Happy Sri Lankan New Year!

இனிய புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்! සුභඅලුත්අවුරුදක්‌ වේවා! Wishing you a prosperous and happy Sri Lankan New year!

(or, more precisely as people these days tend to clarify – a Sri Lankan Buddhist and Hindu New Year)

A key dish made today is either Kiribath or Pongal. Other snacks made at my home are Paruthithurai vadai, Murukku and Seeni ariyatharam.

DSC00757

Paruthithurai Vadai

Murukku

Murukku

Seeni Ariyatharam

Seeni Ariyatharam

I have requested several friends to share the recipe of a dish that they have made for today in their homes and will be able to hopefully share them (particularly that of kavum, kokis etc) soon here.

In the meantime, I invite you to my short story collection “Waves” book promotion on the Amazon Kindle store. The book can be freely downloaded during the ongoing promotion till 15th noon (Sri Lankan time).

 

Rasavalli Kilangu Kool

Today is a very special day at my home. It is my mother’s birthday.

After quite some time away from the kitchen, I decided to bake something today and as my mother is a snacker, made a vegan date and walnut loaf and some granola bars.

The recipe I am sharing today is a special treat from Jaffna that my mother made earlier this week. This dish is a special breakfast or dessert dish from north Sri Lanka and made from rasavalli kilangu or purple yam (dioscorea alata).

purple yam

purple yam

 Rasavalli Kilangu Kool/ Purple Yam Porridge

Time taken: 20 mins

Serves 3

rasavalli kilanguIngredients:

  • Rasavalli kilanku/ purple yam – 1 small
  • Thin coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 2 or 3 tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch

Method:

  1. Clean and peel the yam and then chop it up roughly.
  2. Cook the yam with 3 cups of water. Once the water dries up, lightly mash the boiled yam.
  3. Add 1 cup of thin coconut milk.
  4. Add 2-3 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt to the porridge.
  5. Let the porridge simmer till the liquid  thickens.
  6. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Vengayapoo Varai

Today’s recipe is one of my mother’s quick and easy to prepare, delicious stir-fried dishes made with onion stalks and flowers/ vengaya poo.

Stalk

Vengaya Poo Varai

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 2

vengaya poo varaiIngredients:

  • Spring onion stalk and flower/ Vengaya poo – 1 cup, chopped
  • Carrot – ½ cup, chopped
  • Onion – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Green chilli – 1, chopped
  • Fennel – ½ tsp
  • Crushed red chillies – 1 tsp
  • Gingelly/ Sesame oil – 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Clean the onion stalks and carrot and chop them into small pieces. Add some salt and keep aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the fennel seeds, chopped onion and green chilli. Fry for 2 mins.
  3. Add the chopped and salted onion stalks + flowers and carrots to the pan. Add 1 tsp crushed chilli and mix well.
  4. Cook for around 10 mins over low heat.
  5. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Brinjal and Dry Fish Tempered

Today we have a special guest on the blog: Jayani Nawoda and her mother. Jayani is a 12 year old kid with a fascination for foreign languages. She informed me that she is learning Japanese as well as French in addition to the Chinese that she is learning with us. She has plans of adding Arabic and Spanish to her language portfolio next year. I asked Jayani why she was learning all these languages and her simple answer, “for my future.”

Anyway, when I saw that her mother always accompanied her to the evening class and waited outside with a snack for her, I invited her mother to share a recipe of one of Jayani’s favourite food on this blog. So, here is the recipe she shared which is adapted from Chef Duminda’s recipe.

Brinjal and Dry Fish Tempered (Jayani’s favourite)

Time taken: 30 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 200g brinjal
  • 50g dry fish (tuna)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 onion, sliced
  • rampe – a piece
  • 2 green chillies (adjust according to taste), chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes (adjust according to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • salt, as per taste

Method:

  1. Cut brinjal into 1″ pieces and mix them with turmeric and salt. Keep aside.
  2. Chop up the dry fish into small cubes.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the dry fish. Saute for few minutes till it becomes browned.
  4. Add the ginger garlic paste, sliced onion, chopped tomato and green chillies, rampe  to the pan. Stir-fry for few minutes.
  5. Add the marinated brinjal pieces. Cook for a few minutes until brinjal pieces are slightly crispy.
  6. Finally add the coconut milk and chilli flakes to the pan. Mix well and cook for around 10 minutes minutes over low heat until the gravy thickens and starts drying up.
  7. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Jayani Nawoda and her mother.

Prawn, Avocado and Egg salad

Today’s guest blogger is Rushda (lìng yīgè tóngxué). She told me she prefers salads when it came to cooking. So, I asked her to share one of her successful salad recipes.

Prawn, Avocado and Egg salad

I like experimenting with cooking and love to take up the challenge in making a dish out of whatever ingredients are available in my fridge when I decide to cook. I would also rather that someone else does the cooking and feeds me than do the cooking myself.

Rushda saladTime taken: 20 to 30 mins

Serves 2 or 3

Ingredients:

  • Boiled eggs –  2 or 3, sliced
  • Avocado – 1, cubed
  • Prawns or baby shrimps – handful
  • Tomatoes – 2 or 3
  • Bell peppers – 1 or 2 (different colours are better)
  • Lime juice – 1 or 2 tbsp
  • Mixed herbs – oregano and rosemary – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Black pepper – ½ to 1 tsp, crushed
  • Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves, crushed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, pinch
  • Vinegar – 1 tsp
  • Olive oil, as required

Method:

  1. Make the salad dressing by mixing olive oil, vinegar, pinch of sugar, mixed herbs and finely crushed garlic. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the cleaned and de-shelled prawns in a non-stick pan on low heat till it is cooked enough. Just sprinkle a bit of lime juice over it while cooking – don’t add water or oil while cooking. After the prawns are cooked and cooled, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and sprinkle some pepper and salt over them. If salt is used here, it is not required to be used again in the recipe.
  3. Toast the roughly cut tomatoes in a wok or pan over low heat.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the boiled eggs, bell peppers and cube the avocado.
  5. Assemble the ingredients on the salad plate, in an eye-catching way.
  6. Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad.

Recipe source: Rushda.

Seeni Sambol

Since I started this blog, I have developed this tendency of asking fellow Sri Lankans I meet  to contribute one of their favourite recipes to the blog. One such instance was when I invited my Mandarin language classmates to contribute to the blog and starting today, over the next few weeks, the guest posts will feature a few recipes shared by my class.

Today’s guest blogger is Hasini Wanninayake. She is currently an international studies undergraduate at Kelaniya university and plans to join the foreign service after her graduation.

Seeni Sambol

This is a side dish that my mother often makes at home. It can be eaten with hoppers, kiribath or in a sandwich.

seeni sambalTime taken: 30 mins

Serves 5 to 6

Ingredients:

  • Onions – 5, large
  • Maldive fish – ¼ cup (optional)
  • Ginger – 1”, crushed
  • Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves
  • Cinnamon – 1 piece
  • Cloves – 3 or 4
  • Curry leaves – 1 or 2 sprigs
  • Rampe  – 1 or 2” piece
  • Sera/ Lemongrass – ½ “ pieces
  • Tamarind paste – 1 tsp
  • Vegetable oil – 4 to 6 tbsp
  • Sugar – 2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Peel and finely chop the onions.
  2. Mix the first nine ingredients (onions to lemon grass) in a bowl with a pinch of salt.
  3. Heat the oil in a shallow pan.
  4. When the oil starts to sizzle, add the mixed ingredients to the pan and keep stirring for 10 to 15 mins.
  5. When the onions are well fried and dry, add the tamarind paste to the pan.
  6. Continue stirring until the ingredients are well mixed.
  7. Fry a few minutes longer until the mixture turns dark brown.
  8. Add the sugar and keep stirring for a little while longer. Adjust salt, if required, before removing from heat.

Recipe source: Hasini Wanninayake.

Kimbula Buns

I think every bakery in Sri Lanka makes Kimbula buns. I first tried it out at my hostel canteen during my Peradeniya years and it became my regular breakfast along with a cup of coffee for the three years that I was there.

Kimbula buns – Kimbula means crocodile in Sinhala, is a crunchy sugar bun roughly sprinkled with sugar and has an elongated shape which earned it the name of one of the largest and common reptile in the country.

Since I enjoy baking the most when it comes to cooking, I decided to try making some kimbula buns. I found a couple of recipes on the web and a couple of weeks ago, I tried out this recipe. While Lani and her daughter Lorena love the milky taste of it, it was not what I was used to or expecting and it simply had too much milk powder.

DSC01084So, today, I decided I would try my own vegan version of the bun, based on Kitchen Cici’s bread recipe that I had tried out and enjoyed, and see if it could come anywhere close to the taste that I was used to. The resulting buns were still not what you would find in the bakery but they turned out good and as close as I got to the actual.

Kimbula bunsHere’s my amalgamated recipe of the recipes mentioned above, with my twist of vegan substitutions:

Kimbula Buns

Preparation time: 1 hour + dough resting time (1 hour + overnight in refrigerator)

Baking time: 30 mins

Makes 10 buns

DSC01115Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour – 4 ½ cups
  • Almonds – a handful, ground
  • Flax seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Margarine – 4 tbsp
  • Brown sugar – ¼ cup
  • Salt - ½ tbsp
  • Instant yeast – 2 tsp
  • Warm water – 1 cup + 3 tbsp

Method:

  1. Add the sugar and yeast to a cup of warm water and let it rest for 10 mins in the mixing bowl.
  2. Roughly process the flax seeds with 3 tbsp water in a blender and transfer the mixture to the bowl. I didn’t process it to a fine powder.
  3. Add the margarine and ground almonds to the bowl. Mix well.
  4. Then, stir in gradually the flour ½ cup at a time, so that there are no lumps, until a smooth dough is formed. I was planning on using only 3 cups but ended up adding another 1 ½ cups so you may reduce or add more flour, as required, to make sure that the dough is not watery or too sticky.
  5. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let it rise for an hour.
  6. Punch down the dough that has doubled in size and transfer to a floured surface.
  7. Roll out the dough in parts, using a rolling-pin, so that it is easier to manage and cut out triangles.
  8. Take each triangle and roll it by hand, starting from the broader end of the triangle and finishing with the tip.
  9. Arrange them on the baking tray and place them in the refrigerator overnight so that you can bake them in the morning.
  10. Preheat oven at 170⁰C/ 338⁰F for a couple of mins.
  11. Brush the buns with melted margarine and sprinkle brown sugar over them.
  12. Bake for about 30 mins.
  13. Serve the buns fresh with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast.

Recipe source: Ahila Thillainathan.