Aggala

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.
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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.

Aggala

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Rice flour – 1 cup, roasted
  • Pani/ treacle or honey – ½ cup
  • Coconut – ¼ cup, desiccated or fresh
  • Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Mix the roasted rice flour, shredded coconut, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Lightly heat the treacle in a pan and stir in the rice flour mix.
  3. When it thickens, remove from heat. If the mix is too dry, add a little hot water.
  4. Make around 6 balls out of the mix and let it cool, before serving.

Recipe source: Lalitha Senadheera.

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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.

Pongal

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.
Pongal

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!
Pongal

Pongal

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  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.
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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.
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Mothaha Muffin Crumble

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
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 Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  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.

Savoury Rice

I had tried to get hold of some of the Sri Lankan Burgher cuisine recipes for some time now. While some of the dishes such as lamprais, frikkadels and some kinds of specialty cakes around Christmas time are very popular and are recreated by cafes and bakeries around the country, I was more interested in the home-cooking of Burgher families. Besides Refinceyaa who shared her aunt’s recipe for capsicum with eggs on this blog, I had also asked Trevor Martil who is another of my former colleagues. He recently sent me some of his mother’s favourite recipes. Today’s recipe is one such dish, which Trevor’s mother calls ‘savoury rice with a difference.’ This rice recipe (providing both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options) is what I am sharing at Fiesta Friday together with some special music clips.

The special song clip for today is a rendition, by Amitabh Bachchan, of renowned poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s beautiful Bengali poem Ekla Cholo Re written in 1905. This song is from Sujoy Ghosh’s acclaimed Hindi movie Kahaani (translation: Story, 2012) starring Vidya Balan. Translation of the lyrics can be found on Wikipedia.

The next song clip is from Aamir Khan’s talk show Satyamev Jayate (translation: Truth alone prevails). Composed by Ram Sampath for the lyrics written by Swanand Kirkire, Meenal Jain sings the beautiful Hindi song ‘Sakhi’ at the end of the episode on domestic violence. I think I must have watched all the episodes of the first season in 2012.

Hope you enjoyed the songs and do let me know if you tried out the recipe today!

Savoury Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: average
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Ingredients:

  • 250g cooked rice
  • 150g chicken (vegetarians can substitute this with tofu or mushroom)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 capsicum chili
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce (Trevor’s mother prefers to use Sri Lankan MD brand)
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chili powder
  • ginger paste and garlic paste (Again, Trevor’s mother prefers the ready-made MD brand)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 30g green peas
  • 2 eggs
  • cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise
  • curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (vegetarians can substitute this with vegetable stock)
  • parsley
  • coriander leaves

Method:

  1. Temper spices, star anise, onions, curry leaves.
  2. Add cooked rice, 1/4 cup milk, turmeric. Allow to simmer.
  3. Add green peas, eggs and stir in a tablespoon of butter.
  4. Serve and keep aside.
  5. Cut chicken into small pieces, marinate in soya sauce, and place in a pan.
  6. Cook till water is absorbed.
  7. Add oil and stir-fry adding all vegetables, onions, ginger, garlic sauces and 1/2 cup chicken stock.
  8. Cook and take off heat with gravy.
  9. Pour over rice.
  10. Sprinkle parsley and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Recipe source: Trevor Martil

 

Spicy Curd Rice From Ahila!

Re-blogging Susan from Watch Hatch Fly‘s lovely version of the spicy curd dish… Thank you, Susan, for trying out the recipe and sharing! Warm greetings from sunny Colombo!

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We spent the last several days at the lake.

I always pack food for the trip, because the lake is located in the twilight zone of Pennsylvania. It’s difficult to describe the area, certainly beautiful, very rural and NO grocery stores. There are a few little stores that will do in a pinch. They tend to carry only essentials (such as ammo or bait. It’s big hunting territory.)

Vegans don’t require ammo or bait, and the blackberries aren’t ripe yet. So, we pack!

I decided to bring Spicy Curd Rice from Ahila@A Taste of Sri Lankan Cuisine. Ahila kindly followed me shortly after I began blogging in October. She generously comments and visits regularly. She always says something about the dogs. Louie would like to say something back:

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I had leftover chick peas, so I threw them into the rice. I used a dried Thai pepper that I bought…

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Repost: Fried Rice

I wish to wrap up the rice series by re-posting a delicious fried rice recipe from the first month of this blog.

Fried riceTo go with this post, I chose to feature two musicians who were born in Sri Lanka and started their music careers here. They have expanded their musical repertoire since moving/ migrating to the west in the 80s and have made some impressive music.

The first musician to be featured today is Carnatic musician Manickam Yogeswaran. While primarily a classical musician, he has worked with several music groups including fusion group Dissidenten on the Instinctive Traveller album and Jocelyn Pook Ensemble on the sound track of ‘Eyes wide shut‘ and ‘Brick Lane.’

This song is a recording of a bhajan at the sacred music and dance festival held in Berlin last year.

I also wanted to share a song from his 2005 album ‘Peace for Paradise.’

Finishing this post with an upbeat song – Herb Alpert and Lani Hall Quintet’s version of Puttin’ on the Ritz from their grammy award-winning album Steppin’ Out. The second musician I am featuring today is Hussain Jiffry, the bassist in this quintet. He has worked with several musicians including Sérgio Mendes and Yanni.

Enjoy a lovely sunday!

Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fried Rice Ingredients:

  • Basmathi rice – 2 cups
  • Carrot – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Green peas – ¼ cup
  • Leeks – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Onion – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Mixed 3C spice powder – clove, cinnamon, cardamom powder – 2 tsp
  • Kesari powder – ½ tsp (can use biryani powder or saffron or turmeric powder)
  • Low fat margarine – 50g or 3 tbsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 ~ 2’’ stick
  • Rampe leaf/ pandan
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the rice together with a cinnamon stick, rampe leaf and a little salt.
  2. Chop up the vegetables and sprinkle a little salt over them. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the margarine in a pan over low heat.
  4. Add the mixed 3C spice powder and sauté for a couple of seconds before adding the chopped vegetables.
  5. When the veggies become tender, add the kesari powder.
  6. Add the cooked rice and mix well.
  7. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.