Odiyal Kool

Decided to take a break this week and re-post a few recipes from the initial days of this blog.

This is a traditional recipe from the North of Sri Lanka made from a palmyrah product. My mother tells me her grandmother used to make this for them on special occasions. While this is typically a spicy sea-food dish, it can be a vegan dish if one omits the seafood.

So, I am sharing my great-grandmother’s odiyal kool recipe, as remembered by my mother.

The base for this kool is ‘Odiyal’, a healthy and nutritious root that is dried before making into a flour. One can purchase the ‘odiyal flour’ from Katpaham marketing outlets around Sri Lanka, run by the Palmyrah Development Board, and might be found at Sri Lankan stores outside of Sri Lanka. However, if ‘odiyal flour’ cannot be obtained, corn flour can be tried out as a substitute.

Odiyal Kool

Cooking time – 45 minutes

Serves: 8 – 10


  • Odiyal or Odiyal Flour – 1 cup
  • Chopped mixed vegetables (brinjal/ katharikkai, jackfruit seeds/ palakottai, yardlong beans/ paithangai, small green leaves/ pasali keerai or murungai ilai, manioc, ash plantain) – 100g each
  • Chopped mixed seafood (prawns, crab meat, squids etc.) – 100g each, omit if vegetarian
  • Boiled rice – ½ cup
  • Dried red chillies – 5- 10, depending on your desired level of hot spicy
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp, can add another tablespoon if you like it really spicy
  • Pepper powder – 1tbsp, can add another tablespoon if you like it really spicy
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water – 2 litres


  1. Grind the odiyal into flour or use the ready-made odiyal flour.
  2. Dry grind the cumin seeds, red chillies and pepper and keep aside.
  3. Boil the vegetables in a pot with half litre water.
  4. Boil the seafood in a separate pot with half litre water.
  5. Then, mix the boiled vegetables and seafood and add another litre of water, along with the tamarind extract.
  6. As the water comes to a boil, slowly stir in the odiyal flour, avoiding lumps.
  7. Add the boiled rice to the pot.
  8. Add the ground spice mixture and the turmeric powder to the pot and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil.
  9. You can add a little water to adjust the consistency to your liking, e.g. if the water has dried up or you prefer a watery Kool.
  10. Serve hot in medium-sized bowls.

Recipe Source: Raji Thillainathan.

Ash plantain peel salad

Re-posting this salad recipe today. It is a recipe of my great-grandmother, as remembered and quite often replicated by my mother at home.

Ash plantain peel salad

Preparation time: 10 mins

Serves 2

Ash plantain peel salad


  • Skin of ash plantains – 2, boiled
  • Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1, small and chopped
  • Chilli or red capsicum -1, chopped
  • Pepper and Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice – 1 tbsp


  1. Finely chop the boiled ash plantain skin. Mix with salt.
  2. Add the grated coconut, chopped onion and chilli to the ash plantain skin and mix well.
  3. Season with pepper and lime juice and salt, to taste.
  4. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Ash plantain and Onion Fritters

Today’s recipe is a lovely snack – fritters. I like the ash plantain fritters more than the onion ones.

Ash plantain and Onion fritters

Time taken: 40 mins

Serves 4

Ash plantain and onion frittersIngredients:

  • Ash plantain – 1
  • Onion – 1
  • Wheat flour – ½ cup
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ sp
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Low fat oil, for deep-frying


  1. Boil the ash plantain and then peel. Slice the cooked plantain lengthwise into 4.
  2. Peel the onion and slice them, such that the rings in each slice do not fall apart.
  3. Make the batter by mixing the wheat flour, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and pepper with ½ cup of water.
  4. Dip the ash plantain and onion slices into the batter, coating them well.
  5. Deep-fry the batter coated ash plantain and onion slices until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Serve warm with tea or as a side-dish at lunch lunch.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Spicy Ash Plantain Curry

Ash plantain (Saambal Vaalai, as it is called in Tamil) is often used in Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine. I am not very familiar with the varieties of plantains but as far as I am aware, ash plantain is the more common and popular variety in Sri Lanka and is a cooking plantain.

Today’s recipe is that of an ash plantain curry that my mother quite often makes at home.

ash plantainSpicy Ash plantain Curry

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 3

Spicy Ash Plantain CurryIngredients:

  • Ash plantain – 2
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onion – ½
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Thin coconut milk – ½ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Low fat oil – 1 tbsp + more, for light frying


  1. Peel the ash plantains and slice them.
  2. Lightly fry the ash plantain slices in a little oil. Keep aside.
  3. In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and sauté the fenugreek seeds, chopped onion and curry leaves for a minute.
  4. Add the lightly fried ash plantain slices to the pan. Mix well and continue stir-frying for another 2 – 3 mins.
  5. Then, add the tamarind extract to the pan, followed by the thin coconut milk and the curry powder.
  6. Season the curry with salt to taste. Mix well and cook the curry for about 10 mins till the gravy thickens.
  7. Just before removing the pan from stove, add a tsp of sugar and mix well.
  8. Serve the spicy ash plantain curry with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Ash plantain and Carrot with Beetroot Sauce

222576_165380886933749_1051752180_nToday is the Virtual Vegan PotluckI had come across this post recently, and as one who generally enjoys potlucks, decided to join a virtual one after a quick chat with my mother who has contributed more than 90% of the recipes on this blog to-date. So today’s recipe is an ash plantain and carrot with beetroot sauce recipe that my mother concocted, given that I had mentioned beets was the featured ingredient. 

Ash Plantain and Beetroot SauceAsh Plantain and Carrot with Beetroot Sauce

Time taken: 35 – 40 mins

Serves 2

Beetroot sauce close upIngredients:

  • Ash plantain – 1
  • Beetroot – 1
  • Carrot – 1
  • Ginger – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 or 2 cloves, chopped
  • Green chilli – 1, chopped
  • Onion – ¼, chopped
  • Sesame/ Gingelly oil – 1 tsp + 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Wash the three vegetables, without peeling them.
  2. Boil the ash plantain and beetroot for about 15 mins.
  3. After boiling, peel the ash plantain and beetroot separately.
  4. If you prefer the carrot to be boiled or steamed, you will need to do so separately. Else, simply peel the cleaned, fresh carrot and slice thinly and arrange in a serving dish.
  5. Slice the boiled and peeled ash plantain and layer the slices around the carrot in the serving dish. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Peel the beetroot and chop it up.
  7. Heat a tsp oil and fry the chopped ginger, garlic, chilli and onion lightly.
  8. Transfer the lightly fried ingredients to the blender together with the chopped beetroot and salt, to taste, and blend to a puree/ sauce.
  9. Stir in a tbsp of sesame oil after blending.
  10. Pour the sauce over the dish with the ash plantain and carrot slices.
  11. Garnish with thin slices of chilli and serve.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

For accessing the other blogs participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, press the ‘go back’ or ‘go forward’ buttons below.


Peace.Love.Quinoa: Apple Parsnip Mash


This is Thirty: Sautéed Beet Greens and Kale

Vaalakkai Varuval version 2

Today’s recipe is a slightly different version of vaalakkai varuval. I like ash plantains so I enjoy the different ways it is cooked, however slight the difference might be.

Vaalakkai Varuval/ Ash plantain fry version 2

Time taken: 30 mins

Serves 3

Ash plantain fry 2Ingredients:

  • Ash plantain – 2
  • Dried red chillies – 1 or 2, chopped
  • Shallots – 4 or 5 , chopped
  • Garlic – 2 or 3, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped coriander – ½ or 1 tsp
  • Low fat oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Boil ash plantain with skin. Remove peel and chop the boiled unripe fruit up.
  2. Add some salt and turmeric powder to the ash plantain pieces and keep aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the fennel, chopped dried red chillies, shallots and garlic for a few mins, until the aroma of the fried onions and garlic comes out.
  4. Add the marinated, chopped pieces of ash plantain and curry leaves and cook for about 10 mins, until sufficiently cooked.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander or curry leaves.
  6. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Vaalakkai Varuval

Back home after an amazing two weeks of travelling around Yunnan province, it was comforting to be greeted by the familiar. So, my first post for this month will be to share my mother’s recipe for her regular fried ash plantain which I really enjoy.

Vaalakkai varuval/ Ash plantain fry

Time taken: 40 mins

Serves 3

Ash plantain fryIngredients:

  • Ash plantain/ Vaalakkai – 2
  • Malu miris or red capsicum – 1
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Onion – 1
  • Garlic – 4 or 5 cloves
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Crushed chillies – 1 tsp or pepper – 1 tsp
  • Gingelly oil – 2 tbsp


  1. Boil the ash plantain with skin for 15 minutes.
  2. Set aside the ash plantain to cool. After it has sufficiently cooled, remove skin and chop the boiled fruit into small pieces.
  3. Chop up the malu miris, onion and garlic.
  4. Mix the chopped ash plantain, malu miris and ½ tsp turmeric and ½ tsp salt and let the flavours soak in.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil of sesame oil in a pan and add the fennel seeds and the chopped onion and garlic.
  6. When the aroma of the onion and garlic wafts about, add the turmeric and salt coated chopped ash plantain and malu miris and the curry leaves. Cook until they are sufficiently fried which will take around 10 mins.
  7. Just before removing the pan, add 1 tsp crushed chillies and mix well for a minute.
  8. Serve hot with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.