My fabulous platter of scrumptious curries and such!
Like many other cuisine, Indian cuisine is also sectioned into north and south with each one depicting unique flavors through their uses of spices. I enjoyed Indian food for its curries and bread, which I find fascinating in savoring various spices all harmonized through each recipe. Apparently southern Indian cuisine is spicier than northern and has liberal use of coconut milk for a creamier edge. Southern part also offers more vegetarian dishes and offers a great presence of rice and lentils.
I had the honor of discovering a dark horse in Kampung Jawa, Klang, where Anna Brahma Restaurant offers an extraordinary southern Indian cuisine in its humble abode. The owner, a gentle and really sweet young business entrepreneur, Vysnavi R. helmed the restaurant together with her husband and brother. It is here that she shares her passion for cooking and takes great pride in churning out sumptuous and authentic south Indian dishes to tempt her customers!
When questioned about her passion and what makes her want to open a restaurant, Vysnavi spared no qualms about sharing her love of cooking and her passion to ensure that her family recipes are handed down in her family and that her dishes could be savored by everyone. It’s a lot of hard work involved in any restaurant business and only with passion and devotion with a lot of determination can this industry survive. Vysnavi and her team get up early in the wee hours of the morning and only close late into the night. With such devotion and passion, I felt such honor and respect for Anna Brahma and Vysnavi.
The restaurant is basic with minimal décor but it guarantees great food and drinks to even please the discerning crowd. Bright and cool, the place is minimally dressed with pictures of its offerings and a huge selection of food and drinks.
Food is all prepared by hands without modern gadgets and there is plenty of hard work and strength involved. Seen here are the makings of our favorite Malaysian bread, roti canai or prata!
The kaleidoscope of dishes we tried is mind boggling that day! In fact, food was so awesome, we stayed there half a day chatting with the owner on her pride and joy.
In any Indian restaurant or coffee shops, a great cup of Teh Tarik is a must! Here, the pulled tea is a delicious concoction of strong brewed tea laced with creamy milk and a layer of foam. The tea is so good, only the super sized cup will satiate your thirst!
Drinks here are decently prepared with none of those diluted version. I also tried a very interesting range of tea and coffee in the form of Sukku Malli and Madras.
Sukku Malli Tea or Coffee is essentially a south Indian drink of tea or coffee spiced up with dried ginger and coriander seeds. The spices are steeped in the drink and is said to have health benefits in relieving minor ailments such as colds, cough, sore throat, headaches and more. Nicely spiced up!
Madras Tea or Coffee is actually tea or coffee jazzed up with fresh cow’s milk. Love the various variations of tea & coffee here… J
In no particular order, let’s dive in a very unique dish of Upma that is made from semolina or suji. This breakfast of champion dish is jazzed up with spices for flavors and is often eaten in the morning or afternoon as a snack. There are many versions using rice, durum wheat or even sago depending on geographical area it comes from.
Fried Bittergourd is an ultimate must-have for me in my Indian fare as the thin and crispy gourd slices add a charming and bitter twist to my curries. The ones here are coated with turmeric for that charming tinge and were nicely fried to a crisp!
Puri or Poori is a fried Indian bread less famous than its cousin Roti! I like Puri when it’s fresh and hot as the crispy and light bread soaks up curries like a sponge. This bread is hollow and makes a good ‘pocket’ for mopping up dhal or Potato Masala. The Potato Masala here is cooked till the chunks of potatoes ‘melt’ and produce a thick and creamy curry. Curry leaves, onions, herbs and garam masala aromatized the curry which is not spicy at all.
There were two mutton curries featuring a Chettinad Mutton Curry and an Australian Mutton Varuval. Vysnavi used local mutton to prepare the dark Chettinad curry which in return yielded a soft and tender meat and has a list of spices which includes cinnamon, star anise, coriander, cumin, fennel and cardamom. In fact, I was really surprised at how tender our local mutton is and the spices were nicely balance without being overpowering. On the other hand, Australian Mutton Varuval portrayed a deep and rich curry spiced up with garam masala. The imported mutton was definitely less tender than the local one but the flavors were spot on.
Whenever I crave for Indian rice, I must have a lot of fish curry gravy to ‘flood’ my rice. Lucky for me, they had a Mackerel Fish Curry which was superbly creamy and lusciously rich. Pieces of fresh mackerel and round eggplant pieces was cleverly cooked with medium thick curry of green chilies, shallots, spices, turmeric and curry leaves. The creamy curry was really fabulous and no doubt, I flooded my plate that day with lots of this gravy!!
Chicken Masala was also present but it did not leave a lasting impression compared to the other curries I had. Decent and fairly creamy, the chicken was tender and flavorful enough.
Dhal Curry is another winning one! Thick, creamy, and mild, it was really hard to stop eating this with the breads.
I never had Pickled Brinjal before but after one taste and I am hooked! Fried tender pieces of brinjal was pickled with fresh onions, green chili, curry leaves, coriander leaves, spices, vinegar and sugar. The concoction was just a heavenly taste of sweet and sour with aromatics supporting its flavors. I simply could not get enough of this… J (I must get my hands on this recipe!!)
We also had a Stir Fried Spinach with Dhal and Coconut. A simple vegetable dish filled with lots of different textures. OK lah…give me the Pickled Brinjal anytime!!
Mint Rice and Briyani Rice had me satisfying my carbohydrate addiction and it was truly difficult to stop consuming these flavorful carbs. Mint Rice was new to me and the rice was freshen up with fresh mint, raisin and cashew nuts. Briyani Rice tasted average… probably because I prefer the refreshing Mint Rice. Pappadum was deep fried till crisp and no oil trace was detected.
Vadai (Vada or Vade) is a common street snack made from lentil, gram flour or dhal. These savory doughnut shape snack is beefed up with chilies and spices before deep fried. The outside crisp layer holds a soft and course texture inside and is usually savored with chutney or Sambar. Vysnavi makes a lovely fruity and pungent Mango Chutney and Coconut Chutney to go with this snack… yum!
We actually hit the buffet of desserts despite being filled up with the dishes! Indian sweets are very attractive in presentation and I was just amazed at what was offered that day…
Mysore Pak is made from gram flour, sugar and ghee. Cut into various shapes, this sweet dessert has a brittle texture and is really sweet and rich. I could only manage a little bite of this one. Jilebi, also made from gram flour, wheat, sugar and ghee with some coloring, is a deep fried pastry which is left to soak in sugar syrup to produce a somewhat chewy texture with a crystallized sugar coating. Pretty to look at but again too sweet for me! Laddhu is little colored balls of chickpea flour or wheat semolina cooked in ghee and usually makes its appearance during festival events. Murukku is more common to me and I definitely felt more at ease in chomping away these crispy spicy treat!
We were also treated to Payasam, a rice pudding made from rice or wheat semolina with milk and sugar. Nuts, sago and raisin provided the texture to the creamy silky thick pudding. The dessert has a gorgeous aroma and again a very sweet taste so I only managed to try a little of this.
We stayed on as mentioned and after much chatting, we got hungry again… hahaha! Guess what… more food! J
I thought the earlier dishes were hard to beat but let me tell you how good Anna Brahma’s fried rice is… Nasi Goreng Anna Brahma, a house signature by Vysnavi, is a plate flavor filled with fluffy rice kicked up a notch with chilies, onions, garlic, curry, spices and more. Bits of egg and vegetables added another level and I polished this off happily.
Nasi Goreng Sardine was equally fabulous! Who would have thought to pair rice with mashed up sardines? The rice was a bit wet from the sauce and the sardine flakes added a truly distinctive touch… I am so gonna try to do this at home!! (If I fail, all I have to do is go back to Anna Brahma for a plate of this scrumptious fried rice…hehehe)
Vysnavi also does a mean plate of Indian Fried Meehoon. Anchovies, tofu, cabbage, chili and more are the basic essentials that make this plate different from others.
Can you believe that Anna Brahma serves Curry Mee? Apparently, customers come here especially for Vysnavi’s Curry Mee which has thin gravy and is served in a claypot to keep it hot!
Overall, Anna Brahma is definitely a hidden gem awaiting its glory for discovery! The dishes have a beautiful harmonious spice balance and flavors are truly exceptional. It takes a lot of experience to produce great Indian dishes. One definitely needs to know how to control the amount of spices to produce distinctive curries and chutneys and owner, Vysnavi, has mastered this to perfection! Prices are very affordable and reasonable as the quality is very notable here. Truly authentic South Indian fare at its Best!!
*Catering is available as well.
Anna Brahma Restaurant
Lot 1434B, Jalan Sg. Jati
41200 Klang, Selangor
Tel: 603 3374 8831
Fax: 603 3372 9929