Consultant chef Razaha Harun (left) and assistant chef Rashdi Razaha.

If there’s one cuisine I can never say “no” to, it’s definitely Indian. I love my curries and kurma. Memories of tucking into a gastronomical feast at my former boss’ “open house” during the recent Deepavali remain tantalisingly clear.

I can still recall salivating at the sight of the rich kurma, spicy egg and

prawn sambal, chilli crab and crispy fried fish, to name a few. I left the do wishing that I could have Indian food every

day. Unfortunately cooking Indian food has never been my forte and I’m always on the look-out for shortcuts or easy recipes.

It was like having my prayers answered when I found myself at the Dewina Holdings office in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor recently to sample an Indian spread prepared by former executive chef of Brahim’s SATS Food Services, Chef Razaha Harun.

The affable Razaha has retired and currently works as a freelance culinary consultant. Assisting him for this special showcase was his son Rashdi, who’s also a chef.

“Chef!” I exclaimed in delight upon entering his kitchen. I’d met Razaha last year when he took a group of media on an exclusive tour of Brahim’s SATS Food Services’ kitchen in Sepang. He smiled his acknowledgement, all the while stirring something in a pot that smelt a lot like curry.

My eyes widened in pleasure when I saw all the dishes laid out on the table. There were the award-winning chicken biryani rice, chicken tandoori with flat bread, mutton kurma, vegetable kootu, spicy red sauce chicken, chicken curry, nyonya baked macaroni and cheese with vegetables.

Wait, macaroni? I recall asking the chef, puzzled by the unconventional choice of Indian dish.

“I figured if you want to try something different, you can try pasta but still maintain the traditional flavours. Don’t worry, it’s good. I came up with the idea,” assured Razaha, smiling. Well, there’s no point in doubting his words because if there’s one person who knows Brahim’s flavour profile best, it’s Razaha. After all, he’s worked with the food manufacturers for more than 30 years.

DIG IN

We gathered around the table for the sampling exercise. The spread was certainly delicious but it was the macaroni that I found myself gravitating towards. And the chef’s right. The western and traditional ingredients blended together harmoniously and the dish received everyone’s thumbs up. Some even returned for a second helping.

The mutton kurma was also rich in flavour, with the meat cooked to perfection. It was so tender and the gravy so flavourful that I couldn’t help diving in for more,

this time pairing it with the fragrant biryani rice. The other dishes too were simply exquisite and I was glad that nothing was too spicy.

Suffice to say, I learnt some invaluable shortcut tricks. There’s no need to spend hours slaving over the stove anymore. Here are some of the simple recipes you can try courtesy of the wonderful chefs.

nor.zuliantie@nst.com.my

Nyonya baked macaroni and cheese with vegetables

Ingredients:

300g dices vegetables

(Carrot, Pumpkin, French beans, Capsicums)

50g butter

1 large onion slice

2 red chillies (can use chilli flakes too)

1 packet of Brahim’s Malaysian Nyonya sauce

2 cups Macaroni pasta (boiled al dente)

1 cup bechamel

1 cup shredded red cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Mozarella cheese

Methods:

1. Preheat oven to 200Celsius.

2. In a saucepan heat butter and sweat the onion. Add all the vegetables and the nyonya sauce.

3. Stir in the cooked macaroni and cheese.

4. Mix all the ingredients and place in a baking dish.

5. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.

Increase the temperature to 220Celsius for the last 5

minutes to brown the top.

6. Remove from oven and serve.

Mutton kurma

Ingredients

300g diced mutton (cooked separately to soften)

1 packet of Brahim’s Kurma sauce

1 cup of water

60g potatoes (cube)

30g whole shallot

2 red chillies

Methods

1. Add mutton, kurma sauce and water in a pot. Simmer on

medium heat for 15 minutes

2. Add potatoes and continue to simmer until meat is tender.

3. Add whole shallots and chillies and stir for another minute.

4. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves (optional)

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