Blood Fry Till You Die - My Tryst With South Indian ‘Comfort Food’

Blood Fry
Blood FryImage by Julian Manning

If you think Indian meat eating stops at Chicken Tikka Masala, my friend, you’ve been missing out. The Northeastern and Southern states have always been bastions for hearty meat eaters, with a deep pool of dishes that are as time honoured as they are delicious. So I decided to make a trip to one of Tamil Nadu’s historic Bhavans and try out the coolest sounding non-veg dishes on the menu, Blood Fry.

Boy oh boy, by the time I was done I looked like a hippie version of Dracula. Rice-sized morsels of congealed blood hung from my beard as I slumped over the dining table, my growing gut pressed against the edge of the banana leaf in pure satisfaction.

Image Source: Julian Manning

Tamilan Blood Fry, locally known as ratha poriyal, is Banana Leaf eating 101 for serious, Southern non-vegetarians. Although the idea of eating freshly, pan fried lamb’s blood may make some squeamish, it is a scrumptious South Indian delicacy that highlights Tamil Nadu’s formidable presence as a surefire source of mouthwatering, ethnic cooking.

If the idea of blood as an ingredient is making you wary, it may console you to know that across the globe animal blood is a prime ingredient in communities with a strong attachment to ethnic cooking.

Blood is often used as a thickening agent in French cooking, the limelight ingredient of English Black Pudding, the star of Chinese ‘Blood Tofu’, and the formidable filling of Italy’s biroldo sausage. Most countries that know how to cook, understand the tongue titillating virtues of cooking with animal blood.

Image Source: Julian Manning

Moral of the story being, stir-fried lamb’s blood is a a great way to take a thali to the next level. It has to be prepared fresh, the soft crumbles of congealed blood taking on the flavours of green and red chillies, a healthy handful of curry leaves, garlic, ginger, fennel seeds, and some decorative, bright yellow chana dal.

I’m hardpressed to think of a Southern meat dish I’ve grafted to as quickly. Sadly, Blood Fry is much more of a figure in home cooking than a regular restaurant dish, so I can’t recommend more than one joint to get a perfect Blood Fry.

Image Source: Julian Manning
Image Source: Julian Manning
Image Source: Julian Manning

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