Brinjal salad

One of the brinjal recipes of my mother that I like is the brinjal salad. Her recipe is an adaptation of her grandmother’s recipe.

Brinjal salad

Time taken: 15 – 20 mins

Serves 2

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Ingredients:

  • Brinjal – 1
  • Chilli or capsicum – 1, chopped
  • Onion – ¼ , chopped
  • Pepper and salt, to taste
  • Freshly scraped coconut – 2 tbsp (Optional)
  • Lime juice, to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the brinjal and then wrap the whole brinjal, in tin foil.
  2. Boil a half-filled saucepan of water and then drop this tin-foil wrapped brinjal in the pan to cook for 10 minutes.
  3. After the brinjal is cooked, remove from the pan and unwrap the foil. Peel the brinjal immediately as it will otherwise be difficult to remove if cooled.
  4. Mash the cooked brinjal.
  5. Add the chopped onion, chilli, optional scraped coconut and the salt and pepper seasoning. Mix well
  6. Add some lime juice and serve with rice.

Note: My great-grandmother used to roast the brinjal, wrapped in a leaf, inserted among the firewood stove so I can imagine that the salad would have had a nice smoky, roasted flavour. So, translated into today’s world, roasting the brinjal wrapped in tin foil in an oven would be the equivalent.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Murungai Ilai Kanji

Update (04/07/4014): I wanted to also share a kanji (soup/porridge) recipe that is popular in Jaffna at the Soups with SS event hosted by Sonal and Shruti

This morning, I will share my mother’s recipe for murungai ilai kanji. My mother makes different types of kanji occasionally for breakfast but I like this one the best.

Murungai Ilai Kanji

Time taken: 20 mins

Serves 1 or 2

Murungai Ilai Kanji

Ingredients:

  • Red raw rice – 3 tbsp
  • Murungai ilai/ Moringa leaves – 3 tbsp, chopped or ground
  • Carrot – ¼, chopped
  • Onion –1 tsp, chopped
  • Bean – 1, chopped
  • Pepper – ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the rice in a pan with 1 cup of water for about 5 mins.
  2. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook for another 10 – 15 mins.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, to taste. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.
  4. Squeeze some lime juice before serving hot.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

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Palakottai curry

This is one of the ways my mother cooks jackfruit seeds.

It is difficult to cut up fresh, ripe jackfruit. When you keep it for 2 to 3 days, it becomes easier to chop and peel the outer layers and remove the fruit. As you pull out each of the sweet and ripe yellow fruit, cut a slit and remove the seed inside and collect in a separate bowl.

Palakkottai curry

Time taken: 20 – 30 mins

Serves 3

Palakkottai curry

Ingredients:

  • Palakkotai (Jackfruit seeds) – 1 cup
  • Coconut milk – 2 ½ cups (thin consistency)
  • Onion – ½ chopped
  • Curry leaves
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the jackfruit seeds.
  2. Put the cleaned jackfruit seeds in a pan and add 2 ½ cups of thin coconut milk. Also add the chopped onion, curry leaves and the curry powder and salt.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes until the curry thickens and the seeds are cooked and soft enough.
  4. Serve with rice or pittu.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Vallarai salad and chutney

The first recipe for today is vallarai salad followed by vallarai chutney. Vallarai/ Gotukola (Centella Asiatica) is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese as well as African medicine. It is said to improve memory and some believe youthfulness.

Bunch of Vallarai/ Gotukola

Bunch of Vallarai/ Gotukola

(a) Vallarai salad

Time taken: 10 mins

Serves 3 or 4

Vallarai salad

Ingredients

  • Vallarai bunch – 2 cups, when finely chopped
  • Tomato – 1 medium or grated coconut – 1 tbsp
  • Chilli – 1
  • Onion – ½
  • Pepper and Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice – 1 tbsp, adjust as preferred

Method:

  1. Wash the bunch of vallarai leaves thoroughly and then finely chop them up and put them in a large salad mixing bowl.
  2. Chop up the tomato, chilli and onion and add to the bowl. For those who don’t like tomatoes, substitute with freshly scraped coconut.
  3. Sprinkle some pepper and salt, to taste and add the lime juice.
  4. Toss well and serve immediately.

(b) Vallarai chutney

Time taken: 5 mins

Serves 3

Vallarai chutney

Ingredients:

  • Vallarai – 2 cups, finely chopped
  • Freshly scraped coconut – ½ cup
  • Onion – ½ chopped
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Lime juice, to taste

Method:

  1. Blend the 2 cups of finely chopped vallarai with ½ cup of freshly scraped coconut, ½ onion and 2 chillies.
  2. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the chutney and mix before serving immediately.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Passion fruit juice

The fresh juice of the day today is passion fruit juice. Passion fruit and Wood apple are two of the most popular local fruits that are used in almost all Sri Lankan brands of fruit cordials and jams. However, rather than consuming the processed version, it is better to go for the fresh juice as it is so readily available here.

Passion fruit has a rich source of Vitamin A, C and iron amongst other nutrients. It is said to boost the immune system, improve vision, lower blood pressure and lower fats and bad cholesterol.

Passion fruit juice

Simply blend the pulp of the fruit, including the seeds, with some water and sugar, to taste (optional), and enjoy the healthy drink.

Passion fruit and banana cake

Last week, when my mother bought some passion fruit, I had mentioned that I had seen a delicious looking orange and passion fruit syrup cake recently on Poppy’s Patisserie. The very next day, my mother had baked a tangy, crunchy passion fruit and banana cake. The crunchiness is from the baked passion fruit seeds inside the cake.

I would like to share my mother’s recipe for this delicious dessert cake today.

Passion fruit and banana cake

Passion fruit and banana cake

Time taken: 1 hour

Passion fruit cake

Ingredients:

  • Passion fruit – 4 large or 5 medium fruits + 1 (for topping)
  • Banana – 1 (local varieties: kolikoottu or anamalu)
  • Wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Semolina – ½ cup
  • Oats – 3 tbsp
  • Sugar – ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (for topping)
  • Low fat vegetable margarine – ½ cup
  • Water – ¼ cup
  • Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Baking soda – ½ tsp
  • Rose essence – a drop

Method:

  1. Sift the wheat flour and semolina together with the baking powder and baking soda. Keep aside the dry mix.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the margarine and sugar by hand, using a large spoon.
  3. Mix the passion fruit pulp, including the seeds, and the oats with the water in another bowl to make a wet mix.
  4. Stir in the wet mix into the bowl containing the whisked margarine and sugar and continue to whisk.
  5. Add in the finely chopped banana and the drop of rose essence into the bowl and mix.
  6. Stir in the dry mix into the large bowl of the wet ingredients gradually.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the baking tray.
  8. Pre-heat the oven and bake at 140⁰C/ 284⁰F for 45 mins.
  9. Beat the pulp of 1 passion fruit together with the 2 tbsp of white sugar and pour over the baked cake, while still hot from the oven.
  10. Serve warm for dessert.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Pittu with Katharikkai

Today, I felt like sharing another of my family’s comfort food. During the weeks that my mouth was wired shut after my road traffic accident nearly a decade ago, the food that I felt like eating the most was pittu and katharikkai vathakkal. It was then that I found out that everyone in my family seemed to like it very much as well.

As pittu is made as either kulal pittu or regular pittu and my mother generally makes the katharikkai (brinjal) as a curry or vathakkal (stir-fry) to go with the pittu, I decided to share the recipes for all of them.

(a) Kulal pittu (pittu steamed in bamboo)

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 3

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Kulal Pittu

Ingredients

  • Roasted rice flour – 1 cup
  • Steamed wheat flour – ¼ cup
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Scraped coconut – ¼ cup
  • Hot water, as required

Method:

  1. Mix the roasted rice flour and the steamed wheat flour. Add some salt.
  2. Pour the hot water (boiled and slightly cooled) slowly into the flour mixture and stir by hand till you have coarse, little balls.
  3. Divide into three sections of flour mixture.Divide the freshly scraped coconut into four parts.
  4. Take the bamboo steamer and layer the bottom with one part of the freshly scraped coconut. Then, take one of the divided sections of flour mixture and fill in the bamboo steamer. Layer again, with the second part of scraped coconut. Repeat for remaining two sections of flour mixture until the bamboo steamer is filled but not overflowing. Top with the final part of the scraped coconut.
  5. Steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Serve the kulal pittu with katharikkai kulambu.

(b) Katharikkai Curry/ Brinjal curry

Time taken: 30 mins

Serves 4 to 5

Katharikkai curry

Katharikkai curry

Ingredients

  • Brinjal – 2 cups (1 or 1 ½ inch thin slices)
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Fenugreek seeds – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Coconut milk or non-fat milk (for non-vegans) – 1 cup
  • Curry powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Low fat oil (sunflower or canola) – 2 tsp + for deep frying

Method:

  1. Cut the brinjals into 1 or 1 ½ inch thin slices till you have about 2 cups.
  2. Deep fry the brinjal slices they brown and keep aside.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan and sauté the onion and curry leaves with the fenugreek seeds for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the brinjal slices to the pan. Mix and fry for a few more minutes.
  5. Add the ½ cup of tamarind extract and simmer for a few minutes before adding the coconut milk or non-fat milk and the curry powder and salt, to taste.
  6. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Finally, add the sugar, mix and quickly remove from heat. For curries that use tamarind, it is good to add some sugar at the end, just before removing from the stove, as it enhances the flavours.
  8. Serve with pittu or rice.

(c) Pittu with Katharikkai Vathakkal

Ingredients:

Time taken : 35 – 40 mins

Serves 3 to 4

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Pittu with Katharikkai Vathakkal

Ingredients:

  • For pittu, ingredients are the same as for kulal pittu – see (a) above
  • Brinjals – 2
  • Onion – ½
  • Chilli – 1
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sesame oil – 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. For the regular pittu, follow steps 1 and 2 as for the kulal pittu. Then, mix in the freshly scraped coconut into the bowl of tiny flour balls. Steam the pittu mix in a normal steamer for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Wash and clean the brinjals. Cut the brinjals lengthwise and then finely chop them into small pieces. Sprinkle some salt over the chopped pieces. Mix and keep aside.
  3. Finely chop up the onion and chilli.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped brinjal pieces to the pan and fry them for 5 mins.
  5. Add the chopped onions and continue frying for another 5 mins. If needed, add a little more oil.
  6. At the end, add the curry powder, mix and fry for a couple of minutes before removing from heat.
  7. Serve the pittu with the katharikkai vathakkal.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.