Capsicum with Eggs

Today’s guest blogger is Refinceyaa Patterson. She mentions that this dish is a creation of her aunt who runs a pre-school in Trincomalee and enjoys cooking. This dish is generally cooked at her home on Sundays or special occasions as it is a favourite of their family.

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Courtesy of Refinceyaa Patterson

In the continuing South Indian movie song theme, today’s featured singer is Sujatha Mohan. She started playback singing while still at school in the 1970s. After a hiatus in her singing for most of the 80s, she became popular again when A.R.Rahman had her sing in several of his songs in the 90s. She won state awards for some of these songs composed by A.R.Rahman.

The first song clip is from the 2007 movie Mozhi (translation: Language).

The second song clip is another live performance, this time of Sujatha and Mano, of the song from Bharathiraja’s movie Kizhakku Cheemaiyile (1993). With music composed by A.R.Rahman, this was the song that made me notice Sujatha as a singer. I guess I am partial to folk tunes.

The last clip is not a song by Sujatha but that of her daughter Shweta Mohan, who started her playback singing career in 2006. In this clip, Shweta was invited for a surprise appearance on the set of a music contest where her mother is one of the judges. She sings a few lines of a poem by Bharathiyar, my mother’s favourite poet.

Hope you enjoyed the voice of Sujatha Mohan and do let me know how this recipe turned out for you!

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Courtesy of Refinceyaa Patterson

Capsicum with Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb (~100g) capsicum
  • 2 potatoes cut into small pieces
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • curry leaves
  • 1 oz Maldive fish (optional)
  • a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 dessert spoon oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Method:

  1. Wash and cut the capsicum into four slices (lengthwise).
  2. Add salt, turmeric, curry leaves, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and the capsicum slices to a pan together with a little water.
  3. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes.
  4. When the water dries up, add the oil and the optional Maldive fish to the pan and fry the contents for a few minutes.
  5. Now break the eggs over the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  6. Add a cup of the first extract of coconut milk to the pan.
  7. Bring the curry to a boil and take it off the fire.

Recipe source: Refinceyaa Patterson.

Prawn, Avocado and Egg salad

Today’s guest blogger is Rushda (lìng yīgè tóngxué). She told me she prefers salads when it came to cooking. So, I asked her to share one of her successful salad recipes.

Prawn, Avocado and Egg salad

I like experimenting with cooking and love to take up the challenge in making a dish out of whatever ingredients are available in my fridge when I decide to cook. I would also rather that someone else does the cooking and feeds me than do the cooking myself.

Rushda saladTime taken: 20 to 30 mins

Serves 2 or 3

Ingredients:

  • Boiled eggs –  2 or 3, sliced
  • Avocado – 1, cubed
  • Prawns or baby shrimps – handful
  • Tomatoes – 2 or 3
  • Bell peppers – 1 or 2 (different colours are better)
  • Lime juice – 1 or 2 tbsp
  • Mixed herbs – oregano and rosemary – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Black pepper – ½ to 1 tsp, crushed
  • Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves, crushed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, pinch
  • Vinegar – 1 tsp
  • Olive oil, as required

Method:

  1. Make the salad dressing by mixing olive oil, vinegar, pinch of sugar, mixed herbs and finely crushed garlic. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the cleaned and de-shelled prawns in a non-stick pan on low heat till it is cooked enough. Just sprinkle a bit of lime juice over it while cooking – don’t add water or oil while cooking. After the prawns are cooked and cooled, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and sprinkle some pepper and salt over them. If salt is used here, it is not required to be used again in the recipe.
  3. Toast the roughly cut tomatoes in a wok or pan over low heat.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the boiled eggs, bell peppers and cube the avocado.
  5. Assemble the ingredients on the salad plate, in an eye-catching way.
  6. Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad.

Recipe source: Rushda.

Seeni Sambol

Since I started this blog, I have developed this tendency of asking fellow Sri Lankans I meet  to contribute one of their favourite recipes to the blog. One such instance was when I invited my Mandarin language classmates to contribute to the blog and starting today, over the next few weeks, the guest posts will feature a few recipes shared by my class.

Today’s guest blogger is Hasini Wanninayake. She is currently an international studies undergraduate at Kelaniya university and plans to join the foreign service after her graduation.

Seeni Sambol

This is a side dish that my mother often makes at home. It can be eaten with hoppers, kiribath or in a sandwich.

seeni sambalTime taken: 30 mins

Serves 5 to 6

Ingredients:

  • Onions – 5, large
  • Maldive fish – ¼ cup (optional)
  • Ginger – 1”, crushed
  • Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves
  • Cinnamon – 1 piece
  • Cloves – 3 or 4
  • Curry leaves – 1 or 2 sprigs
  • Rampe  – 1 or 2” piece
  • Sera/ Lemongrass – ½ “ pieces
  • Tamarind paste – 1 tsp
  • Vegetable oil – 4 to 6 tbsp
  • Sugar – 2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Peel and finely chop the onions.
  2. Mix the first nine ingredients (onions to lemon grass) in a bowl with a pinch of salt.
  3. Heat the oil in a shallow pan.
  4. When the oil starts to sizzle, add the mixed ingredients to the pan and keep stirring for 10 to 15 mins.
  5. When the onions are well fried and dry, add the tamarind paste to the pan.
  6. Continue stirring until the ingredients are well mixed.
  7. Fry a few minutes longer until the mixture turns dark brown.
  8. Add the sugar and keep stirring for a little while longer. Adjust salt, if required, before removing from heat.

Recipe source: Hasini Wanninayake.

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.

Malu Ambulthiyal

Today’s guest blogger is Sunera Edirisuriya, a staff member of Save the Children. She will be sharing a little background information on Matara district’s specialty seafood dish as well as her mother’s recipe for it.

This is one of the famous fish curries which is unique to down south Sri Lanka. It does not mean that this curry is not cooked in other parts of the country yet there is a difference in the flavour and the ingredients used. Due to its origins in the south, it is customary for people from the south to take a pot or jar of malu ambulthiyal when they visit relatives living elsewhere. This fish curry can be served with rice and other curries. Specially, Malu Ambulthiyal pairs well with Kiribath (Milk rice) and katta Sambola.

In our family, we never miss Malu Ambulthiyal at the meal table during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year festival. It was my paternal grand-mother who used to prepare this dish and then my mother and now my elder sister brings this curry to our New Year meal table.

Malu Ambulthiyal

Cooking time: 20 mins

Serves 10

Malu Ambulthiyal

Ingredients:

  • Fish 1kg
  • Goraka (Garcinia gummi-gutta) – 100g
  • Pepper- 2 tea spoons
  • Green chilies -5
  • Cinnamon – ½ tea spoons
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water – 1 cup

Method:

  1. Cut the fish in to small pieces (15-20) and wash them properly.
  2. Put the pieces of goraka in a saucepan with a little water and simmer until the goraka is soft.
  3. Crush the drained goraka pieces until it becomes a coarse paste
  4. Put the fish, goraka paste, pepper, curry leaves, cinnamon powder, salt and green chillies in the pan and mix them well until all the fish pieces are well coated.
  5. Add 1 cup of water to it.
  6. Cook the mixture over low heat for 20 mins. It would be much more delicious if this dish is cooked in a clay pot.
  7. Serve with rice or kiribath.

Recipe source: Sunera Edirisuriya.

Nethali Theeyal

This dish is considered a highly nutritious dish and is particularly made for those recovering from a serious illness or childbirth and who need to eat a diet with more calcium content.

This is my grandmother’s recipe as remembered by my mother. Sorry that I do not have an accompanying photo for it as my parents have been vegetarians for nearly 15 years now.

Nethali Theeyal

Time taken: 15 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Nethali/ Anchovies – 1 cup
  • Tamarind extract – 1 ½ cup
  • Onion – ½
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Crushed chillies – 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Clean the nethali.
  2. Place all the ingredients except oil – the cleaned nethali, chopped onion and chillies, tamarind extract, crushed chillies and salt to taste – in a pan.
  3. Cook on low heat, for around 15 mins, till the gravy thickens.
  4. Drizzle some oil on the edges of the curry before removing the pan from stove.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Three fish recipes

Today, I will share three fish preparations of my grandmother, as remembered by my mother and occasionally prepared at home during my childhood days.

(a) Fish curry

Cooking time: 25 mins

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • Fish (any type) – 5 pieces
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind juice – ½ cup
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup (thin consistency) + ½ cup (thick consistency)
  • Special curry powder for fish – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (optional)
  • Oil, as required

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion and curry leaves with fenugreek seeds for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the fish pieces. Mix well and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add ½ cup of tamarind extract and then the 1 cup of thin coconut milk.
  4. Let the curry simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the ½ cup of thick coconut milk and if you like, another tsp of the curry powder. Let the curry cook for another 5 mins until the gravy thickens.
  6. Serve with rice.

(b)  Fried fish/ Meen Poriyal or Varuval

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Seer fish/ Arakkula or Malabar Trevally/Paarai meen or Emperor fish/ Vilai meen  – 4 pieces
  • Onion – 2, chopped
  • Crushed red chillies – 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, for deep-frying

Method:

  1. Clean the fish pieces. Marinate with salt and chilli powder.
  2. Deep fry the marinated pieces and keep aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the onions and curry leaves. Add the crushed chilli, cumin and coriander powders.
  4. Add the fried fish and mix. Cook for about 10 mins or nicely combined.
  5. Serve with rice.

(c) Scrambled fish or Sura varai

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Fish, usually shark/ sura – 1 cup (250g), cleaned and chopped pieces
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Green chilli – 1, chopped
  • Dried red chillies – 2, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Freshly scraped coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Pepper or Curry powder – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sesame oil, as required

Method:

  1. Boil the fish pieces. Once cooked, cool and then crumble the pieces in a bowl. Add some salt, pepper and turmeric powder and keep aside.
  2. Heat 2tbsp of sesame oil in a pan and sauté the chopped onion, green and red chillies and curry leaves with the fennel and mustard seeds.
  3. Add the crumbled and spiced fish to the pan and mix well. If needed, add a little more oil.
  4. Finally, add the freshly scraped coconut. Combine well and cook for a few minutes before removing from heat.
  5. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.