Saturday October 22, 2011
Lure of South Indian favourites
By EDMUND NGO
Photos by LEW YONG KAN
FOOD lovers often travel far and wide in search of tasty meals but when his search for authentic South Indian dishes seemed somewhat futile, K. Sugathan did the next best thing — he opened a restaurant of his own.
“Many restaurants in Ipoh serve dishes infused with local elements to appeal to the Malaysian palate, rather than preserving the original flavours.
“It was tough trying to find a restaurant with authentic flavours.
Wide variety: (Left) Sugu and one of his chef displaying the various South Indian dishes available.
“So rather than continue to be frustrated with the situation, I decided to set up my own restaurant,” said 63-year-old Sugathan.
After months of research, travelling to South India, and time spent searching for capable kitchen staff and chefs and of course, a choice location, Passion Curry House finally became a reality in March this year.
Sugathan, who is known affectionately to his customers as Sugu, said he was fortunate to have met a team of four excellent chefs with different areas of expertise and who were willing to work in Malaysia.
“I had met them on one of my trips to India.
“After seeing how well they worked with each other and tasting their creations, I knew at once that this was the team for my restaurant,” he said.
He said the four master chefs, who had previously worked at a prestigious hotel in Kerala, comprised of a tea master and a ‘roti’ master while the other two specialised in curries and various main dishes.
Located at Taman Panorama Lapangan Perdana near the Shen Jai High School, the restaurant is popular for its Kerala Fish Pollichathu where a whole fish is marinated with tomato and spices before being wrapped in banana leaves, resembling a Nyonya otak-otak.
Ready for serving: The tasty Chicken Kondattam offering bite-size cutlets.
A typical South Indian delicacy, the fish is then grilled on a flat pan to lock in its flavours before being served piping hot.
The sweet aroma of the fish and spices inevitably seduces the nostrils and palate as soon as one peels away the leaves.
Another fish delicacy, the Fish Head Masala, is not to be missed at all costs for fish curry lovers while the traditional South Indian Avial, a mixed vegetable dish, is recommended for vegetable lovers or vegetarians.
The strange sounding Chicken Kondattam is not to be missed as it offers succulent, marinated bite-size chicken cutlets infused with curry leaves and fennel seeds.
Mutton lovers would be most likely left begging for more of the restaurant’s Mutton Vindaloo, a combination of aromatic gravy and tender meat.
“Our chefs create their own special spice concoctions.
“They mix and create the mixtures by hand to achieve the authentic flavours rather than use pre-mixed spices,” said Sugathan, adding that patrons overwhelmed by the different flavours could opt for local dishes, which were also prepared well by the chefs.
For breakfast, an assortment of ‘roti’ including the special ‘paper thosai’ is served.
“We also take special orders of South Indian dishes that are not on the menu but the patrons must order it in advance,” he added.