How does kuzhimandi suddenly turn deadly? Know these facts

To prepare mandi, rice is slow-cooked in the marinated meat stock immersed in a clay pit. Photo: Shutterstock/msalbarid93

A woman died and around 187 people were hospitalised after they suffered food poisoning at a Thrissur hotel, recently. The villain in the story is yet again, the much-loved Yemeni - Kerala dish kuzhimandi. While there are reports that the mayonnaise served with it was also spoilt, many fingers are being pointed exclusively at this delicacy, which has faced the blame for similar incidents in the past too. 
Mandi cooked inside a clay oven or a small pit. When the delicacy reached Kerala, it became kuzhimandi as 'kuzhi' in Malayalam means a pit. The dish also has a distinctive taste and is considered less calorific. Its ingredients are biriyani rice, large chunks of chicken or mutton, mandi condiments (Arabian spices) dried lemons and saffron. In Kerala's version, to enhance the taste, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cumin, bay leaf, and some coriander powder are also added. 

When does mandi turn stale?
To prepare mandi, rice is slow-cooked in the marinated meat stock immersed in a clay pit. Chicken or mutton is kept on top and the cooked rice goes to the bottom. As the meat gets cooked, its juice drips down and flavours the rice. But you need to be careful while preparing the dish. Arabian grilled dishes require a certain temperature while cooking. And you can’t grill them at high temperatures as only the exterior will be cooked. If the meat is not fresh, that can cause problems for your health.

Hygiene is extremely important while cooking non-veg food items. Sometimes, at eateries, they use grills to cook the meat one batch after the other. Often, they don’t remove the fat that drips from the meat before going for the second batch of grilling. They also don’t clean the grills when they start it all over again the next day. The food prepared in such conditions can be toxic and result in food poisoning. Mayonnaise is yet another villain. Since it is made of raw eggs, there are more chances of mayonnaise causing food poisoning. To avoid salmonella, eggs should be washed properly while preparing the mayonnaise. 

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