There are a lot of condiments, side dishes and curries when it comes to banana leaf. Here we spread the knowledge so the next time you take a bit of those fried long beans; you know exactly what it is called.

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The use of banana leaf to serve food dates back 3000 years from South India. The benefits of using banana leaf are still relevant today as the leaves are packed with the antioxidant polyphenol that helps prevent degenerative diseases. It is also chemical-free requiring just a light wipe with a damp cloth to make it ready for serving food. Plus, it is nice to have a bit of history and culture when it comes to fundamental things such as food.

We took a trip to ANZGAM (Australia New Zealand Graduates Association of Malaysia) Club House to get our banana leaf fix. The restaurant is tucked between the German School of Kuala Lumpur and Istara condominium along Lorong Utara at Section 14, Petaling Jaya. The great thing about this place is that it extends beyond the generic purview at large about South Indian Cuisine.

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SAMBHAR

A Sambhar is a mixed vegetable gravy. Incidentally, the sambhar we had is slightly thicker than the traditional sambhar made at home. It is made with various vegetables like aubergines, carrots, yellow pumpkin together with fresh fried coarse ground spices for that added zing.

CHICKEN KUZHAMBU

The chicken kuzhambu served was an aromatic one indeed. We could tell that freshly ground ingredients and spices were used. Fried curry leaves, onions, red chilies and garlic are tossed with tempering agents such as cinnamon sticks, star anise and fennel to bring out the spicy redolence. Once the spices have cooked, the chicken and tomatoes are marinated in them for intense flavour.

PORIYAL

A banana leaf staple is the poriyal which means fried in Tamil. Shredded or diced vegetables are sautéed together with spices, turmeric and dried red chilies. We were served with a variation of vegetable poriyal from cabbage to okra to cucumber and my all-time favourite, the keerai or spinach.

poriyal

FRIED PORIYAL

The deep fried poriyal that we got were cauliflower, snake gourd and bitter gourd were marinated with a masala paste, yogurt, fennel powder, red chili powder concoction and then deep fried. Absolutely divine when you have it together with beer!

fried poriyal

CHUTNEY

The pièce de résistance of this meal has got to be the secret chutney. Chutneys play an integral part of Indian food. Expect tangy tomato and onion-based chutney for this particular recipe. The owner would not divulge their secret recipe but rest assured the tempering taste of mustard seeds and curry leaves add more complexity to your meal.

RASAM

An aromatic soup consisting of tamarind juice, tomatoes, chilli pepper, cumin, steamed lentils and a plethora of spices to excite as well as cleanse your palate.

rasam

POPPADUM

The crispy disc-shaped chip is traditionally made from black gram flour and a sprinkle of spices to add that much-needed texture to the banana leaf dish.

Where To Eat?

ANZGAM Club House

Lot 3, Lorong Utara B, Petaling Jaya

03-7931 3380
Banana leaf lunch is served from 11.30am to 3pm daily

Vishal Food & Catering

22, Jalan Scott off Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

03-2274 0995

Opens 7.30am to 10.30pm daily

Jaipur Curry House

32, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Petaling Jaya

03-7728 2955

Opens 9.00am to 10.30pm dailyFDZ_9488

Words by Thanabalasingam Balakrishnan
Photos by Fadza Ishak

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