Mark Wiens: Biryani for 2,000 - Huge Indian Food Celebration - Malabar Coast, Kerala, India

from youtube:

KANNUR, KERALA - Welcome to the Malabar Coast of Kerala, India, a place of friendly people, warm weather, and hospitable people. Thanks to our friend Roshan from Seashell Haris Beach Home (…) in Kannur, Kerala, India, we were invited to attend a housewarming celebration. A housewarming is a big event - it’s a time when the family officially moves into a new home, offers a blessing, for the house and the people, and amazing Indian food is served. We arrived early in the morning to see all the cooking of the biryani. The chefs were amazing, master of fire, and ratios. No recipes are used in their cooking, it’s just experience, and the knowledge of ingredients and method. I was impressed at how the head chef knew all the ingredients, and how much of what to be added where, all while keeping track of all the different dishes prepared. After the first preparation of the biryani, we then enjoyed breakfast - Kerala style “chicken parts,” curry. Including chicken parts and ovary eggs, it was outstanding. Later, in the middle of the day, the housewarming biryani celebration began. Guests started arriving, all lining up for a taste of this special Malabar Coast, Indian biryani. Thalassery Biryani (Malabar Biryani) - Much different from any other biryani I’ve had anywhere else in India or the world, the rice in Thalassery Biryani just melts in your mouth and goes down so easily. It was so moist and juicy, and the flavor and spices were perfect. Having the privilege to attend a housewarming Indian food celebration in Kerala was truly an honor. Thank you to the family who hosted us, and wishing you all the best.


Fascinating. Thanks for posting!

That fish fry looked great! This week I’ll try to replicate at home.

Best guess: Marinate skinless white fish (cod?) fillets for an hour or two in a mix of yoghurt, tandoori spices (shop bought ready-mix), lemon juice and chopped chilis, then just pan fry in a little oil for about 5 minutes a side, incorporating the marinade and a splash of water if needed. Chopped cilantro to finish.

I’ll report back.


Yogurt and Tandoori seasoning are both used in North Indian cooking. Kerela is in the South. I would guess the fish is marinaded in red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt maybe some lemon juice and/or grated ginger. I do south indian style fried fish similar to this to eat with rice and dal (yellow lentils) but its more of a dry fish fry as I don’t add copius amounts of coconut oil like this. :wink: I either shallow fry it or throw it in the air fryer. I normally don’t add curry leaves to fish fry (but I do with chicken, go figure) but I’ll have to try it like this soon.

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I posted having watched the vid. in my office without sound, but now I’ve listened too, and I may adjust my approach (e.g it looked like water being added, not what I now know to be coconut oil). I’m currently sitting in Madrid, so I need to make do with available ingredients. Certainly no curry leaves in any of my local shops! Probably Wednesday’s dinner.

including eating raw, fresh, green peppercorns in Kerala at the 21:20 to 22:20 mark in the video:

from youtube:

In Kerala, especially in the backwaters area, coconut toddy is a very popular local beverage, and there’s an entire South Indian, Kerala, culture that revolves around it - including very spicy food. I was thrilled to have a chance to learn about the coconut palm toddy culture of Kerala, taste some toddy, and especially eat some food to pair with it.

from youtube:

Kerala, India - Another special food day in Kerala, India! Ebbin (…) invited us to his family friend’s home. We also met up with OMKV Fishing (…). We started the meal by making a local Kerala style of biryani - and not with rice. This is the first time I’ve ever had biryani with something other than rice, cassava. The cassava was cooked separately at first, then combined with beef ribs, and a host of Kerala spices, and made into a mash of cassava, meat, and spices. It was incredibly delicious. #IndianFood #Kerala #India

Interesting I just binged on Mark’s Mexico series some of his Chinese and Thai segments, very interesting. my wife and I got a kick out of his wait for it wait for it moments when he takes his first bite then you get the sound effect and then his eyes rolling and trying to pop out of his head with joy. I worked in the outdoor adventure national TV business for almost 20 years things have sure changed.
The equipment cost for us to go out and shoot segments was closer to $50,000 versus a couple thousand dollars like what Mark uses. We were paid well but nothing like what Mark makes he’s worth millions.

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It is amazing. Have you seen his 12 or so Pakistan episodes from about a year ago? Wiens’s main camera is a $1500 Panasonic GH5 micro four-thirds body with a $1000 wide Panasonic Lumix 8-18mm lens…

The most courageous travel work I’ve seen is a New Zealander named NIck at Indigo Traveller who has recently been to Iran, Iraq, Somaliland, Afghanistan and Venezuela.

Hi Zippo1, I just started watching Mark a few days ago. The first thing I did was look at his equipment list. I built a very similar equipment list minus the lumix for a shoot in Africa back in 2017. I have recently been encouraged by some friends family and ex co-workers to do something similar about food since I travel from time to time and am always on the hunt for hole in the wall, unknown to me and ethnic foods
I would literally have to retrain myself not to be bothered by trying to set the shot up making sure lighting is proper and making sure that every shot is framed properly.
Basically old school stuff from doing shoots that had high production value and cost.
Thanks for the heads up about his other food travels I’ll definitely be watching them take care zippo1.

I watch a lot of food and travel youtube and it seems like almost all are of the run-and-gun style using handheld light video cameras such as Panasonic and Canon with some smartphone, and small portable led lights indoors when needed. Editing styles across the channel have become more energetic, see, e.g., emma chamberlain, Dan Mace, Casey Neistat, bestdressed. Even Bourdain’s last show had a New York 60s experimental film-look to it.

Some of my favorites are -

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Poop I just deleted my post lol!

Zippo1 this a starter kit I built for a friend to use in his machine shop to make tutorials for students. I built this minus the phone for about a hundred bucks.

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