A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
I fell in love with Bald Eagle the day he brought me cherry tomatoes.
We were in university then, and were subject to the revolting food served in our halls. I expressed a craving for cherry tomatoes. Unbeknownst to me, he hopped onto a bus and went to the Mall to buy me tomatoes. I had no idea that he had even paid attention to what I was saying, so when he turned up at my door with cherry tomatoes, my eyes were brimming with tears.
His thoughtfulness has carried on through the years. Flowers for no particular reason. Dinner at my favourite restaurant when I least expect it. Breakfast in bed. Coffee in the morning. A cute momiji toy. A book that I’ve raved about. An unexpected text.
As skewed as his thoughts may be sometimes, I suppose everyone should subscribe to Fatboybakes‘ credo, i.e. do not do during courtship what you dont intend to do the rest of your married life, because the last thing one should do is feel that giving ought to be an obligation. It shouldn’t. And I would never expect flowers just because it is Valentine’s Day, and I would never expect diamonds, just because they tell you that it is the only way he can say “I love you” effectively.
Maharaj is the place to go to if:-
1. You’re tired of thosai and idly.
2. You want to dine like a King (they have a couple of huge ornate chairs fit for royalty).
3. You think orange goes fabulously with purple. (it does!)
4. You’ve promised your girlfriend the Taj Mahal but your bank account shows only RM125.26 (including interest).
5. You want to rock your world with a new vocabulary with words like cuchumber.
Cuchumber is, indeed, a word, and it isn’t miss-spelt. Pronounced koo-choom-ber, it is a type of salad made with finely julienned vegetables. The salad is then tossed with lime juice or vinegar and coriander to give it a rather zesty flavour.
If it weren’t for an invitation by Marian Eu (on behalf of the owner, Ilan Govan) to dine at Maharaj, my life would have been incomplete and my linguistic tongue twisters would have been limited to thosai, vadai and apam.
The cuisine at Maharaj is as wide as the motherland. From Goan to Hyderabadi and Ilan Govani (i.e. owner’s variation of classic dishes), you will be spat upon if you requested for something as common as idly (you know…those round white steamed discs). Okay, so spitting’s not allowed. The servers at Maharaj are as gentle as the afternoon breeze on a hot humid rain-less day in Kuala Lumpur. But if you choose to dine at Maharaj, I appeal to you, be adventurous. Try the cuchumber.
Mixed Grill – Minced Lamb, Fish Hariyali, Chicken Kebab, Chicken Tikka, Prawn Kebab. The minced lamb was heavily spiced, masking the gamey flavour of the lamb. The fish hariyali, deriving its colour from green chillies, was less spicy, while the chicken kebab was very tender and far from dry.
Tiger Prawn Tawa Masala. Tawa simply means hotplate. The prawns were slathered with masala spices then cooked on a hotplate, leaving a crust of spices that tasted very much like our Malaysian otak-otak. Very tasty, and probably the most expensive item that night.
According to the proprietor, Ilan Govan, the concept of the restaurant represents a journey of art, culture and cuisine of India. As such, the “rooms” are decorated differently; one painted with haveli windows of Rajastani abodes, another with a mural of the Taj Mahal, and one with paintings of courtyard dancers. Various decorative items are available for sale as well.
Various types of naans – plain, garlic, with sesame and ajwain, kulcha (stuffed) with cottage cheese, potatoes or onions).
Black Pomfret in Masala Sauce. The fish was first deep fried, after which a masala sauce was poured over it. The texture of the flesh was firm, similar to mackerel. Went wonderfully with the breads which soaked up the sauce.
Palak Paneer and Navaratna Kurma. The cottage cheese (paneer) in the Palak Paneer was smooth and firm. An extremely addictive dish. The Navaratna Kurma was new to me. The dish was made with nine types of vegetables and dried fruits and cooked in a cashew nut gravy. When so many ingredients are used, inevitably the dish is a winner.
The food at Maharaj, while not being ambrosial, warrants merit. This is the place to go to when one wants to have a nice relaxing evening in an airconditioned environment and with polite and attentive service. Beers and wine are also available. The restaurant is situated in a bungalow, and there is enough parking space for approximately 30 cars.
59 Jalan Gasing
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7968 5515
Opening hours: Daily, 11.30am to 3.00pm, 6.30pm to 11.00pm (last order)
The pictures above were taken with the Panasonic GF1 (a surprise gift from Bald Eagle). It is such a sexy camera, compact enough to slip into my handbag without weighing it down too much, and filled with features that would rival a DSLR. Needless to say, I’m loving it.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.