Palestinian and Malaysian food stories at Spiced Pumpkin
Tucked away in a corner of Shah Alam, this dish alone was worth my trip to Spiced Pumpkin Cafe. I discovered a Johor-style Lontong Kering Rendang Daging which had cubes of pressed rice cake, tossed with serunding kelapa (grated coconut floss), sambal tumis, peanut sauce, fried shallots and egg. This came with beef dendeng (dry style rendang) and was DA BOMB as the flavours was akin to a party in the mouth, spicy, sweet, savoury, with so many different textures. A truly rare find as you can hardly find this dry style lontong in Klang Valley. Other choices include chicken, fish or beef paru (lung).
Spiced Pumpkin is run by Mas, formerly a trainer at Concorde Hotel. Her Palestinian business partner opted out due to unforeseen circumstances, but the recipes are still found here.
The other show stopper was Maqlubah Lamb, a recipe from the owner Mas’ former Palestinian partner. (Maqlu means upside down in Arabic). Some 14 different herbs and spices were used, and the portion was huge. The mini was enough for 4, more if you’re small eaters. There are different sizes available and the largest one feeds 8 to 10 pax. The fragrant spice rice had hidden pieces of lamb, as well as eggplant, raisins, peanuts, almonds and a host of other stuff and came with a salad and 2 house-made sauces. The lamb was so tender and there’s so much to savour that every mouthful feels a little different. There’s also a chicken version.
Another worthy of mention is Nasi Arab Mandy Chicken which bears a smokey fragrance. The fluffy rice, tinged with saffron, has been charcoal-smoked and it comes with a generous piece of roasted chicken. Mas educates us that Mandy basically means smoked so if we eat this at other places there’s no smokiness, it’s a fail. We finished every last grain even though we were stuffed as it was so good.
There’s Western food for the younger set too such as Creamy Pumpkin with Beef Bacon, and Spaghetti with Butter Salmon in Salted Egg Yolk. The Salmon pasta stood out especially as there were big and abundant pieces of fish and the salty edge was just nice.
Beware as the signature Pita Nachos Cheese and Tres Quesos PJBB – Pita bread cut into small triangles and fried with spices – are very addictive. With the toppings, they taste a lot like crispy pizza. The pita nachos are sold separately in bottles as well.
Dessert options include Kunafa with Tres Leches, a Middle Eastern treat made from finely spun phyllo threads with mozzarella and cream, orange blossom syrup, dried rose petals and crushed pistachios; Kuih Lopes with Tres Leches and Ice Cream and Sago Pudding with Tres Leche and Gula Melaka. The one thing that didn’t sit well with us was the Tres Leches Cake which had sponge cake soaked in creamy milk. Just too rich, and kinda weird.
Kids will love that the cafe has Butter Beer, and after having tried the one in Harry Porter, UK, I must say wa a pretty good version (though I removed most of the cream). There are also has nice healthy drinks like Lemon Ginger and Swagger Tea, a gojiberry mix for those who prefer less sugary drinks.
Tres Leche Cake
There’s something for everyone here, and if this was nearer home, I would eat the Lontong every week so maybe it’s a good thing it’s not! It’s a great place to bring the family as prices are on the low side as well.
Lot 291, Kompleks KPPMS, 2, Jalan RU 3/9a, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor tel: 019-272 8317