Mini Halapa

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.

HalapaMini Halapa

Preparation time – ½ hour

Cooking time – 15 mins

Makes 12 mini halapa

Mini halapaIngredients:

  • Kurakkan flour – 1 cup
  • Coconut – ½ cup, freshly scraped
  • Coconut treacle or kithul pani/ treacle – 4 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Banana or Kanda leaves

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. Add a pinch or two of salt to the kurakkan flour. Stir in the warm water and make the dough.
  3. Cut the banana leaf into 12 smaller pieces or use the kanda leaves.
  4. 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.
  5. Steam the halapa for 15 mins.
  6. Serve warm with tea.

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

Method:

  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.