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5 Indian dishes doing rounds in Malaysia with a twist!

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Image source: https://www.travelmood.ie/

Malaysia: Roti canai, nasi kandar, Maggi goreng, pasembur and putu mayam are some of the many items that you’ll find at a ‘Mamak’ restaurant in Malaysia, cuisines that have their ‘base’ in India.

The contribution of the Indian community to Malaysian cuisine is enormous. Indian cuisine has had a strong influence on traditional Malay cuisine resulting in the popularity of curries in Malaysia. Indian restaurants are well received by Malaysians from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. They have become an important fixture in everyday Malaysian life and are the venue of choice for watching live televised football matches.

Mamak restaurants and stalls refer to eateries owned and staffed by Indian Muslims. The word ‘Mamak’ is sometimes erroneously used to describe any Indian restaurant.

Unlike Indian cuisine in the United Kingdom and other Western countries which tend to focus on North Indian cuisine, Indian cuisine in Malaysia is largely based on South Indian cuisine as the Malaysian Indian diaspora is overwhelmingly Tamil, although some northern dishes such as tandoori chicken and naan bread are common. Southern breakfast delicacies such as idli, vadai and dosa (spelt in Malaysia as ‘thosai‘) are common.

Here are a few Indian dishes unique to Malaysia…

Roti canai

canai

Traditionally, roti canai is served with dhal (lentil curry) or any type of curry, such as mutton or chicken curry. However, the versatility of roti canai as the staple lends itself to many variations, either savoury or sweet, with a variety of toppings and fillings, which includes eggs, banana, sardines and onion. In Thailand, it is usually served sweet – typical fillings include condensed milk, peanut butter, jam and Nutella, without the curry.

Nasi kandar

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Image source: wordpress.com

It is a meal of steamed rice which can be plain or mildly flavoured and served with a variety of curries and side dishes. The word nasi kandar, came about from a time when nasi hawkers or vendors would balance a kandar pole on their shoulder with two huge containers of rice meals. The name has remained and today the word nasi kandar is seen on most Tamil Muslim or ‘Malaysian Mamak’ restaurants and Indian-Muslim stall meals. Nasi kandar is sold exclusively in Indian Muslim restaurants and the recipes are closely guarded secrets.

Maggi Goreng

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Image source: wordpress.com

Maggi Goreng is a style of cooking instant noodles, in particular, the Maggi product range, which is common in Malaysia. It is commonly served at Mamak food stalls in Malaysia. The traditional way of cooking Maggi noodles is to boil them in hot water and then to add a sachet of flavouring included with the noodles to the water to create stock. However,Maggi Goreng is cooked by stir-frying them with vegetables and eggs. Sometimes, other ingredients such as tofu, sambal (spicy chilli relish), dark soy, and sometimes meat are added. A slice of lime is usually placed at the side of the plate as a garnish. Users also can add an additional flavour such as curry powder or any readily made paste to enhance the flavour.

Pasembur (Mamak rojak)

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Image source: wordpress.com

Pasembur is a Malaysian salad consisting of cucumber (shredded), potatoes, bean curd, turnip, bean sprouts, prawn fritters, spicy fried crab, fried octopus or other seafood and served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce. The term pasembur is peculiar to Northern Peninsular Malaysia. It is especially associated with Penang where pasembur can be had along Gurney Drive. In other parts of Malaysia, the term Mamak rojak is commonly used.

Putu Mayam

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Image source: wordpress.com

The appam is a favourite breakfast dish in Tamil homes. Idiyappam is known as putu mayam in Malay and usually sold by mobile motorcycle vendors. The process for making putu mayam (also known as string hoppers in English) consists of mixing rice flour or idiyappam flour with water and/or coconut milk and pressing the dough through a sieve to make vermicelli-like noodles. These are steamed, usually with the addition of juice from the aromatic pandan leaf (screwpine) as flavouring. The noodles are served with grated coconut and jaggery, or, preferably, gur (date palm sugar). In some areas, gula melaka(coconut palm sugar) is the favourite sweetener.

(The article was originally published in indiaatlargeblog.wordpress.com)

Next Story

Dilli 6: Culinary legacy continues against all odds

Originality, legacy, a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth via social media are taking their businesses forward in times of rising inflation and rapid influx of a variety of cuisines, say Purani Dilli's much-loved street food vendors

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The "Daulat ki Chaat", once served to the rich and the Royals, is a frothy and sublime sweet made from churned milk under the moon only during the winter season. Wikimedia Commons

Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe. There’s also Khemchand Adesh Kumar, who has been selling the sweet winter delight “Daulat Ki Chaat” from his humble “khomcha” on the streets of old Delhi for the last 30 years.

Originality, legacy, a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth via social media are taking their businesses forward in times of rising inflation and rapid influx of a variety of cuisines, say Purani Dilli’s much-loved street food vendors.

“Options have increased tremendously, but true food lovers value the originality and legacy. We have been serving ‘Daulat ki Chaat’ for more than 30 years now. We have a base of loyal customers who travel from far off places just to savour this winter delicacy.

“A lot of kids and youngsters also come to us and tell us that they read about us online. So, considering the quality and legacy of our product, business sustenance is never an issue,” Kumar, who belongs to Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, told IANS.

Also Read: These 10 Food Items are Popular with Indians and not to be missed this Monsoon!

The “Daulat ki Chaat”, once served to the rich and the Royals, is a frothy and sublime sweet made from churned milk under the moon only during the winter season.

“The soft, cottony foam is carefully collected overnight under the dew as it requires low temperature for the formation and is served along with khoya and saffron fresh in the morning,” explained Kumar, who gives a plate for Rs 40.

Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Wikimedia Commons
Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Wikimedia Commons

When he is not selling his seasonal delight in peak business months from November to January, Kumar makes money with a Golgappe and Chaat stall in Burari here.

“Inflation remains a key challenge, but our customer base has always seen a positive trend.

This has helped us cope with price rise,” he said, adding how foreigners find it intriguing and fancy to know about the six-hour process behind the making of “Daulat Ki Chaat”.

Also Read: 4 Startups which changed the face of Food and Beverage Industry in India

For Siddique, the pride in his Bade Miya Ki Kheer business comes from his belief, “We are not just serving kheer, we are serving our legacy of 150 years”.

“Richness of our ingredients and authenticity in the taste, a method of preparation and presentation keep us strong in business. We are moving ahead with time and using several strategies to sell our product and combat inflation.

“There are a lot of restaurants in Delhi which buy our kheer every day from the Lal Quan shop, plate it differently, and serve to their young customers.

Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather's 150-year-old recipe. Wikimedia Commons
Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe. Wikimedia Commons

“This helps us in making good profits,” said Siddique, whose outlet satiates the kheer-craving of two people within Rs 250.

The kheer, he says, is made by using full-fat milk, slow-cooked on a charcoal fire for almost eight hours, with rice and pure ghee. The result is a thick, creamy pudding, full of smoky aroma and a rich golden colour, and sold in dry leaf bowls.

Also Read: Indo-Pakistan Peace Restaurant ‘Sarhad’ to showcase food in Paris at an International food event ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in September

“A lot of people ask us what is that one secret ingredient that makes our recipe cult and we feel it’s “Allah’s blessing” that does the magic every time.”

There’s also Ram Babu Kushwaha, whose winner at his forefather’s eatery Hira Lal Chaat Corner is the “Kulle Chaat ” — scooped out potatoes and other fruits and vegetables filled with delicious stuffing, a recipe he claims to have discovered out of an experiment.

“Our clientele is getting diversified as a lot of young people keep coming to us when they read about us on social media sites. They come to our shop, make videos and click pictures of our ‘kuliya chaat’ which helps in putting a word out,” said Khushwaha.

These vendors were among around 20 old Delhi “chaat-walas” who participated in DLF Mall of India’s “Chaat Festival” in Noida last month.

“We want to introduce our legacy to the modern generation. We feel that is how it will grow. Instead of thinking that mall culture is a threat to our business, why not use them as a platform to reach out to a wider audience?” he added.

Also Read: Being Vegan Good For Environment: Study

Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. (IANS)

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)