While we have mamak restaurants at pretty much every commercial all throughout the country, it is surprisingly rare to see “proper” Indian restaurants that aren’t the typical mamak style. The difference is subtle, especially when it is a Southern Indian cuisine, but you can always spot the tell-tale sign that beef isn’t on the menu.
Exotic Curry House, at Little India, Klang
While exploring dinner option at Little India, Klang a few weeks ago, we somehow got into this small back lane by the name of Lorong Tingkat largely due to parking situation on the main road and chanced upon this busy little restaurant by the name of Exotic Curry House.
If an eatery is located in an unfavorable location and manage to attract steady stream of customers, experience tells me it will usually be good, so we went right in as the only non-Indian couple that night.
all hail to the mutton murtabak
Exotic curry house offers quite a good variety of chapati, roti, putu mayam, and many other traditional dishes (check the video below for a shot of their menu). I’m a big murtabak fan, so I got myself a mutton murtabak for dinner (RM 10).
Some 10 minutes or so later, the murtabak came, and boy was it a life changing sort of experience!
The roti was thin, meat was soft, succulent, and full of flavor, everything was perfect, and on top of that you get three different curry as condiments. It was just absolutely the best murtabak I’ve ever had in my life.
If you even remotely like murtabak or roti canai, you owe it to yourself to come to this place.
banana leaf rice available for lunch
We went back to Exotic Curry House again a week or so later during lunch time looking for a repeat experience, but unfortunately banana leaf was the only option during the afternoon hours so we had that instead.
It was a pretty good meal which ticks off the right boxes in terms of ingredients served, but I suppose the murtabak has set the expectation perhaps a bit too high. It was good, but not life changing.
Anyway, we’ll surely be back for more chaptai/murtabak. So happy we stopped by this place.
Address: Exotic Curry House 39, Lorong Tingkat, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor GPS: 3.039962, 101.447853
Last week semperna ulang tahun kelahiran Haze Long, we went to Templer Park Forest Retreat for a bit of a getaway (blog post some other time). A place that’s a bit out of the city and more in tune with nature, which also translate to making our own food.
Fortunately, there’s a pretty well equipped kitchen for our usage, and the Selayang market nearby. So on the morning of the 2nd day, we went to the market and picked up a chunky barramundi fish (siakap) for a bit of DIY ikan bakar.
I want to share with you the recipe of this dish, as it is a very simple dish to prepare at home. It’s pretty delicious and the use of banana leaf in this preparation method ensure that the skin is edible and never charred.
home cooked ikan bakar with siakap fish
600-800 gram barramundi fish (or stingray, or any other fish of similar size)
turmeric powder (kunyit)
2 pieces banana leaves big enough to cover the fish
a couple table spoon of cooking oil or butter
ikan bakar with kunyit (turmeric) – sedap!
clean and dry the fish
cover generous amount of turmeric powder and two teaspoon of salt on the fish, set aside for at least a few minutes
heat up a flat surface frying pan, then pan fry the fish on top of banana leaf for 10 mins with oil
fry the other side of fish with a fresh banana leaf for another 8 minutes
serve with a couple slices of lime (bonus: with sambal)
Other than nasi lemak and bak kut teh, one of my favorite local food of all time must be banana leaf rice. My usual fix for this Southern Indian dish is at Kanna Curry House, since it is rather good and pretty close to where I stay. Mell, however, insist that the best banana leaf rice is this particular Restaurant Nirwana Maju at Bangsar.
Restaurant Nirwana Maju Banan Leaf Rice
Nirwana, as the restaurant is commonly referred to, is located at the heart of the most happening area at Bangsar, just right across Bangsar Village on Jalan Telawi 3. Street parking can be a bit challenging most of the time, but parking at Bangsar Village shouldn’t cost more than a couple ringgit for a meal.
fried brinjal, potato, cucumber, with 2 curries and dal
For those who are not familiar with banana leaf rice:
As you can guessed, the standard banana leaf rice is basically a vegetarian dish. However, you can always add fish, mutton, chicken, fried fish roe and squid, and a host of other side dishes for a meal worthy of any glutton.
Mell and KY, deep fried brinjal & papadem at Nirwana
The rice and curry at Nirwana is as good as any that I’ve had, but the really special item here is one of their standard vegetable served that I haven’t come across anywhere else – deep fried eggplant (the green and white type). The crispy yet savory batter and the sweetness of eggplant is a combination that proved to be very addictive, I love it!
Sri Nirwana Maju banana leaf rice is located next to Bangsar Village
Two sets of banana leaf rice with an order of fish or fried chicken and drinks usually come to some RM 15 for two person. Still pretty reasonably priced despite being located at Bangsar. If you love banana leaf rice, give this one a try!
Sri Nirwana Maju 43 Jalan Telawi Tiga,
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.131014,101.670892
Tel: 03-2287 8445
When it comes to sinful meals, banana leaf rice can’t escape to be in the list that also includes bak kut teh and nasi lemak. Good food are usually not very good for the body, and I guess that is what made us we enjoy it so much. If it is something you can have every day, you would get bored of it very fast isn’t it?
Anyway, one of the more famous banana leaf rice in PJ would be Raju’s that is situated next to La Saelle Secondary School just off Jalan Gasing.
they can deep fry everything
Much like most Banana leaf rice places, Raju’s serve all sorts of freshly deep fried stuff to go with the rice on banana leaf accompanying the typical three vegetables and papadum. You can choose from various types of fish, squid (which I love), chicken, fish roe, prawn, and so forth.
There are also other curry dishes, we ordered a plate of curry prawns for the day. Other choices include mutton curry, chicken, and curry squid.
prawn, squid, chicken, and the curry
The condiments i absolutely love when having banana leaf rice is the deep fried bitter gourd and chili padi. After deep fried, the bitter gourd is crunchy and only retain a very subtle bitter taste, goes very well with curry. The chili padi is salty and spicy, acts more like a substitute for a spicy and solid version of soya sauce than anything else, to me at least.
love the deep fried chili and bitter gourd
As for price, the standard banana leaf rice with just vegetables, papadum, and meatless curry would be around 4 or 5 ringgit. However, the bill can really add up when you add in many other side dishes like what we had that day. Few ringgit a piece of chicken, more than 10 for the squid, the prawns, and drinks. It can easily come up to over 20 ringgit per person. I’d say the price at this place is on par with other banana leaf places.
Raju’s is next to La Salle High School
Besides banana leaf rice, you can find many types of traditional indian snacks like vadai here. The tosai and roti canai (also served on banana leaf) are very good here as well.. I also love the outside under-the-tree seatings they have.
If you haven’t been there before, give it a try.
Address: 27, Jalan Cantek 5/13
Off Jalan Gasing
Petaling Jaya GPS:3.101703, 101.653769
One of my favorite Indian food is the banana leaf rice at Kannan’s. They have one of the better set-ups there is; tables under the shade of trees with fresh air and ample of space of the outdoor. There are tables in the restaurant itself too, if you prefer to get inside or when the weather isn’t cooperating.
this place has both indoor and outdoor tables
For the uninformed, banana leaf rice is served, well, on a sheet of banana leaf instead of plates. Three to four types of vegetables is then served on the leaf, with rice and some papadum. There are usually a few types of curry to choose from, and a few other items to alter the taste, such as dried salted chili padi and chutney.
For the dinner, I ordered a piece of fried chicken and a small plate of deep fried fish egg as compliments to the main dish. The vegetables served were fresh cucumber, cabbage, and okra. There were some fried bitter gourd as well. Fish curry, chicken curry, and dal. Overall it was a very satisfying dinner.
the proper way to eat is by using your fingers
The bill came up to less than RM 20.00 for two pax. The banana leaf rice itself was only RM 4.00 per serving, while the other two dishes and drinks made up the rest of the bill. A pretty fair price considering a single piece of fried chicken at KAYU nasi kandar costs RM 6.00.
Here’s the fun part — did you know that there are certain hidden codes you could do with the banana leaf upon completion of your meal? If the food was good, fold the leaf from top down. If bad, fold the leaf from bottom up. And if you fold one corner of the leaf, you are telling the server to charge everything on you and not to bother your guests.
Kannan Curry house is situated near SS2’s Rothman Roundabout