Date and Walnut Cookies

Today, I would like to share my mother’s recipe for date and walnut cookies. She often substitutes cashew nuts for the walnuts when we run out of walnuts.

I also wanted to mention a start-up that came to my attention recently and thought it might be of interest to those planning travels around Asia. Withlocals.com is a venture, currently covering 7 countries including Sri Lanka, initiated by a group of self-labelled ‘digital geeks with a combined passion for travelling, food and people.’ The interesting part of their services is ‘Eat with locals,’ where local hosts register to offer home-cooked meals. I might take up the offer of Martin (a staff at Withlocals.com) to try one of the eating experiences listed, next time a non-Sri Lankan friend visits me, provided the host is willing to share one of the recipes on this blog.

In the meantime, do enjoy these delicious date and nut cookies! 🙂
Date and Walnut cookies

Date and Walnut Cookies

  • Servings: 40
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Dates – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Walnut or cashew nut – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Roasted gram/ Pottu kadalai flour –  ¼ cup
  • All-purpose flour -1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Oats – ¼ cup
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon powder – pinch
  • Rose water – 1 tsp
  • Margarine – ¼ cup

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients. Add a little water if the mixture is too dry.
  2. Place the cookie dough on a lightly greased tray tablespoon at a time leaving an inch of space between them.
  3. Bake for about 20 mins at 170⁰C/338⁰F.
  4. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan

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Turmeric Coriander Bread with Seeni Sambol

May this special day of Wesak, which celebrates the day of birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, bring you peace!

Nil manel

Blue water-lily – the national flower of Sri Lanka

I am sharing this post on Angie’s challenge for this month with my recipe for turmeric coriander bread filled with seeni sambol. Ever since I started baking last year, I have found that I enjoy baking different types of bread. One of my favourite and successful breads is rosemary olive oil bread (recipe source: Jessie@A Hint of Honey). Using her recipe as a base, I have sometimes played around with herbs to make different versions of the bread and today, I would like to share my Sri Lankan twist to this bread.

Turmeric bread

Turmeric Coriander Bread with Seeni Sambol

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: average
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Ingredients:

  • Flour – 2 to 2 ½ cups, approximately
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Coriander – 2 to 4 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (as per your taste) or 1 tsp dried powder
  • Pepper – pinch
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Sesame/ Gingelly oil – 2 tbsp
  • Warm water – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Yeast – 2 tsp
  • Seeni Sambol – recipe provided in this post

Method:

  1. Stir in 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp yeast in 1 cup of warm water in a mixing bowl and let it sit for about 10 mins till it becomes frothy.
  2. Sift the flour and set aside.
  3. Add a cup of flour to the yeast mixture and add the salt, turmeric, pepper, chopped coriander or powder to the mixing bowl.
  4. Mix well before adding the sesame oil and add the remaining flour ¼ cup at a time till the dough is formed. Knead for a few minutes till it is smooth.
  5. Lightly dab the mixing bowl with a little oil and cover, leaving the dough to rise for about an hour.
  6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll out the dough.
  7. Spread the seeni sambol mixture over the surface. Starting from one end, roll the dough into a log.
  8. You could leave the dough as a log or connect the ends to make a round bread or cut into 8 equal pieces. If you cut into 8 pieces, make each piece into a ball ensuring that the ends are closed and that the filling is not seeping out of the dough.
  9. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased baking tray. Cover and refrigerate till about 30 minutes before you plan to bake.
  10. Leave the tray out in the kitchen for about 30 minutes before brushing the bread with either a little melted margarine or dissolved sugar.
  11. Bake the bread at 175⁰C/340⁰F for 20 mins. Check at intervals as the baking time differs depending on the oven.
  12. Serve warm with a nice vegetable soup.


”Fiesta

Repost: Fried Rice

I wish to wrap up the rice series by re-posting a delicious fried rice recipe from the first month of this blog.

Fried riceTo go with this post, I chose to feature two musicians who were born in Sri Lanka and started their music careers here. They have expanded their musical repertoire since moving/ migrating to the west in the 80s and have made some impressive music.

The first musician to be featured today is Carnatic musician Manickam Yogeswaran. While primarily a classical musician, he has worked with several music groups including fusion group Dissidenten on the Instinctive Traveller album and Jocelyn Pook Ensemble on the sound track of ‘Eyes wide shut‘ and ‘Brick Lane.’

This song is a recording of a bhajan at the sacred music and dance festival held in Berlin last year.

I also wanted to share a song from his 2005 album ‘Peace for Paradise.’

Finishing this post with an upbeat song – Herb Alpert and Lani Hall Quintet’s version of Puttin’ on the Ritz from their grammy award-winning album Steppin’ Out. The second musician I am featuring today is Hussain Jiffry, the bassist in this quintet. He has worked with several musicians including Sérgio Mendes and Yanni.

Enjoy a lovely sunday!

Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Fried Rice Ingredients:

  • Basmathi rice – 2 cups
  • Carrot – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Green peas – ¼ cup
  • Leeks – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Onion – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Mixed 3C spice powder – clove, cinnamon, cardamom powder – 2 tsp
  • Kesari powder – ½ tsp (can use biryani powder or saffron or turmeric powder)
  • Low fat margarine – 50g or 3 tbsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 ~ 2’’ stick
  • Rampe leaf/ pandan
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the rice together with a cinnamon stick, rampe leaf and a little salt.
  2. Chop up the vegetables and sprinkle a little salt over them. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the margarine in a pan over low heat.
  4. Add the mixed 3C spice powder and sauté for a couple of seconds before adding the chopped vegetables.
  5. When the veggies become tender, add the kesari powder.
  6. Add the cooked rice and mix well.
  7. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Repost: Murungai Ilai Kanji

As part of the rice series, I thought I would repost the recipe for a rice porridge that I had originally posted during the first month of this blog last year. I like this murungai ilai/ moringa leaves rice porridge that my mother occasionally makes.

Murungai Ilai KanjiFurther, as I am reposting an older post, I thought it fitting to feature two musicians famous for their baila music from the 70s and 80s. Baila music is a form of popular Sri Lankan music that has its roots in the Kaffringha music of Sri Lanka. The Kaffringhas are descendants of Africans who were brought to Sri Lanka during the European colonial era and with them came a unique mix of creole music and dance that found its way to mainstream Sri Lankan music in the 60s and came to be known as Baila.

While personally not a fan of Baila music, I find some interesting.

The first baila song I will share today is ‘Cooranjaneetha Thurannai’ from the early 70s by A.E.Manoharan, an actor and a famous baila singer and composer both in Sri Lanka and in Tamil Nadu, India. I consider his most popular hit song as ‘Surangani‘ which he first wrote and composed in Sinhala then in the bilingual Sinhala and Tamil version which became very popular in South India that several versions of the song have been made since.

The second baila song is that of the Gypsies. The peak period of this group was in the 70s to the 90s. Their last album released in 2001 was called Ai (Why?) and included several baila songs satirizing the local socio-political environment. While I most remember their peace song ‘Lowe Sama‘ that was continuously played on TV and radio stations throughout the 80s and 90s, in keeping with the baila music of this post, I thought I would share a song from there last album here.

Enjoy the baila songs while preparing this kanji! 🙂

Murungai Ilai Kanji

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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. Drizzle some lime juice over the kanji before serving it hot.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Sweet Yoghurt Rice

It is nice to have something sweet to welcome the weekend. So, today’s recipe is sweet yoghurt rice, a very easy and yummy dish to make. It has been a long time since I participated in one of Angie’s Fiesta Fridays so I am sharing this post in Fiesta Friday #15.

Sweet curd rice

Today’s featured music is of a special percussion group called Elephant Foot.

The first piece that I am sharing here, Rainforest, is what caught my attention some years ago. Since then, I have kept my ears open for more of their music. So far, they have released three albums.

The second is from their most recent album – Elephant Foot.

Enjoy the drum beats of Elephant Foot/ Hikkaduwa drummers as you tuck into this delicious treat!

Sweet Yoghurt Rice

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 3

Yoghurt riceIngredients:

  • White raw rice or Basmathi rice – 1 cup
  • Yoghurt – ½ cup
  • Raisins – 2 tsp
  • Nuts (any) – 2 tsp
  • Banana – ½ or 1, sliced
  • Honey or coconut treacle, as required

Method:

  1. Boil the rice and let it cool.
  2. Whisk the yoghurt well to make it creamy. Fold in the raisins and chopped nuts.
  3. Little by little, add the rice to the creamy mix.
  4. Chill for at least 5 mins.
  5. Serve with banana slices and drizzled with honey or coconut treacle.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Lime Rice

The rice dish for today is lime rice.
Lime rice
The featured musician today is Ravibandhu Vidyapathi, who is one of Sri Lanka’s leading percussionists as well as a classical Kandyan dancer and choreographer. He founded the dance school ‘Ravibandhu-Samanthi Narthanayanathaya’ with his wife.

I like his drum ensemble and have selected a clip from his album ‘Bahu Ranga‘ to share here.

Lime Rice

Time taken: 20 mins

Serves 2 – 3

Lime rice 2Ingredients:

  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Lime or lemon juice – 1 or 2 tbsp
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Dried red chillies – 1 or 2, as per taste
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Green peas – 2 tbsp, boiled
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sesame/ Gingelly oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Boil the rice after adding turmeric and salt.
  2. Once the rice is boiled and slightly cooled, add the lime juice and mix well. Keep aside to let the rice absorb the lime juice.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped onion, chillies and fenugreek seeds.
  4. Add the lime marinated rice to the pan and stir fry for 5 mins. Add boiled green peas, if required.
  5. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Sambhar Rice

The rice dish for today is Sambhar Rice.

Sambhar RiceAs sambhar refers to a mixed vegetable stew like dish, I thought of mimicking the dish in my featured music groups today.

Starting with Thriloka, a fusion band formed in 2005 blending traditional Sri Lankan folk music and progressive rock.

The second clip features Paranoid Earthling, whose music is a blend of experimental and psychedelic rock. The song shared here was first performed by them on the international peace day in 2008.

The last clip features Chitral Somapala and Civilization One, a power metal band, which is not a Sri Lankan band but I decided to feature them by extending the definition to include the Sri Lankan who launched the band.

Enjoy the Sri Lankan rock music scene as you try out the recipe!

Sambhar Rice

Time taken: 45 mins

Serves 4

Sambhar rice2

Ingredients:

  • Par-boiled red rice – 1 cup
  • Carrots – ½ cup, chopped
  • Beans – ½ cup, chopped
  • Brinjal – ½ cup, chopped
  • Mysore dhal – ¼ cup
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Chilli – 1, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind juice – ½ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Garlic cloves – 4 or 5, crushed
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Boil the rice and keep aside.
  2. Separately, cook the vegetables (carrots, beans and brinjal) and dhal together with the chopped onion, chilli and curry leaves in a cup of water.
  3. When the water dries up, add the tamarind juice add the curry powder, pepper powder, crushed garlic cloves and salt to the vegetables.
  4. Once the sambhar starts to thicken, add the rice, mix well and let it simmer for 5 to 10 mins.
  5. Serve the sambhar rice with pappadum.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.