The best cook doesn’t need meat to take you to food heaven


Even if I have said it a million times, I’d still say this - Indian cooking has such an intelligent and layered complexity to it. Spices are manipulated across different forms to create a dish. That knowledge of spice is so thorough, so versatile, it reminds me of having a raucous conversation with someone and suddenly in the quiet corner of my mind I go..hmm how intelligent and..sexy!

I recently had vegetarian food at Ganga Cafe, located in Lorong Kurau, Bangsar. Although it has been operational for a bit more than a year now, I’ve not tried the food. I remember shying away from it after learning that they only serve vegetarian food. How dense I was.

Fast forward a few months later, I’m beginning to discover the joys of plant-based food, and visit Ganga I must!

The verdict: Ganga Cafe is The Best vegetarian food because:

  • It inspired me to be competitive. I cooked chickpea curry not one week, or 3 days after, but the very next day because I was inspired to tweak my recipe and incorporate coriander leaves into it, just like Ganga.

  • I hated coriander leaves until I had it in my chickpeas at Ganga. It became clear to me how the pungent smell can be manipulated to bring out more flavour in the otherwise very flaccid peas

  • Ganga’s food made me question why I bother with meat at all, vegetarian’s better!

Use the right spices

When I first started cooking Indian food, I used to buy my spices from supermarkets. And why not, it is convenient, leisurely, air-conditioned - please don’t be a dungu like me. Second grade spices won’t break your dish, but you’d find that your dish will be that much more phenomenal if you use fresh spices.

Enter Little India. I heard that Asokan, in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur sell the best spices, although personally, I have not been there.

But, I did buy my cumin (jeera), coriander and garam masala from Mathavon in Lebuh Queen, Penang. After my heavily curried lunch on Day 1 of my Penang trip, I marched to Mathavon to buy my spices, determined not to miss the opportunity again!

Look at all the rows of spices and dhals, what a beautiful sight.

I’m so glad I bought the powdered spices there because I’ve given my curry a ‘butt injection’, it’s great, why didn’t I do it sooner? I’ve halved my powdered spice consumption and they are only 1/3 the cost of supermarket prices.

If ever there is a chance to visit Penang, and you love cooking Indian food, do consider popping into Mathavon.

Little India, Penang

Mathavon, Little India, Penang

If Singapore, drop by the 24-hour Mustafa. The Uncle Cook’s extra hot chilli powder should be labeled as a WMD, although very essential for chilli lovers. That reminds me, I should stop by Mustafa during my weekend trip to Singapore.

#dhal #chickpeas #indianfood #indianvegetarian #ganga #gangacafe #bangsarvegetarian #littleindia #brickfields #LittleIndiaKualaLumpur #LittleIndiaPenang #Mathavon #Asokan #spicesKualaLumpur #Singapore #MustafaSingapore #LittleIndiaSingapore

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