Sunday, April 11, 2010

Indian Food

Malaysia, with its three primary races (Malay, Chinese, and Tamil Indian), has a great variety of food choices on offer: Malay, Chinese (many styles), Thai, Indian (North and South), and the occasional western style. Having tried all styles, our favorite is easily that of Indian food, both northern and southern cuisine. Of them all, my favorite is biryani rice (nasi briyani in Malay; sometimes nasi minyak = oily rice) with spicy chili chicken (ayam varuval).

Eating out with a Malay friend recently, I had the nasi briyani with spicy chicken while he opted for what is called banana leaf rice (nasi daun pisang) because the white rice and condiments are served on a clean banana leaf. The briyani can also be served as such, but I opt for the steel plate for personal reasons (I don't want food spilling down into my lap!).

I also opt for a dried chili that has been marinated in yoghurt for two days, dried in the sun (or oven), and then deep-fried until crisp. One or two crushed and distributed over the rice adds a bit of heat, but more importantly a nice burnt flavor. I still cannot pronounce the name of the chili (though several Tamil have tried to teach me), but one of my Indian cookbooks calls it moru milaggai (marinated yoghurt chillies).

Several years ago I purchased a great book which describes how to prepare the South Indian style of food.  The South Indian Cookbook (what else could it be titled?) by Devagi Sanmugam gives recipes for authentic Indian food. Although seemingly unavailable on, there are several alternatives.

South Indian Cookbooks

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