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.
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.
- Rice flour – 1 cup, roasted
- Pani/ treacle or honey – ½ cup
- Coconut – ¼ cup, desiccated or fresh
- Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Mix the roasted rice flour, shredded coconut, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Lightly heat the treacle in a pan and stir in the rice flour mix.
- When it thickens, remove from heat. If the mix is too dry, add a little hot water.
- Make around 6 balls out of the mix and let it cool, before serving.
Recipe source: Lalitha Senadheera.
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 srilankanmenu.blogspot.com 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.
Preparation time – ½ hour
Cooking time – 15 mins
Makes 12 mini halapa
- Kurakkan flour – 1 cup
- Coconut – ½ cup, freshly scraped
- Coconut treacle or kithul pani/ treacle – 4 tbsp
- Salt, to taste
- Banana or Kanda leaves
- 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.
- Add a pinch or two of salt to the kurakkan flour. Stir in the warm water and make the dough.
- Cut the banana leaf into 12 smaller pieces or use the kanda leaves.
- 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.
- Steam the halapa for 15 mins.
- Serve warm with tea.
Today’s guest blogger is Sunera Edirisuriya, a staff member of Save the Children. She will be sharing a little background information on Matara district’s specialty seafood dish as well as her mother’s recipe for it.
This is one of the famous fish curries which is unique to down south Sri Lanka. It does not mean that this curry is not cooked in other parts of the country yet there is a difference in the flavour and the ingredients used. Due to its origins in the south, it is customary for people from the south to take a pot or jar of malu ambulthiyal when they visit relatives living elsewhere. This fish curry can be served with rice and other curries. Specially, Malu Ambulthiyal pairs well with Kiribath (Milk rice) and katta Sambola.
In our family, we never miss Malu Ambulthiyal at the meal table during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year festival. It was my paternal grand-mother who used to prepare this dish and then my mother and now my elder sister brings this curry to our New Year meal table.
Cooking time: 20 mins
- Fish 1kg
- Goraka (Garcinia gummi-gutta) – 100g
- Pepper- 2 tea spoons
- Green chilies -5
- Cinnamon – ½ tea spoons
- Curry leaves
- Salt, to taste
- Water – 1 cup
- Cut the fish in to small pieces (15-20) and wash them properly.
- Put the pieces of goraka in a saucepan with a little water and simmer until the goraka is soft.
- Crush the drained goraka pieces until it becomes a coarse paste
- Put the fish, goraka paste, pepper, curry leaves, cinnamon powder, salt and green chillies in the pan and mix them well until all the fish pieces are well coated.
- Add 1 cup of water to it.
- Cook the mixture over low heat for 20 mins. It would be much more delicious if this dish is cooked in a clay pot.
- Serve with rice or kiribath.
Recipe source: Sunera Edirisuriya.