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!
panag kilangu

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.

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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

Odiyal Kool

Today is my mother’s birthday and I felt like re-sharing one of my mother’s favourite recipes. Odiyal Kool is a traditional dish from north Sri Lanka and can be made as a vegetarian or non-vegetarian version. Today’s recipe is a vegetarian dish. OK1 For today’s music feature, I wish to share some song clips from youTube from the official vevo site of one of my favourite singers – Andrea Bocelli. The first is a music video of the song ‘Canto Della Terra’. The second song ‘Con Te Partiro’ is from a 2011 concert. I liked more an earlier version, where he sings with Sarah Brightman, but could not find it on the official site. The last clip is the music video of the song with Laura Pausini ‘Dare to Live’. Hope you enjoy the music and the recipe! Ok2

Odiyal Kool

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: average
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Ingredients

  • 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
  • Boiled rice – ½ cup
  • Dried red chillies – 5- 10, according to your taste
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Pepper powder – 1tbsp
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water – 1 1/2 litres

Method:

  1. Dry grind the cumin seeds, red chillies and pepper and keep aside.
  2. Boil the vegetables in a pot with half litre water.
  3. Add another litre of water, along with the tamarind extract.
  4. As the water comes to a boil, slowly stir in the odiyal flour, avoiding lumps.
  5. Add the boiled rice to the pot.
  6. Add the ground spice mixture and the turmeric powder to the pot and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve hot in medium-sized bowls.

Recipe Source: Raji Thillainathan.

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.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method:

  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.

Panangkatti

I wanted to share one more palmyrah product this week. I will wrap up the palmyrah recipe series with ‘panangkatti’ or palmyrah sugar. During my great-grandmother’s time, ‘panangkatti’ was considered the regular sweetener for cooking and beverages and not the processed sugar of today. My mother recollects her grandmother serving her tea with a piece of panangkatti.

Very rich in nutrients and a good source of vitamin B12, ‘panangkatti’ is considered particularly good for diabetic patients as well as those seeking to reduce their weight. Whenever I travel to Jaffna, I always try to bring my parents some good ‘panangkatti’ as the best in the country is available only there and both my parents are diabetic.

While there are some people like my parents who prefer ‘panangkatti’ to regular sugar, its usage in the country has been on the decline over the last couple of decades. Therefore, its production has also reduced while the prices have gone up and it is now much more expensive than the regular sugar one can buy in any store.

This is what my mother remembers of her grandmother’s recipe for making panangkatti, for those interested in knowing how it is made. The accompanying photo is of some ‘panangkatti’ that my mother had bought last week from Katpaham.

PanangkattiPanangkatti

Ingredients:

  • Palmyrah sap – ½ cup
  • Rice flour – 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Stir the palmyrah sap (palm water) continuously in the pot over medium heat, till it thickens beyond the consistency required for ‘paani‘.
  2. Add a tbsp of rice flour and continue stirring till its consistency becomes denser and it is no longer watery.
  3. Scoop a tbsp of the ‘panangkatti’ mixture into the woven palmyrah leaf thimbles and let it cool and set.
  4. Store the ‘panangkatti’ thimbles in an air-tight container.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Panaattu

‘Panaattu’ is considered to have high levels of vitamins A and E. As far as my mother is concerned, it is something she has been fond of ever since she was a toddler. She bought a slab of ‘panaattu’ from the Katpaham outlet here so that I could take a photograph but she finds that it does not have the colour or consistency that her grandmother’s used to have. It is the first time that I have tasted ‘panaattu’ so I can’t compare.

PanaattuHere’s the method my great-grandmother used to make panaattu, as remembered by my mother from her childhood days. I am sharing it for those who are interested in knowing what or how ‘panaattu’ is made and for those who happen to have some palmyrah fruit and wish to try making some panaattu. For more ways that the palmyrah is used in the north of Sri Lanka, check out my earlier post on its background.

Ingredients:

Palmyrah fruit – 6, very ripe

Coconut oil, for coating the ‘panaattu’ layer.

Method:

  1. Peel the very ripe palmyrah fruit and then mix repeatedly with just enough water to be able to make the fruit pulp. Strain the pulp through a clean cloth.
  2. Spread the collected pulp as a thin layer over a woven palm mat and let it dry under the sun.
  3. Cover the mat during night.
  4. The next day, add another thin layer of palmyrah fruit pulp extract over the dried layer and continue to sun-dry. Repeat this process for 10 days, adding new thin layers each day till the thickness of the ‘panaattu’ is around ½ inch.
  5. Let the ‘panaattu’ dry under the sun till it reaches a maroonish-orange colour and can be cut through with a knife without it sticking to the knife.
  6. Slice the long panaattu roll into manageable pieces. Apply a little coconut oil and fold the cut pieces.
  7. Taking a woven palmyrah leaf container/ box, stock up the cut and oiled panaattu pieces.
  8. This can be then stored for a long time. My great-grandmother used to store the box of panaattu on a shelf above her cooking stove.
  9. Serve a piece of panaattu with tea or make some paani panaattu from it.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.