Friday, July 10, 2009

Banana Leaf

To quote my best friend Jan: "Eating banana leaf when I was visiting Malaysia was one of my top 10 favourite food experiences ever".

I have to agree that there's something about it that makes it a meal that every once in a while I get such strong urges for that I think it must be laced with some kind of drug! Sometimes my tummy churns and grumbles in a way that only banana leaf can satisfy...and yet it's such a simple meal served on a large banana leaf instead of a plate...

All it is is rice topped with a curry of your choice (Chicken, Fish, or Dal)...I always go for the fish curry without fail...three different veggies of the day...for the one pictured above it was the battered deep fried bitter gourd, spinach cooked with some spices, and chopped cucumbers with yogurt... as well as a side of papadam (this is to indian food as what fries are to American food). This is the basic banana leaf meal and then you can choose to add on whatever meat of your choice...a variety of fried fish...chicken cooked in many different styles...rich mutton curries...squid or prawns in sambal...the choices are endless! I however enjoy banana leaf rice in all it's simplicity...I always opt for the basic.

You can choose to eat this with a fork and spoon...but to get the most out of the experience eat it with your hands like it is meant to be...it somehow tastes much better when eaten with your hands...it's difficult to describe what it is about this meal that makes it so wonderful...maybe it's the intermingling of all the different flavours and textures...the crispy battered bitter gourd with the spicy curry soaked rice and a cooling crunch from the cucumber...maybe it's the fact that you're eating with your hands bringing back that feeling of being a child picking up your food and just enjoying it without thinking of etiquette and grace...whatever it is...banana leaf is one of those meals I have to have at least once a month...

My two favourite spots are Kanna's Curry House(No 29, Jalan 17/45, PJ) and Nirvana's(Bangsar right across Bangsar Village II).

Gosh...after writing this I think I know where I need to go for lunch...

Warning: Do not consume if you have to work or stay alert at a meeting after eating...this meal has the tendency to put you in a delicious food coma. It really must be a drug!

7 comments:

Carol said...

indian rice!!! lol! ... i love banana leaf! i have it at least once a week! it's simple yet soo filling and tasty at the same time... YUMS!!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I've always liked the novelty of eating off banana leaves but I've never tried eating with my hands-yet! Sounds like fun :)

thenomadGourmand said...

come la babe..u stil owe me a trip for cakes..now let me take u to PJ atr BL place..really much beter than Kanna's but i do agree Nirwana's one is good too!
Ohh the place is Kavitha's..near Jln Gasing

burpandslurp said...

I totally agree. I think everything should be served on a banana leaf. When I was in Singapore, one of my favorite things to eat was briyani and curry and pappadums served on banana leaf. Also, don't forget otah-otah! Drool...

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Carol - Oh yes it's the best! But I can't do it every week...it's a bit too much for me...hehe...

Lorraine - Try it! You'll have so much fun...and the food just seems to taste better.

TheNomadGourmand - Yes I would love to try it out...when do you wanna go?

BurpandSlurp - mmm..yes briyani is also sooo yumms!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

That sounds marvellous! I love having yoghurt with curry, and cucumber makes it extra refreshing. I've never eaten curry with my hands, and I'm terribly messy eating with my hands even with things that are wrapped up. It does sound like fun though.

550ml jar of faith said...

Oh yes, there's something absolutely intoxicating about banana leaf rice! And once you pop, you can't stop!! Eat only when you can siesta the whole afternoon post lunch!