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.
So, 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.
Preparation time: 1 hour + dough resting time (1 hour + overnight in refrigerator)
Baking time: 30 mins
Makes 10 buns
- 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
- Add the sugar and yeast to a cup of warm water and let it rest for 10 mins in the mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Add the margarine and ground almonds to the bowl. Mix well.
- 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.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let it rise for an hour.
- Punch down the dough that has doubled in size and transfer to a floured surface.
- Roll out the dough in parts, using a rolling-pin, so that it is easier to manage and cut out triangles.
- Take each triangle and roll it by hand, starting from the broader end of the triangle and finishing with the tip.
- Arrange them on the baking tray and place them in the refrigerator overnight so that you can bake them in the morning.
- Preheat oven at 170⁰C/ 338⁰F for a couple of mins.
- Brush the buns with melted margarine and sprinkle brown sugar over them.
- Bake for about 30 mins.
- Serve the buns fresh with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast.
Recipe source: Ahila Thillainathan.