by the actors, foot – tapping rhythm of the local rock group’s number and the apt background music in tune with the ambience of Kozhikode make it an absolute watch.
The opening sequence begins with an engaging narration. The circumstances of Faisi’s birth and the environment that shaped him, is tight and entertaining. The hitchhiking sequence wherein the relationship between Faisi and Shahana changes slowly and surely into a warmer, closer one is exquisitely screened and the sparkling vibes get to you as well.
Dulquar Salman ( Faisi ) has stepped out of the shadows of his father. A natural actor, he has delivered a layered performance. Thilakan is fabulous and brings to life the role of the grandfather with effortless ease. Pearls of wisdom strewn throughout the movie are thought-provoking. A new lease of life is injected into him when he dares to hope that his grandson will continue the legacy of his heart and soul, Ustad hotel and the inimitable biriyani. The intent, and how events twist and turn is interesting.
Nithya Menon is bubbly and plays her part to perfection. Siddique steals the scenes when he appears. Much of the magic of the film has to be credited to the director Anwar Rasheed and the screenwriter, Anjali Menon.
Usthad Hotel entertains, with a message. In short, it pulls us out of our inertia, urges us to take the blindfold off our eyes and be aware of the world outside of the cocoons we have woven ourselves into. A universal message of brotherhood is sent straight into the hearts of viewers to make a change for a better world. You leave the cinema hall feeling good and warm inside…
- Jeera Rice / Basmati Rice – 1 kg
- Chicken – 1 kg, cut into small pieces
- Coconut – ½ grated
- Oil – ¾ cup
- Ghee – 3 tsp
To Grind: Masala – 1
- Onion – 1, chopped
- Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
- Chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
To Fry and Grind: Masala – 2
- Ginger – 1 tbsp, chopped
- Green chillies – 3, chopped
- Cloves – 8
- Cinnamon – 3 pieces of 1″ each
- Pepper – ½ tsp
- Garlic – 1 tbsp, chopped
To Wash Well and Chop Finely:
- Fenugreek leaves – 1 bunch
- Pudina leaves – 1 bunch
- Coriander leaves – 1 bunch
- Onion – 1, cut into fine long slivers
- Cashewnuts – 1 tbsp
- Raisins – 2 tsp
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Wash chicken pieces well and keep to drain.
- Add ½ a cup of water to grated coconut, and extract coconut milk.
- Heat a big, thick bottomed vessel. Pour oil into it. When hot add chopped pudina, fenugreek, coriander leaves carefully.
- When oil comes on top and an aroma arises, put the drained chicken pieces into the pan and stir well for about 5 minutes.
- Now add salt, Masala – 1 and Masala – 2 to the pan. Mix well. Lower heat and keep it simmering for about 8 minutes.
- Next add ghee, stir in the drained rice on medium heat, and add 8 cups, inclusive of coconut milk and the rest water to the pan. Adjust heat accordingly.
- When the mixture boils, lower heat, and keep it simmering. Close the pan. When all the liquid is absorbed,and the rice and the chicken are cooked, which takes about 30 minutes for me, stir it, off the stove and keep it closed to retain the warmth.
- For the garnish, fry onions, cashewnuts and raisins,and sprinkle over the dish.
- Serve hot, delicious Chicken Biriyani with salad, pickle and pappad.
Quick Salad : A simple refreshing Onion Tomato Raitha – Mix 1 onion finely chopped, one ripe tomato cut small,one finely chopped hot green chili, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander, and fresh curd in a bowl.Add salt to taste.Toss them together thoroughly, cover and refridgerate. Serve chilled.
Fenugreek Leaves: Fresh fenugreek leaves, also known as methi leaves /Uluva Ela / Venthiya keerai are rich in the minerals – iron, potassium and calcium, vitamins C & K .
Quick Tip: Sprinkling salt or sugar while frying onions helps to make the frying quicker.