Gift From The Heavens

It is very much true when I (or anyone else, for that matter) say that there is much more to Indian food than just roti prata and curries. And then, there’s Heavens and their divine (no pun intended) offerings.

These folks certainly know what they’re doing by concentrating on Indian classics; namely putu mayam (also known as idiyappam or string hoppers) and appam. The former is a steamed flour concoction – whose uncooked texture and appearance closely resembles Play-Doh – which undergoes a seemingly magical process as it is compressed into a wooden mould, force-pressed through tiny holes at the opposite end, and exits as a vermicelli pancake (of sorts) under the deft and watchful eyes and hands of the maestro. The two pieces of moist, fluffy and piping hot putu mayams were complemented beautifully with generous spoonfuls of shredded coconut and red sugar.

The appam starts off as a liquid batter made from a fermented rice and coconut milk. A ladleful is skillfully poured into a heated bowl-shaped pan (sort of like a mini-wok, if I could call it that); and spread around the surface of the pan, while the excess is allowed to sink to the middle. Covered for about 5 minutes (or so), the outcome yielded a browned and crispy “outer radius” while the middle rose and expanded slightly to a soft and moist texture. Accompanied once again by the shredded coconut and red sugar combo, this number lived true to its name; simply – pardon the pun – heavenly.

A chat with the man behind the stove revealed that he is one of the sons of a lady who (still, after more than 10 years) helms a renowned hawker stall in Ghim Moh (Heavens Indian Curry). The stall moved from its former home in Bedok to be under the Kopitiam conglomerate, and he further adds that they have another stall in western Singapore at Jurong Point’s Kopitiam’s outlet. It may take some time, but I’m pretty sure they’ll have a similar cult following as they did back in their Bedok stall (they usually sell out way before their stated closing time).

Seeing these unpretentious but absolutely delightful snacks made-to-order right in front of my eyes made it all the more exciting and pleasurable to consume, and I was more than assured that the food (as well as the people manning the operations) were the real deal. Dedication to such traditional and no-shortcut-techniques are hard to come by in modern times, more so with the abundance of convenience/instant foods and “just-add-water” everythings. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his name, but I give kudos to him and his family members for continuing the legacy of their mother and not let another family (and possibly national) heirloom end up only as texts and images in the pages of history. So if you’re in the mood for Indian food, but want something else other than roti prata, curries and briyani; these treats sit at the top of the “must-try” list.

However, in future, I just have to remind the glutton in me not to order too much, so as to avoid feeling ridiculously stuffed and bloated like I did during this this visit. *Guilty as charged*

Heavens Indian Snacks
Kranji MRT Station Kopitiam
960 Woodlands Road
Singapore 738702
Opening Hours: 7am to 7pm
Reated reads:
First hawker centre managed by social enterprise shuts doors
Life harder since closure: Ex-employees of social enterprise food centre that closed

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