Pol Sambol

I was going through my pending recipe folder and came across something that a friend had sent two years back and which I had not got around to posting so decided to share it today.

Mass Silva, a friend from my undergrad years, sent me a photo-story of one of his favourite recipes that he enjoys making with his family. So, hope you enjoy his photo-story on making pol sambol in Germany.







While Mass did not send me the measurements of the ingredients he used in making his pol sambol recipe, for those who are interested, please check my mother’s recipe for making pol sambol which I have shared earlier.

To wrap up this post, I’d like to share a cute song that I came across recently – Wassa Wahinawa.

Have a good week!


Today (or rather, tomorrow) is Thai Pongal festival celebrated by Tamils around the world. It is a harvest festival celebrated at the end of the harvest season in the tenth month (தை, Thai) of the Tamil calendar and is a festival offering thanks for a bountiful harvest (pongal, which also refers to the sweet rice dish made on that day) and for a prosperous year to come. In Sri Lanka, it is usually celebrated for a day whereas in India, it is a 3 or 4 day festival with a day celebrating the hard work of the cattle in the fields the previous year.

I am re-sharing the pongal recipe that I posted last year.

One of my close friends and her family visited me last week which brought back pleasant memories from over a decade ago when I had first met her. So, for today’s music, I would like to feature the songs of a musician from her country that she introduced me to.

The first song is one of Dulce Pontes’ famous songs – Canção do Mar from her album (Lagrimas or Tears, 1993). This song was covered a decade later by Sarah Brightman.

Dulce Pontes contributed to the popular revival of Portuguese folk, Fado, in the 90s. The second song is one such song.

Hope you enjoyed the Portuguese music shared today and that you do try out the Pongal recipe! Happy Pongal!


  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Roasted split gram (without skin) – ¼ cup
  • Jaggery – 1 cup (grated)
  • Coconut – ½
  • Cardamom – 4 or 5, crushed
  • Cashew nuts – few, chopped
  • Raisins – 1 tbsp
  • Water


  1. Wash the rice and gram and cook them in a pot with 2 ½ cups of water. Cook for around 15 to 20 mins, till the water dries up.
  2. Grind and extract coconut milk by blending the freshly scraped half of a coconut with 1 cup of water.
  3. Once the rice and gram is cooked, add the grated jaggery and mix.
  4. Then, add the coconut milk and crushed cardamoms. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for a few more minutes before reducing the heat.
  5. Add the chopped cashew nuts. Cook until the pongal mixture starts coming together and starts to thicken.
  6. Just before removing from heat, add the raisins and mix.
  7. Remove from heat and cover.
  8. Serve pongal with bananas.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


During Christmas season, the popular cake/ bread that is ordered from bakeries in Sri Lanka is the breuder. This is a speciality of the Burgher cuisine of Sri Lanka. I had been trying for some time to find someone to contribute a home-made recipe of this delicious bread. I was delighted to finally come across another blogger and invited him to share his family recipe on this blog as well. Here is the guest post of Paul van Reyk, from My Buth Kuddeh food site, with his introduction to his family tradition of baking breuder and his recipe. Wishing you all a merry Christmas!

No Christmas at our house in Sri Lanka was complete without my grandmother’s breuder. It’s basically a cakey bread, based on a yeasted dough but with the sweetness of a sponge cake, related to Italian pannetone. It’s a direct entry into Sri Lanka cuisine via the Dutch Broodtulband named for the fluted ‘turban’ shaped mould used to make it. Further embedding the Dutch connection, brueder is traditionally eaten in Sri Lankan Burgher households in slices covered in butter and topped with a thick slice of Edam cheese. There is something very festive about that red waxy ball which sliced open reveals a pale European sun yellow cheese. Making the breuder, I am transported back to the kitchen of my childhood, watching my grandmother knead the dough, having the thrill of buttering the mould and pressing sultanas against the sides anxious that they stay in place, full of expectation as it was taken to my uncles house across the road as we didn’t have an oven, and then the excitement of un-moulding this magical transformation of so few ingredients hoping desperately that it comes away cleanly. The smile on grannie’s face when it does was more rewarding almost than the first bite into its soft, crumby heart.



  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print


  • 500gms plain flour
  • 50 gms butter
  • baker’s yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • water
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 250 gms caster sugar
  • 125 gms currants or sultanas or raisins or a mixture of them


  1. Make the dough the night before. Take as much yeast as is recommended for your particular yeast for making bread with 500 gms of flour (it can vary so read the packet or ask when you buy it), add the yeast and the sugar to a little hot water to get the yeast started. It will froth slightly. When it’s bubbling happily, add this to the flour and mix in well. Now slowly add water and keep mixing until you have a lump of dough that lifts easily out of the bowl or off the board. Knead it for 10 minutes or so. Put it in a bowl, cover the bowl with a damp tea-towel and leave it in a warm place to rise overnight.
  1. The next day, take the dough and add to it the butter, egg yolks and sugar. Add the first three yolks separately and mix in well each time. Then add the others also one at a time alternating with dollops of the caster sugar till it is all used up. What you will have now is a very thick wet doughy batter.
  1. Butter a turban mould. Put a good sprinkle of whatever dried fruit you are using on the bottom. Squish some dried fruit against the sides of the mould, too. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle more of the dried fruit on top of the batter. If you like, and I do, you can mix some dried fruits into the batter, too.
  1. Leave this in a warm place, the mould covered with a damp cloth, for 1 or 2 hours until it rises again (it won’t rise as much as the dough did overnight).
  1. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to very hot – around 220C.
  1. When the dough has risen the second time, put the mould in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Check at that stage that the breuder is cooked by poking a bamboo skewer or similar into the dough. If it comes out clean, your breuder is ready. If it doesn’t, give the breuder 10 – 15 minutes more.

Tip: Putting some baking/greaseproof/brown paper on the top will reduce the likelihood of the dried fruit burning.

  1. When it’s cooked, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool in the mould. You should then be able to give the mould a good thump and have the brooder come cleanly out of it.

Resist all temptation to ice or otherwise muck around with the breuder! Just slice it up and have some butter and Edam or cheddar cheese to have it with. But you are allowed to make summer pudding with the left over breuder if you like, or indeed any of those bread pudding dishes.

Recipe source: Paul van Reyk

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


  • 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


  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


  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.


Today’s dish is Kanji or rice porridge, a favourite of my father.


The featured musician today is Pradeep Ratnayake. Given that one of my favourite musicians is Ravi Shankar, it follows that I also appreciate the music of the two best contemporary sitar players in Sri Lanka – Pradeep Ratnayake and Sarangan Sriranganathan (whom I featured in yesterday’s post). Pradeep Ratnayake’s sitar training started at the age of five and he eventually chose a degree in sitar at Santiniketan over a degree in mathematics. Among other concert performances, he initiated his Pradeepanjalee concerts in 1997 which has become an annual concert performed usually at a different location around the world.

The first piece of Pradeep Ratnayake shared here is an original composition titled ‘Kuweni Concerto for sitar, cello and orchestra: Movement 1.’

The second piece is Wine-coloured moon (Melbourne version) with Joe Chindamo (piano), Alston Joachim (bass) and Daniel Farrugio (drums).

Enjoy the instrumental music clips while trying out the rice porridge (Kanji).


Time taken: 20 mins

Serves 2


  • Red raw rice – 2 tbsp
  • Milk (Coconut or non-fat)  – 1 cup
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper – ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves, chopped (optional)
  • Sugar – 1 tsp (optional)


  1. Cook 2 tbsp of red raw rice in 1 cup of water for about 10 – 15 mins.
  2. Once the water dries up, add the milk to the cooked rice along with a pinch of salt. The optional ingredients such as pepper and garlic can be added now, if required. Cook for about 5 mins.
  3. Transfer to the serving bowls. Add a dash of sugar, if you like. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


Today’s guest blogger is renowned independent film-maker Asoka Handagama. His movies have garnered much critical acclaim and have been screened at numerous major international film festivals (Toronto, Edinburgh, Tokyo etc.) around the world. His most recent movie ‘Ini, Avan’ had its world premiere at the ACID programme in the Cannes festival in 2012. Asoka is currently working on his newest film project which he plans to partially fund through crowd-funding. If you would like to participate in Sri Lanka’s first partially crowd-funded movie production, do check out the film’s Crimso page

Today, Asoka shares his favourite dish, Hathmalu – a specialty dish made during the Sri Lankan New Year/ Avurudhu/ Puthaandu.

Hath Malu ( A curry made of Seven vegetable/ingredients )

This traditional curry dish is prepared for an auspicious AVURUDU meal; popular in Sabaragamuva province in Sri Lanka. Uniqueness in this dish is that it is not prepared for any other occasion than AVURUDU.  It is so yummy that you can swallow a whole load of milk-rice in a few seconds!


Hathmalu Recipe


  • Cashew Nuts (raw un roasted)

And any six (or seven) of the following:

  • Egg plant/ aubergines
  • Jackfruit Seeds
  • Snake beans
  • Sweet potato
  • Sweet potato baby leaves or pumpkin leaves
  • Desha-ala (indigenous potato)
  • Desha-ala leaf stems
  • ‘Ambul’ banana (unripe bananas)

For the curry: 

  • Turmeric
  • Chili powder (un roasted)
  • ‘Thuna paha’ local spice mix such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves (un roasted)
  • Salt
  • Red onions
  • Green chili
  • Curry leaves
  • Coconut milk: thick cream (first squeeze) and diluted (second squeeze)

Chop aubergines and other vegetables and potatoes into 1cm x 1cm x 1cm cubes. Add the seven main ingredients along with salt, spice mix, curry leaves, chili powder, red onions, green chili, turmeric and diluted coconut milk to a (preferably) clay pot. Place on stove and allow to cook slowly on low heat until all ingredients have cooked and softened (15-20 minutes). Then add thick coconut milk and (on medium heat) allow to simmer until the curry thickens and take it off the heat.

Serve curry with milk rice.

hathmalu2Recipe source: Asoka Handagama.


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


  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.

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


  • 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


  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


  • 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.