Singapore is soon to lose one of its great chefs and personalities when Rajah’s Curry closes—its last day of operations is Dec 13th 2015. Mr Rajah is planning on retiring and moving his business to Perth.
Mr Rajah is the man who revolutionised South Indian cooking in Singapore in 1972 by declaring “No MSG, No Coconut Milk and No Yogurt in any of his cooking”.
Though he has a broad repertoire, and his fish head curry is justifiably popular, I want to focus on my favourite dish.
There are many expressions of squid ink around the world—in paella, pasta, risotto, and more—but for me it reaches its apogee in squid ink curry. I am partial, however, to the intense South Indian variety, not the much milder Malay sotong masak hitam.1
It delivers a roundhouse kick to your senses, as sharp acid notes and fiery spice, from the various chillies and the black pepper, enliven the earthiness of squid ink. Depending on your palette’s sensitivities, it can cause you to scrunch up your face or gasp for air. Often, both.
This is not a dish easily found. Though I first tried it in Malaysia, I actually don’t even know of any other Indian shops in Singapore which make it.2 When I first tried Rajah’s version in 2006, I wanted to cry.