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.

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.
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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.

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

Brinjal Curry

My recipe for february is a recipe from home – a recipe of my mother. This blog has been helpful to myself these past few months, as I have tried out one of my mother’s recipes that I shared here, when I find myself missing home. While I have shared three brinjal recipes of my mother before – katharikkai curry, katharikkai vathakkal and brinjal and green peas curry, today’s recipe is another way my mother cooks brinjal. It is a simple and very easy to make recipe, that I very much like, and is great with rice. Sharing this recipe at the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #30.
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Today, I would like to share some popular French music from the 60s that I like. Starting with my favourite French singer – Edith Piaf. I started listening to her songs after watching the movie ‘La Vie En Rose’. This clip is one of her more famous songs – Non, Je ne regrette rien (1965).

The other song for today is considered the signature song of Charles Aznavour – La Boheme (1960).

Hope you enjoy the music while you try out this simple curry recipe! Have a lovely weekend!
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Brinjal Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Brinjal – 1 cup, chopped
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Onion – 1/4, chopped
  • Coconut milk – 1/2 cup (thin) + 1/4 cup (thick)
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice

Method:

  1. Cook the chopped brinjal together with the chopped onion, green chilli and curry leaves in 1/2 cup of thin coconut milk for around 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  2. Then add 1/4 cup thick coconut milk and simmer for 5 mins.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in some fresh lime juice.
  4. Serve warm with rice.

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.

Peanut Chocolate Cake

Today, I wish to re-post a delicious chocolate cake recipe of my mother that I had posted last year.

Today’s music features Arabic pop. The first clip is a song, by Samira Said and Cheb Mami, that has special meaning to me. Sometimes when I am stuck in my writing process, I turn to music to clear my head and focus. The type of music that helps me at one time does not necessarily help at another time so I usually experiment with a few before I come across the right one for the particular writing. One of the times I faced a writing block was during the writing of my master’s thesis. After several non-productive days and many music listening hours later, I found myself listening to an online Arabic pop radio stream. From the moment, this song came on, I felt very much energized and focused and soon started working on my writing. This was the song that pulled me through the subsequent weeks of thesis writing and as such, I retain a fondness for it.

The next clip is a recent release of Diana Haddad, another Arabic pop singer that I used to listen to.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy this cake!
Peanut chocolate cake

Peanut Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: average
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Peanut Chocolate Cake
Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil margarine – ¾ cup + 1 tbsp (for frosting)
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Banana – ½ , as an egg substitute
  • Wheat flour – 1 ½ cup
  • Soya milk – 1 cup
  • Peanut – ½ cup, coarsely ground + 2 tbsp (for frosting)
  • Vanilla – 2 tsp
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp (for frosting)
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – ½ tsp
  • Icing sugar – 2 tbsp, for frosting

Method:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients – the wheat flour together with the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda – and keep aside.
  2. Mash the banana in a bowl. Add the margarine and sugar to the bowl and whisk them together.
  3. Gradually add the soya milk and continue whisking.
  4. Stir in the coarsely ground peanuts and vanilla essence.
  5. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour the cake batter into a greased tray and bake at 190⁰C/374⁰F for 40 mins.
  7. Whisk 1 tbsp margarine together with 1 tsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp icing sugar and 2 tsp ground nuts to make the frosting.
  8. Spread evenly on surface of the peanut chocolate cake, after the cake has sufficiently cooled.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.