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


  • 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


  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.

Mini Halapa

The first time I had halapa was during a train ride from Peradeniya to Colombo. An elderly woman with a basket got onto the train at one of the stations and I noticed that a lot of people were buying her food. I was curious and decided to try out the snack she had made as I did not recognize it. It turned out to be halapa and I was intrigued. It became quite a ritual during my undergraduate years to buy this particular woman’s halapa during my travel home.

I didn’t come across halapa again till many years later when I visited some remote villages in Hambantota district and was served halapa that people had made in their homes. Hence, the reason why I have placed this snack as a specialty of Hambantota besides the fact that kurakkan is primarily grown in Hambantota district and the northern province.

I decided to try my hand at making this snack today and after searching the web, found a recipe for it on that I have slightly adapted here according to my taste. While I have used banana leaves, I would recommend using kanda leaves, if you can get hold of it because it adds a unique flavour and texture to the halapa.

HalapaMini Halapa

Preparation time – ½ hour

Cooking time – 15 mins

Makes 12 mini halapa

Mini halapaIngredients:

  • Kurakkan flour – 1 cup
  • Coconut – ½ cup, freshly scraped
  • Coconut treacle or kithul pani/ treacle – 4 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Banana or Kanda leaves


  1. Lightly heat the freshly scraped coconut in a saucepan and add the coconut treacle. Stir, while the mixture thickens. Remove from stove and allow it to cool.
  2. Add a pinch or two of salt to the kurakkan flour. Stir in the warm water and make the dough.
  3. Cut the banana leaf into 12 smaller pieces or use the kanda leaves.
  4. Taking a ball of the dough, spread it on a piece of banana leaf. Take a pinch of the coconut mixture and place it in the center and spread it lightly over the dough. Fold the leaf in half and ensure the edges are folded.
  5. Steam the halapa for 15 mins.
  6. Serve warm with tea.

Papaya Curry

Today’s recipe is that of a papaya curry recipe. While papaya is used in pickles or acharu here, a curry is not so common but my mother likes experimenting with her curries and this turned out delicious. This is also the dish I am sharing for Angie’s Fiesta Friday #2.

Papaya Curry

Time taken: 20 mins

Serves 3

Papaya curryIngredients:

  • Papaya, half-ripe – 1 cup, chopped
  • Onion – ½
  • Capsicum/ Malu miris – 1
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cloves and Cinnamon – 1 tsp, crushed powder
  • Crushed chillies – 1 tsp
  • Lime – 1 ½
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Low fat oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped onion, malu miris and fennel seeds for 2 minutes.
  2. Then, add the chopped papaya, crushed chillies and the crushed cloves and cinnamon powder to the pan, together with ¼ cup of water.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3.  Squeeze and add the juice from 1 ½ limes and the sugar to the pan. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a little water if the liquid dries up before that.
  4. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Cassava Thuvaiyal

Today’s guest post is by Krishanthy Kamalraj, who has previously shared her recipe for murukku on this blog. We have another of her lovely snack recipes, with a short intro about the dish from her, today.

Cassava Thuvaiyal

This is somewhat different from Cassava curry. Those days, people in Jaffna usually had cassava plants in their home garden for their own consumption. My grandmother used to make this dish, when we wanted a spicy and filling snack. She dug out immature cassava yam from the garden and made very delicious cassava thuvaiyal for us.


  • 1 medium size immature cassava yam
  • 2-4 dry red chilies
  • ¼ cup small onions
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • Mortar and pestle or Mixer or grinding stone
  • Salt to taste


1. Thoroughly wash cassava yam and peel the skin.

Cassava2. Cut the yam into small cubes.

Cassava 23. Put the cut cassava pieces in a cooking pan.

4. Add ¼ cup of water into the pan and cook well over medium heat.

5. When cassava has been cooked well (able to slightly smash cassava pieces with spatula), remove from heat.

6. In a mortar, add salt and red chilies. Pound well until it becomes a paste.

chilli paste7. Add cooked cassava and pound well with pestle until it mixes well with chili paste.

8. Add cleaned small onions into the mixture and pound well.

9. When the mixture has reached the consistency to make small balls, take out  from mortar.

10. Using hand, make small balls of the mixture.

11. Now cassava thuvaiyal is ready to serve.

Cassava thuvaiyal

Recipe source: Krishanthy Kamalraj.