Food is the second most basic need of humans. The first of course, is water. The human body (sorry, I think most of you know this but I think I have to repeat it anyway) may last more than 20 days without food, but only 3 without water. Water has been flavoured and changed in so many ways, but it is still the most beneficial to us in its purest form, which is plain water.
That’s not the same of food. Food has evolved, the way it is cooked, the way it is eaten… The basic ingredients have been transformed to make new attacks and sensations on our palate. Even now it is evolving. Foods from different nations are being fused together to make new dishes, new tastes.
Why am I writing about food? Simply because growing up in a multiracial family has made appreciative of the food that is on my table. As I have mentioned before, I hate spicy food. However, years of merely smelling spicy food have done wonders for my nose. I know when it is seasoned well, and when the dish has been deliberately ‘watered down,’ so to speak.
One instance is Devil Curry. This popular Portuguese dish is red in colour. It is called Devil Curry not only for its deep red colour, but also for its spiciness. It is one of the few dishes that you can actually smell the chillies in them not only as they are cooked, but when they are served as well. I don’t know how it is served in Portugal, but here in Malaysia, it is served with rice or even putu mayam. Both of them are staples. Dishes are served with them to enhance the flavour of the dishes.
Putu mayam is made out of rice flour. Add a little salt, a little water to make it thick and then put it into the mould. The mould consists of two parts. They are basically a long hollow cylinder and the tube that fits into the cylinder. Both of them have handles.
The cylinder has one opening at the top, to allow the tube to enter. At the bottom, holes are poked. A handful of flour is put into the cylinder, the excess put back with the others. The tube then presses the flour through the holes, making thin noodles. The mould is turned as a repeated circle, until the flour is used. The results are then steamed.
This is putu mayam. It’s one of the dishes in Malaysia that is the daily staple food. I have it only once a year generally, because like most of my family members I was raised on mainly rice. I have it during Christmas, with another dish called “Kurma Curry.