Pol Roti and Sambol

My recipe for today is pol roti and sambol, which is a quintessential Sri Lankan breakfast. The Sri Lankan roti’s uniqueness stems from the addition of grated coconut to the dough.

In my house, it has been a favourite meal across generations. One of my mother’s favourite childhood memories is that of her mother making roti for their tea on rainy days. My grandmother apparently added her own twist to the coconut roti, by adding chopped chilli and onions, making it a spicy roti which she served with plain tea. As it was an occasional treat reserved for rainy days, my mother and her siblings came to regard it as a favourite food and a special treat. They passed on this partiality to my generation and my cousins, siblings and I all seem to share this preference for roti and sambal. It is not breakfast food at home though, but a dinner meal. Apparently, the tiniest member of our family, my two year old niece, has also acquired this preference for roti after having her first little bite of roti this month.

Katy of Untold Morsels recently asked me what comfort food I made that reminded me most of home. I immediately thought of pol roti and sambol and then I realized that I was yet to share the recipe of pol roti on this blog. So, I decided to remedy the situation immediately with this post.

Pol roti & sambol.jpeg

Do try making the Sri Lankan pol roti and sambol at home! You will surely enjoy the treat!

Pol Roti and Pol Sambol

  • Servings: 3 or 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

Roti:

  • Flour – ¾ cup
  • Coconut – ½ cup, freshly grated
  • Salt, to taste
  • Little water
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • For spicy version of roti:
    • Atta flour – ¼ cup
    • Green chillies and onions – 1 or 2 tbsp, chopped
    • Crushed chilli flakes

Pol Sambol:

  • Coconut – ¾ cup
  • Red chillies – 5 or 6
  • Onion – ½
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Sift the flour and add the salt and grated coconut.
  2. For the spicy roti version, add the atta flour, chopped green chillies and onions and crushed chilli flakes as well to the flour mix. My mother loves the spicy roti while I prefer it without the chopped onions.
  3. Add a little water to the flour mix and make a dough.
  4. Add a tbsp of oil at the end so that the dough does not stick.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 balls and keep aside for 5 – 10 mins.
  6. Heat the flat pan.
  7. Flatten each ball and cook it over low heat, on the flat pan. Ensure it sufficiently browns on both sides by flipping it.
  8. Prepare the sambol by lightly frying the chopped chillies, onion and curry leaves and then grinding it with grated coconut and salt.
  9. Serve immediately with warm rotis and a cup of Sri Lankan tea.

spicy roti.jpeg
Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Vadai with Sambal

I have been enjoying writing on my other blog, Perspectives Quilt, this month reminiscing about past travels. I have also just opened up a Pinterest and Instagram account, both of which I had been avoiding not only because I was busy but also because I am not a good photographer. However, since opening both accounts last week, I have found that I pay a little more attention to whatever photos I do take. I know I haven’t been doing justice, with my photos, to the delicious food that my mother has made though I have been diligently recording and sharing her recipes through this blog. I have resolved to try and work on my food photography skills a little, where possible.

So, when my mother made some vadai for tea this evening, I decided that it would be a good time to start experimenting with natural light and angles. Nothing major. Just a series of photos turning my little bowl, with my teatime snack, around. This is the photo I ended up satisfied with, after dozens of photos, which I then applied an instagram filter on.

Vadai 01.JPG

Vadai with Sambal

What do you think? Does this photo make you want to have some vadai now?

Well, whether it makes you want to try some right now or not, please do try out my mother’s famous (among family and friends) recipe for homemade vadai with sambal. They are delicious and lovely to share at Iftar parties as well!

I am bringing this over to Fiesta Friday #124, initiated by Angie and co-hosted this week by Lindy@Love in the Kitchen and Liz@Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.

Vadai with Sambal

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: advanced
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Ingredients:

  • Urad dal/ black gram – 1 cup, skin removed
  • Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – 1, medium sized and chopped
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Low fat oil (sunflower or canola) – ½ litre (for deep frying) + 1 tsp (for sauté)
  • Salt, to taste

Sambal:

  • Freshly scraped coconut – ½ cup
  • Red or Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – ¼, chopped
  • Ginger – ½ “ (optional)
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig, chopped
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Soak the black gram, without the skin, for 3 – 4 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked black gram, adding a little water, to prepare the thick vadai batter.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and lightly sauté the chopped onion, chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pan and the coriander leaves to the batter mix and add salt to taste. If you prefer, you can also add 1 tsp baking powder.
  5. Mix well and keep aside for 5 mins.
  6.  Heat the oil in the pan for deep-frying.
  7. Take a piece of banana leaf or something equivalent, dab some water on the surface and put a spoonful of batter onto the leaf. Shape it into a round or elliptical shape with a hole in the middle, like a mini doughnut.
  8. Transfer to the oil pan, 3 to 4 at a time, and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  9. Mix and grind all ingredients for the sambal and add salt, to taste.
  10. Serve the vadai with sambal and some Sri Lankan tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Salad Colombo

Since there were a couple of different mangoes in the house, I felt like using some in a salad. I was also curious about trying out tea in a salad dressing so concocted this – Salad Colombo. Why Salad Colombo? Because I used locally produced ingredients from different parts of the country brought together in Colombo. So, why not Salad Colombo? 🙂

Salad Colombo

I am taking this crunchy, tangy, bitter-sweet salad over to Angie’s FF#122, co-hosted this week by Aruna@Aharam and Mollie@The Frugal Hausfrau and for the first time, the party at Throwback Thursday #44, hosted by Quinn@Dad What’s 4 Dinner, Mollie@The Frugal Hausfrau, Carlee@Cooking with Carlee, Meaghan@4 Sons ‘R’ Us and Alli@Tornadough Alli.

I have been listening to Coldplay the whole day so decided to feature a song I liked.

Hope you enjoy the salad and the featured song for this week.

Salad Colombo

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Lettuce leaves
  • Mango – ½ (large) or 1 (small)
  • Pomegranate – 2 tbsp

Pomegranate and lime infused Orange pekoe tea dressing:

  • Lime/ orange juice – 1 tbsp
  • Pomegranate juice – 1 tsp
  • Tea –  1 – 2 tsp
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

Method

  1. Clean and chop up the lettuce leaves and arrange on a plate or bowl.
  2. Add sliced mango and pomegranate to the plate.
  3. Prepare the salad dressing by preparing a strong black tea and transferring about 2 tsp to a little bowl.
  4. Add the freshly processed pomegranate juice to the tea. Let it sit for a few minutes before adding the lime juice. (I prefer lime to orange juice for the dressing)
  5. If you wish, add salt and pepper, to taste. I didn’t add any in my version preferring the tanginess of the lime to be enough but my mother preferred adding a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.IMG_0234

 

Summer Salad

We had a spell of unbearably warm weather the last couple of months here in sunny Colombo. It’s just this week that the dry spell has been broken with rain showers. Cooling salads became a regular part of our meals during the last several weeks so I felt like sharing a salad post this week. A simple, colourful and cooling salad.

summer salad

Instead of the usual music videos that I share with my food posts, this week, I am extending a special invitation to you to join Fiesta Friday. I am delighted to co-host Angie‘s Fiesta Friday #119 with Diann@Of Goats and Greens. Fiesta Friday is a linky party initiated by Angie, the Novice Gardener. The fiesta is a congenial place to share your post of the week, usually food posts, and interact with the other party-goers by checking out their party submissions and commenting. Everyone is welcome to bring their post of the week to the party and check out the link party guidelines, if it is your first time. Click on the image below to join the party 🙂

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @

Hope you enjoy the salad as well as join in the fiesta! 🙂

Summer Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Carrot – 1, medium
  • Beetroot – ½
  • Onion – ½
  • Grated/ scraped coconut, fresh – ½ cup
  • Green chillies – 2 or 3
  • Gotu kola (scientific name: Centella Asiatica) – ½ cup
  • Tomato – 1
  • Cucumber – 1
  • Lime – 1
  • Salt and pepper, to tasteIMG_0208

Method

  1. Lightly fry the chopped onion and chillies in a frying pan. Add the grated coconut and gotu kola leaves to the pan and stir fry for 2 – 3 mins.
  2. Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor and process it.
  3. Add the juice of half a lime and salt, to taste, to the ground gotukola mix.
  4. Clean and grate the carrot and beetroot separately.
  5. Divide the juice of the remaining half of the lime between the grated carrot and beetroot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Arrange the salad on a plate with the green gotu kola mix in the center surrounded by the grated carrot and beetroot.
  7. Add the sliced cucumber and tomato to the salad plate.
  8. Enjoy the cooling salad on its own or with a little rice.

salad

 

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

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.

Jackfruit Fritters

Earlier this week, I shared my mother’s recipe for jackfruit stir-fry. Today, I am sharing another one of her jackfruit recipes – jackfruit fritters. I am bringing a few over to Angie‘s Fiesta Friday #111, co-hosted by Naina and Julianna.
Jackfruit fritterGiven that I have been listening to mostly Sufi songs this week, I decided to share another Sufi song that I enjoyed listening to. This clip is also from MTV Coke Studio’s YouTube channel. The musicians are Ustad Raees Khan (sitar) and Abida Parveen.

Happy Fiesta Friday!

Jackfruit Fritters

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Jackfruit – ½ cup, finely chopped
  • Flour – ¼ cup
  • Onion – 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Chilli – 1 or 2
  • Breadcrumbs – 3 tbsp
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Pepper and Salt, to taste
  • Oil

Method

  1. Fry the chopped onion and chilli in a pan.
  2. Add the finely chopped jackfruit pieces to the pan and stir-fry until cooked.
  3. Mix the flour, breadcrumbs, curry powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Add the fried jackfruit, onion and chilli mix to the flour mix.
  5. Prepare the fritter dough by adding little water to the mix.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 balls.
  7. Flatten each ball and deep fry, flipping over the fritters so that they are browned uniformly on both sides.
  8. Serve immediately with rice or on its own.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Jackfruit stir-fry

I have always liked jackfruit. There was even a tree at my grandmother’s house so we were treated to the fruit on our rare visits there during my childhood. The tree is no longer there now but when I come across jackfruit, it takes me back to my grandmother’s home. Due to the sugar-free eating that my parents follow at home, we no longer buy the ripe fruit. However, on rare occasions, my mother buys the unripe fruit to cook polos. Recently, she made a tasty stir-fry and some fritters so I am sharing the jackfruit stir-fry recipe today.
Jackfruit stir fryI’d like to share a song that I came across on the Coke studio youtube channel and which I enjoyed very much. This song is an adaptation of a poem by the 13th century mystic poet, Amir Khusrow, who is also regarded as the father of qawwali. Here, it is sung by two contemporary famous qawwali musicians – Abida Parveen and Rahet Fateh Ali Khan.

Have a lovely week and hope you enjoy the song and the recipe!

Jackfruit stir-fry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Jackfruit – ½ cup, finely chopped
  • Onion – 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Chilli – 1, red
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fennel seeds –
  • Turmeric – pinch
  • Coconut – 2 or 3 tbsp, freshly scraped
  • Curry powder – 1 or 2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil

Method

  1. Boil the chopped jackfruit, with a pinch of turmeric and salt, for around 10 – 15 mins. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped onion, chilli, curry leaves and fennel seeds for a couple of minutes before adding the cooked jackfruit pieces. Stir fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the freshly scraped/ grated coconut to the pan together with the curry powder. Mix well.
  4. Serve warm with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

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.
IMG_0070
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.

Coconut pancakes

While I was an undergraduate at Peradeniya university a couple of decades ago, I disliked most of the under-cooked meals served at the university canteens. The only stuff I did like were some of the snacks which were delicious and new to me. One such snack was the coconut pancake. I realized afterwards that while it had been quite new to me, it is quite a staple on roadside tea stalls across the country so I refer to it as the Sri Lankan pancake as it is a little different from the regular pancake my mother usually makes at home. I recently mentioned this to my mother and my mother decided to recreate this coconut pancake, the recipe of which I am sharing here. As the coconut pancakes are really yummy, I decided to bring some over to Angie‘s Fiesta Friday #105, co-hosted by Lily and Julianna.

IMG_0088Given that I watched a few Bollywood movies this january, my song choice for this weekend is one from Imtiaz Ali’s movie Tamasha, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. The lyrics of the song was written by Irshad Kamil and music composed by A.R.Rahman and sung by Mohit Chauhan.

Hope you enjoy the song this weekend as you try out the coconut pancakes for brunch!

Coconut pancakes

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Flour – ½ cup
  • Saffron or kesar powder – pinch
  • Salt – pinch
  • Coconut – ½ cup, grated
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Vanilla – 1 tsp

Method

  1. Mix the flour, saffron, salt with the coconut milk to make pancake batter. Add  a little water to adjust consistency, if required.
  2. Lightly fry the grated coconut with sugar in a pan until it caramelizes slightly. Remove from heat.
  3. Add vanilla essence to either batter or caramelized coconut.
  4. Scoop the batter onto the pan and make a thin layer. Cover for two minutes and cook over low heat. Flip the pancake and cook for another minute before removing from pan.
  5. After removing the pancake from pan, fill it immediately with the caramelized coconut and roll it.
  6. Serve the coconut pancakes with a hot cup of tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Breadfruit Fries

As I mentioned in my earlier breadfruit post, my mother tried out a couple of breadfruit dishes recently. I enjoyed the breadfruit curry but I enjoyed more the breadfruit fries she made. So, this weekend, I’d like to share my mother’s recipe for breadfruit fries and bring it to Angie‘s Fiesta Friday #101, co-hosted by Jhuls and Mr.Fitz.
IMG_0072
I was listening to some Sri Lankan music this week and the song I am sharing today is from the recently released movie Ho Gaana Pokuna (translation: The Singing Pond), directed by Indika Ferdinando and lyrics by Kusumsiri Liyanaarachchi. The film won the Teacher’s Choice Prize in the Chicago international children’s film festival.

Have a lovely weekend!

Breadfruit Fries

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Breadfruit – 1 cup, chopped
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Ginger, garlic, to taste
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Mix the chopped breadfruit with salt and pepper.
  2. Deep fry the pieces and keep aside.
  3. Chop 1 onion and lightly fry the onion with chopped ginger, garlic and curry leaves in a pan. Add curry powder and salt to taste.
  4. Stir in the deep-fried breadfruit pieces and mix well.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.