Follow Me To My Favourite Creamy Butter Chicken In Penang
Curry is the Spice of Life
Growing up with a curry loving dad, Indian relatives, friends and neighbors, the inclusion of spices in our diet is only a natural process. My only regret is not picking up Tamil as a youngster, although Dad speaks the language fluently.
In our household, breakfast could range from bread, porridge, noodles, nasi lemak, Nyonya kuehs or dewy soft appam or two smothered in coconut chutney.
When I started working in Tanjung (the central banking district of Beach Street), lunch was a kaleidoscope of choices that ranged from Chinese style chap fun, Hainanese Chicken Chops, the Beef Noodles, Roti Canai and of course that satisfying meal of a banana leaf lunch.
“Follow me to my favorite creamy butter chicken in Penang,” I often tell my friends when they suggest a Friday date night.
How do you eat in an Indian Restaurant?
In an Indian restaurant, the rice, dishes, and condiments are laid out on a green banana leaf, it customary to eat all that deliciousness with your bare hand. (Use only the right hand)
An Aussie friend Charles, who lived for months in India, described it as making love to your food. He is so right in every sense.
I always start with a nice rasam, a spicy sourish soup in a cup to stimulate the appetite and aids digestion.
My rice drenched in curry is a slushed with Tairu (a fresh creamy yogurt) that tempers the spiciness of other dishes.
Dining was different in the 80s
In the 1980s, my colleagues and I would congregate for our Friday lunches at our favorite; Susila Restaurant on Penang Street. A chicken set lunch back then was only RM2.80 before the hike to a dizzying RM3.20!
Nowadays, I have to stay far far away from the mounds of white rice drenched in a spicy curry. Although given, the lure of hot white rice and curry is simple, basic and satisfying.
In recent years I have taken a liking to pieces of bread for dinner and dining at Karaikudi.
With all the gorgeous food defined as a taste of Chettinad and South Indian cuisine along with Northern Indian delights, the flavourful cuisines are addictive. Hence the weekly craving and expanding waistlines courtesy of likeminded visiting friends and even Indian expatriates.
I like to recommend these for a dinner for two which more than enough, eye bigger than stomach rules again.
What are the best items to order?
I seldom order a traditional mango lassi which is a yogurt-based drink with a blend of seasonal mangoes and spices. I find this drink too filling during meal times.
My preference is a Trevail Juice which is an exotic quick fix thirst quencher that gives a warming kick after a long day in the noonday sun or nights up late.
Do you order Starters or not?
Deep-fried vegetables make very good starters. I kid you not.
Karela or Bitter Gourd Chips is a tasty way to serve bitter gourd good for diabetic patients who may not like the taste of bitter. These crispy chips are flavourful and addictive to munch on.
I think Vah Chef’s Kakarakaya Vepudu Indian food recipe using bitter gourd and spices looks really tasty as he makes it with a pinch of sugar to caramelize the onions, spices and fried to perfection.
Dosai, Chapatti, Naan or Briyani, what’s your carb preference?
Most times I prefer Roti, Dosai, Chapatti or Naan to mop up the delicious curry gravy but we tried an egg biryani as Lem only snacked during the day as he was running errands.
The biryani is soft and fragrant; goes well with the dishes.
One of the best biryani I had was the sumptuous Hyderabadi biryani reputed to be cooked in copper pots over a charcoal fire for a far superior taste. Fluffy grains and with the fragrance fit for a King. I remember complaining bitterly when the restaurant in I-Avenue has closed down.
The tasty Rumali Roti is served folded and rolled at Karaikudi. It thin and opens up beautifully like a large handkerchief.
Lachha Paratha is a popular Paratha recipe from North India, made from whole wheat flour. In Punjabi “Parat” means layer, and the beautiful layers can be seen on the Paratha when it gets cooked.
Best Butter Chicken in George Town
We ordered butter chicken and I fancy Karaikudi does the best version in George Town for the price.
Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken is a mildly spiced curry reputed to be created in the kitchen of the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, India. With its roots in Punjabi cuisine, this heavenly dish has two main ingredients ghee and butter aside from masala spices, tomatoes, and tandoori chicken!
Need I say more of its thickening silky smooth curry?
Once I ordered two Palak Paneer
Jade green Palak Paneer is a Punjabi dish of puréed spinach and seasoned with garlic, garam masala, and other spices with cubed paneer (homemade cottage cheese). Beautifully seasoned this “baby’s food” compliments the other curries as well as it is mild.
In Indian cuisine deep or shallow fried vegetable rule the day in terms of yumminess. From cauliflower pakoras, deep fried bitter gourd chips, fried mushrooms masala, and our favorite, ladies fingers, bhindi or okra masala fry, the vegetable are elevated to a crispiness that is both addictive and yes. Fattening.
Do we bother, well no actually?
We do well to cut down on sweet so politely declined an order of desserts. Think Sizzling Brownies topped with ice cream, the saccharine smoky sweetness hangs in the air and clings onto hair and clothes. It is that good washed down with Bru Coffee.
Karaikudi Restaurant (M) Sdn Bhd |No. 20, Lebuh Pasar, George Town, 10200 Penang
Telephone: +604-263 1345 | Business Hours: 11 AM–11 PM