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.

cookie 18.JPG

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

Jaggery Chip Coconut Cookies

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


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


  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.


A Guest Post for Eid: Wattalapam or Steamed coconut pudding

Thank you, Indu, for inviting me to guest post during your Sri Lankan culinary journey. I am sorry that I had not been able to share a recipe then but I figured better late than never, when I sent you this post for Eid. Thank you so much for posting it and sharing it on your blog!

Indu's International Kitchen

Wattalapam(Coconut Custard Pudding)Happy Eid to all those who celebrate! Today marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.  I sincerely hope that the new year will usher in peace and happiness for everyone and reduce the suffering that we have been recently witnessing across the globe. Life is simple and let’s keep it simple. Live and let live.

Anyways, today’s post is a guest post from a co-blogger and a good friend Ahila.  Ahila blogs at ‘ A taste of SriLankan cuisine‘ where she blogs authentic Sri Lankan recipes of her mom. When I had done my virtual tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, I had asked Ahila if she could do a guest post. But she had been very busy with work and other engagements and so she was unable to do one at that time. But now she reached out to me when she finally had…

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Wattalapam Jelly Pudding

As I mentioned in my post on Wattalapam cake last week, my mother has been making a series of Iftar treats, several of which are her twists on the traditional Wattalapam pudding. Continuing with the theme of Iftar, today’s recipe is another twist on Wattalapam – my mother’s wattalapam jelly pudding.

Wattalapam Jelly 1.jpeg

I tried to make it once last year, following my mother’s recipe I had shared on this blog a few years back. It went quite well till I removed the cooked, fragrant pudding mix from the stove. I made the mistake of mixing the agar agar into the pudding mix, while it was still quite hot, due to which the pudding never thickened further even after being in the refrigerator for a whole day.

When I mentioned this to my mother recently, she immediately made this the following day making sure I saw the entire process especially when to mix the agar agar into the pudding mix.

Hope you enjoy this delicious pudding recipe! I am taking this dessert over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #126 and for the first time to Cindy’s Gluten free Fridays #201.

Wattalapam Jelly Pudding

  • Servings: 2 or 3
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • Coconut milk – 1 cup, thick
  • Egg – 1
  • Jaggery – ½ to 1 cup, depending on taste
  • Cardamom – 3 or 4, crushed
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
  • Flavour-less jelly mix or Agar agar – 1 ½ tsp
  • Hot water – 3-4 tbsp


  1. Mix the coconut milk and jaggery.
  2. Lightly whisk the egg before adding the jaggery-milk mixture. Blend the mixture well.
  3. Add the crushed cardamom and vanilla extract to the mixture.
  4. Cook the pudding mixture on low heat, stirring continuously, for about 10 mins.
  5. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and keep aside to cool to at least 50% what it’s heat was when removed from the stove. This is an important step.
  6. Mix the jelly or agar agar powder with the hot water and let it cool slightly.
  7. Beat the jelly mix into the cooled pudding mixture.
  8. Cool and refrigerate.

Wattalapam Jelly 5.jpeg

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Caramel Drizzle Wattalapam Cake

Having celebrated Iftar with Muslim family friends since I was a kid, Ramadan season is a special month at home especially since my mother starts making Iftar themed treats.

One of the special treats she concocted this month is the Caramel Drizzle Wattalapam Cake, a cake twist on the traditional Wattalapam pudding dessert from the Malay cuisine of Sri Lanka. Wattalapam, a popular Sri Lankan dessert, is a steamed pudding made from coconut milk, eggs and jaggery (palm sugar).

cake slice

Hope you try out a slice of this tasty cake! Ramadan Mubarak!

I am bringing this cake over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #125, co-hosted this week by Elaine@Foodbod and Quinn@Dad What’s 4 Dinner and for the first time over to Saucy Saturdays #50, hosted by The Flavor Bender, La Petit Chef, Mid-Life Croissant, Take Two Tapas.

Caramel Drizzle Wattalapam Cake

  • Servings: 4 or 5
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • Coconut milk – 1 cup, thick
  • Jaggery – 1 cup, crushed
  • Eggs – 2
  • Margarine or butter – 1/2 cup
  • Semolina – 1 cup
  • Flour – 1 cup
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Baking soda – pinch
  • Crushed cardamom – 1 tsp
  • Vanilla essence

Caramel drizzle:

  • Sugar – 3 or 4 tbsp


  • Sift the flour and add the baking powder and soda.
  • Whisk together the butter, milk, jaggery and eggs.
  • Add the vanilla essence and crushed cardamom.
  • Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients bowl and mix.
  • Bake for approx. ½ hour at 150C.

oven fresh

  • Transfer cake to serving tray and let it cool, while you prepare the caramel syrup.
  • Heat the sugar over low heat till it caramelizes.
  • Drizzle the caramel syrup over the cake.

Loaf cake

  • Slice and serve with a cup of Sri Lankan tea.

cake slice

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


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.

Mothaha Muffin Crumble

I have been trying out different muffins over the last few months and I was in the mood of trying out some experimental muffins. I wanted to create some muffins which had a strong leaning towards a Sri Lankan dish. While thinking about using different local non-wheat flours, inspiration struck. I do very much like the delicacy – mothaham or kolukkattai, that my mother makes during special festivals like the ongoing Navarathri festival. I decided to try out the muffin version of this steamed dish and it turned out a cross between a muffin and a crumble. I am sharing it at both my brother’s birthday today as well as bringing some over to Fiesta Friday tomorrow.
The music selection for today focuses on some lovely Persian music. The first group featured here is the Chemirani Zarb Trio, a classical percussion group. I first heard their music when they visited Sri Lanka to perform at the WOMAD concert 2005. The clip I share here is one of their performances at another WOMAD concert.

While searching for Chemirani Trio clips on youTube, I came across a few other Persian groups that I liked. The second clip is a music video by the folk group Zâr Ensemble, formerly known as the Ensemble Shanbehzadeh.

The last clip is a beautiful one by classical singer Homayoun Shajarian and instrumentalist and composer, Tahmoures Pournazeri.

Hope you enjoyed the lovely music as much as I did! As usual, please do share which clip you liked more.

Mothaha Muffin Crumble

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Roasted red rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • All-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, pinch
  • Green gram, de-skinned – 1/2 cup, boiled
  • Jaggery – 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Coconut – 1/4 cup, freshly scraped
  • Cardamom – 1/4 tsp
  • Margarine – 120g, melted
  • Oil, as required


  1. Melt the margarine and let it cool slightly.
  2. Mix the freshly scraped coconut, green gram, jaggery and cardamom in a bowl.
  3. Add the coconut and gram mix to the melted margarine. Stir to mix the contents a little.
  4. Sift the rice flour and all purpose flour together. Add the baking powder and salt and mix.
  5. Add the flour mix to the wet ingredient mix. If the resulting mix is too dry, just add a little oil until it is sufficiently moist.
  6. Bake the muffins for about 25 – 30 mins at 180C.
  7. Serve warm with a hot beverage.

Wattalapam Jelly Pudding

I am sharing a pudding recipe that I first shared during last Eid. Wattalapam is originally a part of the Sri Lankan Malay cuisine but has become the most popular Sri Lankan dessert.  This recipe of my mother is an adaptation of the traditional wattalapam into a jelly pudding. I would like to share it at Eid Eats 2014, which I learnt about from Jhuls, an Eid event hosted by Sarah and Asiyah.
Wattalapam jelly puddingI also wanted to share two music clips from MTV Coke Studio’s youTube channel. The first clip is of a Sufi music duo that I enjoy listening to – the Wadali brothers, Puranchand and Pyarelal Wadali, from Amritsar.

The second clip is a song I listened to for the first time last week when I was searching for youTube clips of the Wadali brothers. Composed by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, the song is sung by Munawar Masoom and Kailash Kher.

Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating this day!
final eid eats

Wattalapam Jelly Pudding

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Thick coconut milk – 1 cup (this can be obtained by blending ¼ cup freshly scraped coconut with 1 cup of water)
  • Egg – 1 (can use 2 tbsp corn starch as a substitute)
  • Jaggery – ½ to 1 cup, depending on taste
  • Cardamom – 3 or 4, crushed
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
  • Agar agar – 2 tbsp
  • Hot water – 6 tbsp


  1. Mix the coconut milk and jaggery.
  2. Lightly whisk the egg before adding the jaggery-milk mixture. Blend the mixture well.
  3. Add the crushed cardamom and vanilla extract to the mixture.
  4. Cook the pudding mixture on low heat, stirring continuously, for about 10 mins.
  5. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and keep aside to cool.
  6. Take 2 tsp agar agar powder and mix with 6 tbsp hot water.
  7. Beat the agar agar mix into the slightly cooled pudding mixture.
  8. Cool and refrigerate.

Recipe Source: Raji Thillainathan.


Happy Thai Pongal! இனிய தைப்பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துகள்!

Tomorrow is Pongal for Tamils around the world. Pongal is a celebration that occurs annually on the first day of the month of ‘Thai’ (Tamil month equivalent to January) and is a harvest festival, traditionally meant to honour the sun. It is also the name of the key rice dish that is made to celebrate most Tamil festivals, but particularly its namesake festival.

I shared a simple recipe of the home-cooking version of Pongal in this post last August. Today, I also wanted to share some of the photos from one of our Pongal celebrations with the families in our apartment building a couple of years back as it is more of a community festival where people get together in the temple or courtyard, or as in this case – the car parking area. I was going to post this tomorrow on the festival day but as one of my friends has sent me a recipe of one of the snacks she makes for Pongal, I decided to post her recipe tomorrow. So, here’s the photo-story of Pongal making.

The kolam (designs made of rice flour paste) is first drawn. Within its boundaries, the traditional Tamil welcome is set up facing north, with the kuthuvillaku/lamps and the coconut with mango leaves placed in the kudam/pot

The kolam (designs made of rice flour paste) is first drawn. Within its boundaries, the traditional Tamil welcome is set up facing north, with the kuthuvillaku/lamps and the coconut with mango leaves placed in the kudam/pot

Water for Pongal

Setting up the Pongal pot facing the rising sun in the east

Milk boiling for pongal

Milk (usually dairy milk but at home, my mother uses coconut milk) is added to the water in the pot


Everyone waits for the milk to boil over – this symbolically means prosperity for all for the coming year (‘Ponguthal’ means boiling over and is the word that festival name and dish derived its name from)

Adding rice to the pot

The rice is then added to the pot – a handful at a time by some of the elders, women and men, present.


After the rice is cooked, jaggery, nuts, raisins are added to the pot and stirred well. Finally, the pongal is ready to be blessed and served.

While Thai Pongal is an important Tamil festival for Tamils living around the world, it is celebrated differently in different countries. In Sri Lanka, Pongal is mostly celebrated as described above whereas in India, it is a three-day festival with a day dedicated for cows. A harvest day festival around this day is also celebrated across India and Nepal but called different names (Makara Sankranti, Lohri, Uttarayana, Magh Bihu etc.) in different regions and has different rituals.

Wish you a Happy Pongal!

Kurakkan Pittu

Kurakkan, also known as ragi, is a type of millet that is gluten-free and diabetic friendly. At home, the most common and popular form of pittu is the rice flour pittu. Occasionally, my mother makes the atta flour pittu or the kurakkan flour pittu.

Below is the simple recipe for making kurakkan flour pittu. The rice flour pittu and atta flour pittu easily blend with any curries and is a convenient meal to prepare. Kurakkan, however, has a distinctive taste that I find does not easily merge with just any curry. As such, I prefer to eat kurakkan pittu simply sprinkled with coconut and jaggery.

Kurakkan Pittu

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 2

Kurakkan pittuIngredients:

  • Kurakkan flour/ ragi – 1 cup
  • Coconut – ¼ cup, freshly scraped
  • Jaggery – 2 or 3 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Salt – pinch


  1. Add a pinch or two of salt to the kurakkan flour.
  2. Stir in boiled and slightly cooled water until the flour mixtures becomes coarse and grainy.
  3. Steam the kurakkan pittu for 10 mins.
  4. Mix the freshly scraped coconut and chopped jaggery into the steamed pittu and serve hot.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


To celebrate Eid, my mother made some ‘dodol’. This sweet has its roots in the Malay cuisine of Sri Lanka but has since become popular across the entire country.

The second best ‘dodol’ that I have tasted is the ‘dodol’ sold in a little family-run shop on a tiny road across the Peacock beach hotel in Hambantota district. The best was the exquisite dodol wrapped in woven reed that a relative had sent us. He unfortunately omitted to get the contact details of the entrepreneur he had randomly come across and purchased it from. So, I only have the remembrance of the taste by which I have compared all other ‘dodol’ since. I have also hoped that that entrepreneur would have been successful enough in his business and his products would be available at some popular outlet other than his previous door-to-door sales.

At my house, while everyone likes dodol, it is time-consuming to make. My mother doesn’t like to take much time over cooking so she created her instant ‘dodol’ version, which I would say is the third best in my dodol tasting experience.

So, today, I will share my mother’s recipe for her instant dodol as well as my grandmother’s recipe for regular dodol.

(a) Dodol (regular) – grandmother’s recipe

Time taken: 2 hours

Makes 20 pieces


  • Coconut – 2 cup, freshly scraped
  • Roasted rice flour – 2 cup
  • Jaggery – 2 cup, grated
  • Crushed cardamom – 1 tbsp
  • Cashewnuts – ¼ cup, chopped


  1. Blend freshly scraped coconut with 10 cups of water and make coconut milk.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large pot and keep stirring continuously over a medium heat for around 1 hour. Do not allow mixture to burn.
  3. Once it starts thickening and the oil starts separating. Separate the dodol from the oil and transfer to a tray and allow to cool for at least ½ hour. The separated coconut oil can be reused for cooking.
  4. Store in an air-tight container and slice and serve, when required. The regular ‘dodol’ can be stored for at least 2 weeks.

(b) Instant dodol – my mother’s recipe:

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 4


  • Coconut – ½ cup, freshly scraped
  • Roasted rice flour – ¼ cup
  • Jaggery – ¼ cup, grated
  • Cashew nuts – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Cardamom – 3 or 4, crushed
  • Vegetable oil margarine – 1 tbsp


  1. Blend ½ cup of freshly scraped coconut with 1 cup of water to make coconut milk.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a pan and stir continuously over medium heat for about 10 mins.
  3. As the mixture thickens, add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil margarine and mix well. In the instant version, the stirring does not go on till the oil separates, hence the margarine is added before removing from stove.
  4. Transfer to a plate and allow the instant ‘dodol’ to cool for at least 15 mins before slicing and serving. The instant ‘dodol’ has to be served within 12 hours or so and cannot be kept for more time.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.