This is a true story.
When Madam Mummy was pregnant with me. She had massive cravings for “Banana Leaf Rice” for many months (three I think!).
She would eat rice with fish curry and relish in it.
My poor Big Sis had to go through it all with her, and up until today, will not forgive me for months of “torture” as she calls it, with eating Banana Leaf Rice.
I on the other hand, revel in it and love it! I blame Madam Mummy 🙂 I can never get enough of it. I’ll have it any each way. Mutton, fish, chicken, lamb, squid, you name it, I’ll eat it with my Banana Leaf Rice.
What is Banana Leaf Rice you ask?
Banana Leaf Rice originated from the South of India. Through the migration of many Indians to Malaysia, it’s sort of become our (Malaysia’s) specialty. There aren’t many places who specialises in Banana Leaf Rice anymore, but those who do, remain true to the South Indian cuisine and are finger licking, lip smackingly good.
The concept is pretty easy and similar to the “economy” rice you would find in most Asian takeaway places, where you get to choose 2 – 3 sides with your rice.
The difference between that and the Banana Leaf Rice concept is, that it revolves around a lot more sides and curries!
During one of my visits to Malaysia, I was staying with my BFF and her Hubbly Bubbly and he kindly asked me what I would like to eat. All of a sudden, as if my life depended on it, I insisted that we had to go get some Banana Leaf Rice, as it’s been years since I have had one.
Luckily for me, we agreed to head out to one of my favourite spots of my childhood days and relive my memories.
Krishna Curry House along Jalan 222 (or Jalan PP Narayanan). It’s been there for as long as I can remember and the quality is still amazing!
Off we trundled on to the Curry House in high anticipation.
At the curry house, the main aim of the game is to peruse the many dishes on offer at the bain marie area.
You then take your pick of dishes you would like to have with your Banana Leaf Rice as accompaniments.
It is quite easy to get carried away when choosing and we often find that we over-order our dishes.
Choices of Deep Fried Chicken, Dry Chicken Curry, Mutton Curry, Fish Curry, Fried Fish, Vegetables (usually eggplant or okra) will usually be on offer.
For the first time, I tried the Fried Fish Roe (which comes with lime), something which I’d always seen people order but never had the guts to try.
Once you’ve made your order and settle back at your table, the fun begins.
A waiter will place a medium to large sized banana leaf in front of you. From there, you will need to choose the type of rice you would like (plain white rice or Briyani). A couple of pappadams are added into the mix as well.
Next, you select (from an unlimited source) the type of pickled vegetables and chutneys they have on offer.
The waiter will then return and offer you a variety of curries you would like to pour over your rice. The choices are usually Chicken Curry, Fish Curry, Mutton Curry or Dhal. It’s also up to you how much curry you want on your rice, but don’t fret. If you need more, you can always ask for it.
From there, it’s a simple two step process of using your hands to eat the rice and grabbing as much sides as you like in that one mouthful!
You have to use your hands, there ain’t two ways about it!
Okay, I lied, you can use cutlery, but where’s the fun in that??!!!
When eating Banana Leaf Rice, one has to use their right hand. It’s a simple process really, and it makes the eating all the more delicious!
You gather a bit of rice in your hand and use your thumb to push the food into your mouth.
Hubbly Bubbly provides a good demonstration with “the eating of the rice”.
Never use your left hand as that is rude and disrespectful! (This is due to the fact that the left hand is often associated with cleaning yourself in the unmentionables when you’re in the bathroom)
One other thing to note when eating Banana Leaf Rice. It’s considered polite to fold the banana leaf over (towards yourself) as a sign of respect and to tell your hosts, “Thank you. That was delicious!”
If you fold it the other way (which I have done mistakenly before), what they think you are saying is, “Your food is horrible and I can’t bear to finish it!”
I do hope that you try your best to get a little taste of this delicious South Indian cuisine on your next adventure!
[Pictures taken from Krishna Curry House during my Malaysia visit]
Krishna Curry House’s Address:
No.18 Jalan 222, Section 51A
46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor