There are very few Indian Malaysians…or Indians for that matter, in Sibu, unlike in West Malaysia. In fact, I would say there are a lot more in Kuching and I reckon it is for this reason that festivals like Deepavali and Thaipusam are not public holidays in Sarawak.

I guess it is for this same reason too that many people in Sibu are not very familiar with some of the better-known Indian delicacies. A lot of people here are familiar with roti canai as there are a lot of Malay stalls around selling that and it certainly is quite popular. Others may have tried nasi bryani which is available at a handful of places here, but something that many may not know about is thosai.

Thosai is a South Indian pancake. Cooking begins with a batter of rice flour and pulses which needs to be fermented for at least eight hours. A ladleful of batter is scooped onto a flat griddle and quickly spread out by moving the ladle in a circular motion starting from the middle. The batter is left to cook until little holes begin to appear and the underside is a golden brown. Thereafter, it is folded in half, removed from the griddle and served. This is the thin and crispy version, sometimes known as paper thosai. There is the thicker version called “uthappom” that is better at soaking up hot gravy such as mutton or chicken curry.

Thosai 1

Here in Sibu, I think the only place where we can get it is at Balkis – the Muslim eatery in the building right next to the old wooden Sibu mosque (at the Jalan Kpg Nyabor junction). There are three types of dip provided – tomato chutney, dhall and yogurt. You have to eat with your hands…

Thosai 2

…to tear a bite-sized portion of the thosai and dip it in one of the dips…

Thosai 3

…or more…

Thosai 4

…before you pop it into your mouth to eat.

My daughter loves it and on my part, I’m quite ok with it. However, I do feel that some may not like its slightly fermented taste and would very much prefer roti canai or murtabak but I would think that these are considerably more oily and less healthy.

Well, it’s Saturday today…so do enjoy your weekend, everybody! And to Liz, a very Happy Big 5-0 to you…. Do have a blast! Cheers!