Mister Paya is a fan of banana leaf rice. Mister Paya said that I am the one introduced him to banana leaf rice but I can’t remember. He fell in love with banana leaf rice since then. For those who don’t know what exactly is banana leaf rice, let me just do a bit of explanation here. Banana leaf rice is a food culture brought over by South indian folks to Malaysia. It is basically rice and a variety of vegetable and meat dishes served on banana leaf and you will have curries drizzled on the rice. I call this combination the amazing balance diet.
In Malaysia, banana leaf rice is a very hot topic for lunch among colleagues, friends and family. It’s always about where to go, which one has the best service, which one has the best fried chicken or maybe go for the one with good curry. And always after lunch, you will be back to office with full stomach and sleepyhead.
When we moved to Sydney, he was determined to find banana leaf rice that is similar to the one he had in Malaysia. We failed. We just couldn’t find the ONE. We have been to a few and it’s known as “Thali” dish here. So far, the one we found was in Seven Hills, Sydney. But still, it doesn’t make us feel like back in Malaysia just yet.
One fine day, I told him, let’s make our own. Let me tell you, it was a very difficult project because there were many elements involved. My first attempt was quite successful. Some misses and some spot on. The star was the fried chicken. It was well marinated with turmeric, onion garlic ginger paste and curry powder. Crisply fried.
My version of banana leaf rice dish consist of rice drizzled with fish curry and dal and three vegetable dishes – masala potato, raita (yogurt with cucumber & onion) and stir fry cabbage. I serve along with fried chicken and fried bittergourd plus a small dollop of mango pickle (store bought).
Mister Paya was very happy. Me too.