Savoury Welsh Cakes, with a Sri Lankan Twist

During my recent visit to Cardiff, I had the opportunity to go on a lovely complimentary Welsh food tour with Sian Roberts of Loving Welsh Food. Sian shared her recipe for orange and cranberry Welsh cakes with me. When I returned home, I wanted to make some for my family. However, given that no-one at home takes sugar, my mother and I decided to put a Sri Lankan spin on the welsh cake recipe and we came out with the Savoury Welshcakes. It was fun to make and the results of our efforts tasted like a cross between a roti and a cookie.

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It’s been a while since I posted a recipe here so I decided to share this recipe in time for Christmas.

Wishing you all, the best of the Season, and do let me know if you have tried putting your own spin on a Welshcake!

It’s been a while since I participated in Angie’s Fiesta Friday so bringing these savoury Welshcakes over to Fiesta Friday #152, co-hosted by Jhuls and Ginger.

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Savoury Welshcakes, with a Sri Lankan Twist

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Self-raising flour – ½ cup
  • Margarine – ¼ cup + 1 tsp
  • Mixed grated and chopped vegetables – carrots, leeks and chillies – ½ cup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Add the margarine and mix the flour and margarine.
  3. Stir-fry the chopped and grated vegetables with 1 teaspoon of margarine for about 2 mins.
  4. Mix in the lightly stir-fried veggies to the crumbled flour and make a dough. If you feel the dough is a bit dry or is breaking off, add a teaspoon or two of water or milk.
  5. Roll the dough into a log shape. Wrap with a cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins to an hour.
  6. Slice the dough and cook on a flat pan or griddle, a couple of mins each side.
  7. Serve the snack with a cup of Sri Lankan tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan, inspired by Sian Roberts’ recipe for Welsh cakes.

Jaggery Chip Coconut Cookies

I am happy to announce the launch of my travel article apps on GPSmyCity and an app giveaway of one of my articles, valid this week only until August 7th. Please download the GPSmyCity master app first to access the free upgrade for my article and check out what additional features GPSmyCity offers to what is already out there.

To celebrate this launch, I am sharing a delightful cookie recipe of my mother – her delicious jaggery chip coconut cookies. So, do try out this cookie while you check out GPSmyCity and the free travel article app.

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Bringing these cookies over to Fiesta Friday #131, co-hosted by Su and Laura.

Jaggery Chip Coconut Cookies

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Jaggery chips – ¼ cup
  • Coconut – ¼ cup, freshly scraped and toasted
  • Flour – ½ cup
  • Butter – ¼ cup
  • Vanilla essence

Method

  1. Mix the flour and butter.
  2. Add the jaggery chips, toasted coconut and vanilla.
  3. Chill the dough for 15 to 30 mins.
  4. Slice dough and bake at 180C for around 15 – 20 mins.
  5. Serve with a cup of Sri Lankan tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

 

Vadai with Sambal

I have been enjoying writing on my other blog, Perspectives Quilt, this month reminiscing about past travels. I have also just opened up a Pinterest and Instagram account, both of which I had been avoiding not only because I was busy but also because I am not a good photographer. However, since opening both accounts last week, I have found that I pay a little more attention to whatever photos I do take. I know I haven’t been doing justice, with my photos, to the delicious food that my mother has made though I have been diligently recording and sharing her recipes through this blog. I have resolved to try and work on my food photography skills a little, where possible.

So, when my mother made some vadai for tea this evening, I decided that it would be a good time to start experimenting with natural light and angles. Nothing major. Just a series of photos turning my little bowl, with my teatime snack, around. This is the photo I ended up satisfied with, after dozens of photos, which I then applied an instagram filter on.

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Vadai with Sambal

What do you think? Does this photo make you want to have some vadai now?

Well, whether it makes you want to try some right now or not, please do try out my mother’s famous (among family and friends) recipe for homemade vadai with sambal. They are delicious and lovely to share at Iftar parties as well!

I am bringing this over to Fiesta Friday #124, initiated by Angie and co-hosted this week by Lindy@Love in the Kitchen and Liz@Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.

Vadai with Sambal

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: advanced
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Ingredients:

  • Urad dal/ black gram – 1 cup, skin removed
  • Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – 1, medium sized and chopped
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Low fat oil (sunflower or canola) – ½ litre (for deep frying) + 1 tsp (for sauté)
  • Salt, to taste

Sambal:

  • Freshly scraped coconut – ½ cup
  • Red or Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – ¼, chopped
  • Ginger – ½ “ (optional)
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig, chopped
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Soak the black gram, without the skin, for 3 – 4 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked black gram, adding a little water, to prepare the thick vadai batter.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and lightly sauté the chopped onion, chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pan and the coriander leaves to the batter mix and add salt to taste. If you prefer, you can also add 1 tsp baking powder.
  5. Mix well and keep aside for 5 mins.
  6.  Heat the oil in the pan for deep-frying.
  7. Take a piece of banana leaf or something equivalent, dab some water on the surface and put a spoonful of batter onto the leaf. Shape it into a round or elliptical shape with a hole in the middle, like a mini doughnut.
  8. Transfer to the oil pan, 3 to 4 at a time, and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  9. Mix and grind all ingredients for the sambal and add salt, to taste.
  10. Serve the vadai with sambal and some Sri Lankan tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Palmyrah Root Snack

One of our neighbours brought us some boiled palmyrah roots from their recent trip to Jaffna. My mother decided to make a snack that her grandmother used to make her during her childhood. So, today’s recipe is a palmyrah root snack or ‘panang kilangu urundai’. I am bringing this snack together with some music to Angie‘s Fiesta Friday #117, co-hosted by Mollie and Scarlett.
IMG_0118Today’s music feature is on the Carnatic progressive rock band, Agam, which is based in Bangalore. While the band has been around for a decade or so, I only heard their music when they played at the MTV Coke Studio. ‘Malhar Jam’ is the clip that introduced me to their music.

The second music clip is called ‘over the horizon’. I came across this Malayala song, which I liked, while listening to some of Agam’s music on their youtube channel.

Hope you enjoy both the snack and the music!
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Palmyrah root snack

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Palmyrah root (panang kilangu), boiled – 1 cup, chopped
  • Grated/ scraped coconut, fresh – ¼ cup
  • Green chillies – 1 or 2
  • Onion – ½
  • Pepper – pinch
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Boil the palmyrah roots. Trim the edges and chop it up.
  2. Add chopped boiled palmyrah root pieces to a dry grinder together with the freshly grated coconut, chopped green chillies and onion.
  3. Grind the mix and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Form little balls of the mixture or in a mold and serve as a snack, to be eaten immediately.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Aggala

Today’s recipe is a snack from the south of Sri Lanka. One of my mother’s friends brought her some aggala. So of course, I had to get the recipe, for this rice flour snack from her, to share on this blog.
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Instead of the usual routine of a song(s) that captured my attention accompanying my food post, I decided to share the trailer of a movie I watched today. It has been a long time since I last enjoyed watching a Tamil movie so I was really pleased when I came across this little gem. Kaakka Muttai (Crow’s egg, 2014) won two Indian national film awards in the children’s film category and has been screened at film festivals worldwide. The story revolves around two siblings, living in a slum area, who become obsessed with the idea of eating pizza after a pizza shop is opened in their neighbourhood and seeing a celebrity enjoying a slice at the opening of the store. The whole movie is a humorous, touching story about their attempts at fulfilling this desire. Written, directed and filmed by M.Manikandan, I found the movie flawless and beautifully done and was amazed that this is the directing debut of the director.

Hope you enjoy the short trailer of this movie, which has subtitles in English, as you check out the recipe for aggala.

Aggala

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Rice flour – 1 cup, roasted
  • Pani/ treacle or honey – ½ cup
  • Coconut – ¼ cup, desiccated or fresh
  • Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Mix the roasted rice flour, shredded coconut, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Lightly heat the treacle in a pan and stir in the rice flour mix.
  3. When it thickens, remove from heat. If the mix is too dry, add a little hot water.
  4. Make around 6 balls out of the mix and let it cool, before serving.

Recipe source: Lalitha Senadheera.

Coconut pancakes

While I was an undergraduate at Peradeniya university a couple of decades ago, I disliked most of the under-cooked meals served at the university canteens. The only stuff I did like were some of the snacks which were delicious and new to me. One such snack was the coconut pancake. I realized afterwards that while it had been quite new to me, it is quite a staple on roadside tea stalls across the country so I refer to it as the Sri Lankan pancake as it is a little different from the regular pancake my mother usually makes at home. I recently mentioned this to my mother and my mother decided to recreate this coconut pancake, the recipe of which I am sharing here. As the coconut pancakes are really yummy, I decided to bring some over to Angie‘s Fiesta Friday #105, co-hosted by Lily and Julianna.

IMG_0088Given that I watched a few Bollywood movies this january, my song choice for this weekend is one from Imtiaz Ali’s movie Tamasha, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. The lyrics of the song was written by Irshad Kamil and music composed by A.R.Rahman and sung by Mohit Chauhan.

Hope you enjoy the song this weekend as you try out the coconut pancakes for brunch!

Coconut pancakes

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Flour – ½ cup
  • Saffron or kesar powder – pinch
  • Salt – pinch
  • Coconut – ½ cup, grated
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Vanilla – 1 tsp

Method

  1. Mix the flour, saffron, salt with the coconut milk to make pancake batter. Add  a little water to adjust consistency, if required.
  2. Lightly fry the grated coconut with sugar in a pan until it caramelizes slightly. Remove from heat.
  3. Add vanilla essence to either batter or caramelized coconut.
  4. Scoop the batter onto the pan and make a thin layer. Cover for two minutes and cook over low heat. Flip the pancake and cook for another minute before removing from pan.
  5. After removing the pancake from pan, fill it immediately with the caramelized coconut and roll it.
  6. Serve the coconut pancakes with a hot cup of tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Pulukodiyal Candy

Wishing you all a happy New Year! (the Sri Lankan New Year, or more precisely the Sri Lankan Buddhist and Hindu New Year)

For today’s recipe, I decided to share a non-traditional New Year recipe. Something simple and tasty to make. My mother sometimes makes this candy when she receives too much of ‘pulukodiyal’ (sun-dried palmyrah root) from visiting relatives from the north. I would like to share this with you today. Palmyrah root is full of calcium and therefore considered nutritious in the north of Sri Lanka where it is harvested regularly.

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Sliced sun-dried palmyrah root

Today, I would like to feature songs from two music groups that I have enjoyed listening to occasionally during the past decade. I was introduced to Il Divo’s music in a surreal setting in early December 2004. I was travelling on work to the north of the country and as the vehicle sped across dusty, remote roads, the radio belted out pop songs of the year. Suddenly, the powerful operatic voice of the four broke through the stifling heat surrounding the landscape we passed through. It was a special experience. The first song that I share here is the song that I listened to that hot afternoon over a decade ago.

The second is by Celtic Woman. Not sure how I came across their music but I did somewhere along the past decade. I liked their songs to the extent that I went for their concert when they performed at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in November last year. It was a fun experience.

Hope you enjoy the two songs and do try out the candy, if you happen upon some dried palmyrah root!
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Wish you the best for the New Year!

Pulukodiyal Candy

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Sliced ‘pulukodiyal’ – 1 cup
  • Roasted gram – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – ¼ cup
  • Water

Method:

  1. Let the water and sugar simmer till it thickens into a syrup.
  2. Add the roasted gram and pulukodiyal and stir well, before removing from heat.
  3. Let it cool and the candied pulukodiyal is ready for eating.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan

Breuder

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.

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Breuder

  • Difficulty: difficult
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Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  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

Semolina and Coconut Sweets

I wanted to make some Sri Lankan sweets this month. As I was browsing through some Sri Lankan food sites, I came across one that I wanted to try out. Coconut rocks are quite popular in Sri Lanka and are sold in most shops as well as occasionally made in homes. I decided to slightly adapt this recipe of Dhanish @My Sri Lankan Recipe, which merges semolina with the traditional sweet. I am bringing these scrumptious sweets to Angie’s Fiesta Friday.

DSC01346Today’s music features some Grammy award-winning musicians from Mali. I have a couple of friends who are huge fans of music from Mali, which is how I was introduced to some of the music I am sharing here.

The first music clip features Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure.

The second clip is a music video by the group Tinariwen. They performed at the recent London jazz festival.

The last clip for today is a music video from Amadou and Mariam.

Enjoy the music while trying out a piece of the semolina and coconut sweet!

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Semolina and Coconut Sweet

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Semolina – 150g
  • Coconut – 50g, grated
  • Coconut water – 4 tbsp
  • Sugar – 4 tbsp
  • Cardamom – 1 tsp
  • Kesari powder – pinch
  • Almonds – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Cream or condensed milk (vegans can substitute with non-dairy cream) – 4 tbsp

Method:

  1. Heat the coconut water and sugar together over low heat until it thickens.
  2. Then add the semolina, while continuously stirring.
  3. Once all the semolina has been added and the mixture starts to thicken, add the fresh, grated coconut.
  4. Mix well and add the cardamom, kesari, chopped almonds and vanilla essence to the mix.
  5. Finally stir in the cream or condensed milk before removing the pan from the heat.
  6. Transfer mixture to well-greased tray and let the sweet cool before slicing and serving.

Recipe adapted from My Sri Lankan Recipe

Potato Layered Pie

This week’s recipe is the last of the five recipes sent in by Trevor Martil. I am bringing this recipe, together with some lovely music from Senegal, to Fiesta Friday.

Today’s featured musician is Youssou N’Dour. The first clip is from an 80s concert of Le Super Etoile de Dakar.

The next clip is a music video (1994) composed by Youssou N’Dour, Neneh Cherry, Cameron McVey and Jonathan Sharp.

Hope you enjoyed the songs and do send me your feedback if you try out the recipe given below! 🙂

Potato Layered Pie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: average
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Ingredients:

  • 250g flaky pastry
  • 250g potatoes
  • 150g boiled minced meat (vegetarians can substitute this with mushroom or vegetarian sausage)
  • 30g butter or vegetable oil margarine
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • MD ginger paste and garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon MD tomato sauce and chilli sauce
  • onions
  • curry leaves
  • 30g cheese
  • parsley and chopped tomatoes, for garnish

Method:

  1. Make flaky pastry and keep aside.
  2. Stir-fry onions, curry leaves, ginger and garlic paste, boiled minced meat or vegetarian substitute and boiled mashed potatoes.
  3. Mix the tempered ingredients well.
  4. Add a beaten egg, sauces and seasoning.
  5. Roll the pastry cut into squares.
  6. Sprinkle cheese and parsley and the potato mixture. Roll it to a cone shape.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Garnish with parsley and tomatoes.

Recipe source: Trevor Martil.