Someone asked me, what on earth is Beriani Gam? How is it different from the regular Beriani (Briyani) rice?
Is it really gum that they use, or what?
Which got me pondering, and I had to do a little sniffing around to find out.
And one thing is for sure, you will definitely need your GPS (at the end of this post, or follow these next few simple directions well), to find this Kafe Beriani Gam Putrajaya. From Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway, exit at the Kajang toll plaza and head towards Putrajaya via the tail end of the SILK Highway. Enter the slip road that runs parallel to the main road. You will notice the Uniten building on your left.
When we were there on a Sunday, there was a food market just outside Uniten. Keep driving and you would be on the right track. Just before this slip road joins the highway, you will see the sign on your left – G.B.P Kafe Beriani Gam Putra-Jaya. Turn left into this road and it will bring you into the restaurant under a zinc roof. Drive further and you will reach a Hindu Temple where there are more parking spaces.
Once you get into the restaurant, you will notice a long row of steel pots and labels above, which clearly tell you what’s in them. Then you have the task of choosing your poison.. what meat should you go for. Incidentally this Beriani Gam (sometimes spelled, Dam or Dum) hails from Johor, and only Johoreans would be able to tell you, how close it is, to the original. I myself, have not eaten a Johor Beriani, so I could not say.
The prices, on the premium side, range anywhere between RM13 for the Beriani Ayam Merah (chicken), to RM28 for the Beriani Rusa (deer). Unfortunately they were out of venison that day, so I had to go for my third choice, the Beriani Kambing. I actually wanted the Beriani Kambing Kusi ( a different cooking style of the lamb) but again they were out of that too. Sigh.. just not my day that day.
So anyway, fate decided that I would take the lamb, and Cumi the beef.
Well, I am happy to report, that for the money you are paying for the beriani, at least the lamb meat is chunky and tender. There is no price discrimination on portion size so early diner gets the bigger chunk. The spices and flavor in the meat and gravy are up to expectations. The rice is a fluffy, long grain basmati rice, that’s cooked along with spices, vegetables and meat. Cumi’s beef was a rich and tender coconut beef stew which is explosively flavorful.
They serve an awesome Dalca (stewed vegetable curry with lentils) here too. Unlike the Indian versions which are normally much more sour and spicy, the ones here were more earthy tasting and with a coconut base. Goes fantastic with the rice!
I’ve always wondered about the origin of biryani. All those theories out there about how the Mughals brought biryani to India sounds a bit far-fetched. I think it’s probably more a pan Indian dish. Because nearly everywhere in India, wherever there is a Muslim community, there is a biryani. Here is Malaysia, it’s got its own version as well.
Rich in spices and rather heavy on the chillies, that’s for sure. The rendang kuah (gravy) that they serve in this case is a typical, spicy, coconut based Malay version. Rich also in flavours of the golden-hued ‘kerisik’ (toasted coconut),onion, ginger, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric and chillies.
And finally, the types of Beriani – some say that “gam” means that the raw meat is cooked with the rice, which is different to that of the beriani where the meat and rice are cooked separately, and then assembled before being finished with steam for a few minutes.
Anyway whatever the origins or the the meaning, there’s nothing quiet like a piece of chunky, fall off the bone tender, cartilaginous lamb, eaten with a massive spoonful of Beriani rice, redolent with gravy and dalca. Nothing. Oh, except perhaps, sucking the marrow out of the bone.. which I always save for last!
And if this hearty meal does not narrow your arteries, then it will definitely give you enough calories to run a marathon, and then some.
The food coma that ensues, can only be thwarted by walking around the food market after.. but merely to have a look. Pretty impossible to fit anymore food in after that full-on meal.
You think the color could get any more psychedelic?
Assortment of fritters with choice of beef, chicken, kalamari, ikan bilis (small anchovies), shrimp, yam or vegetable filling
Edy’s large Murtabak… apparently its legendary
Kacang Pool, popular in the Johor state which has its origins from the Egyptian/Sundanese Ful medames (ful mudammas) fava bean dish
Bread with Potato & Sambal fillingAdd: Kafe Beriani Gam Putrajaya
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