Simple thosai (dosa) and teh tarik for the soul in Petaling Jaya (PJ), Malaysia
By Lee Khang Yi Malay Mail Sunday May 27, 2018
Enjoy a leisurely brunch at this stall with their thosai, idli, chutneys and smooth teh tarik. — Pictures by Lee Khang Yi
PETALING JAYA, May 27 — Good thosai and chutneys are hard to come by. Head to this nondescript stall located at Jalan Penchala food court in PJ to find thosai so good it has kept the business going for more than 25 years.
Meet Batumalai A/L Palanigoundan and his wife, Malliga who run this stall. I wouldn’t have found them if it wasn’t for my friend Debbie Teoh who has been eating here for more than 20 years.
The food is skilfully made by Malliga who was originally from India. Cooks will attest that the simplest things are the most difficult things to cook. The menu here is strictly no-frills. Just thosai and idli. Come early, as by lunch time, it’s usually all finished. Previously, they offered mee gorengbut as the couple grew older, they decided to stop since it is more work.
By default, you’re served the crispy thosai. Here, the batter is spread thinly over a hot griddle. Malliga will even scrape off any excess batter to ensure it’s paper thin. Eat it when it’s served to you to savour the thin, crispy texture.
For those in the know, ask for the other version… the softer one. Known as thosai rumah, making these pancakes are part of the daily routine in an Indian household, as these spongier ones can be kept and eaten later, when you’re peckish. Even though it uses the same batter, you can taste the flavours from the fermented batter of rice and pulses in the softer version.
And of course, your thosai and idli must be accompanied by the right sidekick. Without a good chutney, it falls flat. Here, you are served with a red or white chutney. Or go for both, swirled together to make a pretty pattern.
You will notice that the coconut chutney has a nice, light flavour. It’s totally unlike that served at the other stalls. Most often their chutney is quite pungent from overcooking the coconut milk until it splits into oil. Here, the trick is to just gently mix the fragrant spice paste with the blended grated fresh coconut without heating it up. The spice paste is a combination of soft cooked chickpeas, ginger and chillies. You will also find mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried chillies flavouring the chutney. The red chutney is a combination of tomatoes, onions and chillies with a little ginger. Malliga also insists that only Australian dhal is used for this chutney as it’s so much tastier.
Order their teh tarik. You won’t regret it. You may find you cannot stop drinking the smooth, not-too-sweet concoction (I had two large glasses!) If you prefer a stronger taste, go for the teh halia, anointed with a squeeze of fresh ginger juice.
Batumalai tells us he picked up his tea-making skills from an Indian native who used to work here for 40 years. It’s through him that he learned how to play with different milk to produce a great cuppa without any sugar. However as more modern tastes prefer a sweeter version, he uses sugar nowadays to fit preferences.
If you prefer a more substantial meal, look towards to this stall for mutton curry, fried fish and rasam.
Should you prefer a more substantial meal, look towards their neighbours. Two doors away, the stall offers an assortment of fried fish, chicken, curries and vegetables. We sampled their mutton curry that is tender and tasty. When it’s not Ramadan, Debbie recommends the Malay stall next to them.
Stall No. 7,
Stalls at the end of Jalan Penchala
Petaling Jaya Old Town
Open: 6am to 6pm
Closed on Sunday
Note the stall will be closed from June 1 to 10
From: Malay Malay (Malaysia) Sunday May 27, 2018