Anaaj is one of the few home-chefs in Colombo who specialises in strictly traditional Pakistani food fare. They like doing things by the book, which means every single detail of your catered meal has been tended to carefully and you won't find any unnecessary twists to each dish.
As with nearly all home-chefs you'll have to call them up beforehand to place an order. It is recommended that you place your order 2 days ahead and in some cases a full week ahead.
Why? Well, some dishes like their Beef Nihari require some time to prepare on account of the entire recipe being a bit of an arduous process.
Unfortunately, they don't deliver. They're located in central Colombo though, so finding their HQ shouldn't be too difficult. We had to go pick the food up at their location and from Bambalapitiya, it took us about 15 minutes.
If you'd like to take a look at their menu, click here.
The Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 1,750) was an explosive combination of spices, saffron infused rice seeping with rich stock and large quantities of equal parts meat and potato.
The chicken was so tender it slipped off the bone. A good candidate for sensual lingerie commercials, honestly. It wasn't spicy, all the spice came from the rice, but it had absorbed just enough flavour to keep you going back for more.
As for the potatoes, they were mushy and soft. A little spicier than the chicken yes, but nobody was complaining because we were too busy stuffing our faces.
You'll find a large capsicum or two buried underneath the rice. I'm not big on capsicum, but if you are, that's an added bonus.
The kebabs (Rs. 660 for a portion of 12) were interesting. There was a rather strong presence of chana atta (gram flour). Tastewise they're rather mild but we enjoyed them all the same.
The texture is silky smooth, real nice to chew on and you get a few surprises occasionally with a bit of green chilli or coriander popping through. Pair with a delicious raita, and you're ready to go.
The Cucumber Raita (Rs. 750) bowled us over with its expensive price tag but it was superbly done.
The raita was creamy, had adequate amounts of onion and cucumber. The best part is that the yoghurt-y flavour didn't come off too strong so this made for a great accompaniment to our rice and kebabs.
*Keep in mind that the raita is made only on request, so you'll have to remember to order it if you want it.
- When you call them up, ask them for more info about their dishes. The lady is more than happy to take you through their menu and give out recommendations.
- Keep in mind that this place doesn't do delivery. Also, the food comes packed in individual containers, so best take a bag with you.
- The raita might be expensive, but it's made on request. So if you really, really want raita with your order, she'll be more than happy to make some for you.
- They really recommend their Beef Nihari and Dahi Vadas , if you're looking for something really rare.
As I stated in one of my earlier reviews, acquiring biriyani – whether bought or made – is no easy task. Obstacles must be crossed before one is allowed passage to obtain such a luxurious dish. If you'd rather skip out on the ordering/picking up, then check out our recipe for Easy Fish Biriyani here.
If you want the authentic, original dish, then call Anaaj.