want to know abt srilankan dishes

Discussion in 'Recipe Central' started by umasridharan, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. umasridharan

    umasridharan Senior IL'ite

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    Want to know about Srilankan Cooking.

    What is Puzhukodiyal, sambal and odiyan kizhangu? How to make sodhi Puzhukodiyal and sambal? I don’t know whether these pronunciations are correct. I read these things from a Srilankan story.


  2. JumpinJude

    JumpinJude New IL'ite

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    Hi Uma!

    I have a few cookbooks which include Sri Lankan recipes, but I am not sure if they are available for purchase in India (they were published for distribution in North America). If you are interested, I can post their titles, though - you can certainly have books shipped from anywhere to everywhere nowadays.

    In the meanwhile, I have an article for you. It was from the New York Times. Normally, I would not post an entire article, as it could be construed as copyright infringement or something akin to that, but the article is old enough that you'd have to pay to get it from their archives. I also have some recipes I can post for you.

    I will start with the article, which is wonderful - just don't tell anyone I posted it here, hahaha! :)

    Just Off India, Kissed by Europe

    October 13, 2004

    GALLE, Sri Lanka

    THE owner of a cinnamon plantation near here, R. K.
    Ariyasena, greeted me with a wide smile and a handshake
    that felt like gravel. A farmer's handshake. It was very
    hot, and he was wearing the standard summer attire of Sri
    Lankans: not much.

    While my husband, Tad, and I stood in the dirt courtyard
    between Mr. Ariyasena's home and his cinnamon peeling
    workshop, he and a worker braided a coconut-husk rope into
    a loop. The worker put his feet inside the loop and used it
    for leverage as he shinnied up a coconut tree like a
    squirrel. Soon golden-orange King coconuts were dropping
    from above. Mr. Ariyasena caught one and chopped the husk
    until he broke through, then, using the point of his
    machete, he poked a delicate hole in the top and inserted a
    straw. He handed it to me.

    King coconut juice has a slightly sweet, slightly acidic
    tenor that never weighs on your tongue long enough for you
    to decide whether it's a fruit or vegetable. When the
    coconut was drained, Mr. Ariyasena cracked it in half and
    cut off a wedge of the yellow husk for scooping out the
    sweet, custardlike flesh. Aperitif and amuse-bouche in one.

    We'd come to see cinnamon, but it's easy to get distracted
    by the unexpected here. An island suspended between the 5th
    and 10th parallels, Sri Lanka is shaped like a fat tear
    rolling off the chin of India. The country is largely a
    dense and steamy jungle, and it takes forever to drive even
    a few miles. But it is hard not to be won over by a land
    where more than 30 varieties of banana grow, where
    jackfruit weighing 40 pounds dangle impossibly from the
    trunks of trees, where pepper vines crawl, mangoes hang in
    abundance, where trucks tilt and sway under the weight of
    pumpkins and bitter gourds as they scream down narrow roads
    - where everywhere you look is something strange and

    The reason Western chefs haven't discovered Sri Lankan food
    is that, until recently, the island has been roiled by
    violence between the Tamils in the north of the island and
    Sri Lanka's Sinhalese-run government. When we were there,
    the threat of suicide bombings by the Tamil separatists was
    not sufficiently worrisome to keep the checkpoint guards
    from napping behind barriers covered with brightly colored
    advertisements for products like Singer sewing machines.

    Sri Lanka, which means "resplendent land" has never had
    much patience for peace. The first outsiders to land there
    were from India; they were followed by Arab traders.
    Michael Ondaatje, in his memoir "Running in the Family,"
    writes: "The island seduced all of Europe. The Portuguese.
    The Dutch. The English. And so its name changed, as well as
    its shape - Serendip, Ranapida ("island of gems"),
    Taprobane, Zeloan, Zeilan, Seyllan, Ceilon, and Ceylon -
    the wife of many marriages, courted by invaders who stepped
    ashore and claimed everything with the power of their sword
    or bible or language."

    Along the roadside people sell boiled corn, brought by the
    Portuguese and chickpea fritters spiced with chilies,
    called vadai, from India. Every village has a bakery that
    offers white sandwich bread, brought by the Portuguese, and
    tea, a vestige of the British, the last colonists to leave.

    Odd English names persist. The bowl-shaped coconut crepes
    known as "appa" in India are usually called "hoppers" here.
    A betting chain is named Sporting Times Turf Accountants,
    and many villages have small restaurants called "bakery

    But the cuisine is the very opposite of bangers and mash.
    Nor is it exactly Indian. Sri Lankan cooks use coconut milk
    where most Indians use yogurt, coconut oil rather than
    ghee, and they cook with more fish and more chilies. The
    cuisine is closest in spirit to that of Kerala, the
    southwestern sliver of India. Both cuisines are largely
    dependent on fish, fruit, coconut and herbs like curry leaf
    rather than the dried spices so familiar in northern Indian
    cooking. Sri Lankan cooking is less polished, more wild and
    rustic: a profusion of densely perfumed curries, shredded
    salads, herbal broths and countless configurations of rice.

    Curries here are textured with large shards of cinnamon,
    coarsely cut slices of onion and whole chilies, as if it
    were too hot to cut anything more finely. The dal is looser
    than it is in India, the salads drier and spicier. Cooks
    rely heavily on aromatics like fresh curry leaves and rampe
    (or pandan leaf), a long bladelike leaf from the screwpine
    tree that smells like fresh corn and onion. Tamarind and
    its frequent substitute, goraka, add tang to curries, and
    Maldives fish, a smoked and sun-dried skipjack tuna that is
    shaved, is used for salt and depth in condiments and

    Most curries divide into three types: black, red and white.
    Black curries are made with a base of roasted spices like
    coriander, cumin and fennel. Red curries have fewer spices
    but lots of chilies. White curries, made with coconut milk,
    tend to have more liquid and are mild.

    An important distinction exists between "first coconut
    milk" and "second coconut milk." Coconut milk is made by
    swishing freshly grated coconut with hot water (a half-cup
    coconut to one cup water) and straining out the rich, thick
    milk - the first coconut milk. The same coconut is blended
    with a second batch of water, to make a thinner second
    coconut milk. For simmered dishes, the second coconut milk
    is used as the cooking liquid, and the first coconut milk
    is stirred in at the end as a finishing touch. More than
    one cook made a point to tell me that lesser cooks use
    canned coconut milk and coconut milk powder, the Sri Lankan
    equivalent of Betty Crocker Potato Buds.

    Some cooks may now use safflower oil rather than coconut
    oil and aluminum pots instead of clay, but very little else
    about the cooking - or the culture for that matter - feels
    modernized. It is still common to see women carrying jugs
    of water from community wells and Tamil children whose
    parents have painted their foreheads with a round black
    "pottu," made of charcoal, to deflect the evil eye.

    Agriculture is a source of great pride in Sri Lanka. In the
    Sinhalese caste system, which is fading, farmers
    traditionally rank highly, as do fishermen. (Laundry
    workers, by contrast, are in a low caste.) The colonists
    developed Sri Lanka's main agricultural exports (coconut,
    tea and rubber), but there is a tremendous internal trade
    in food.

    Nearly seven million pounds of produce is traded every day
    at the open-air market known, rather officiously, as the
    Dambulla Dedicated Economic Center. Dambulla is near the
    island's geographic center, and the market, which opened in
    1999, attracts farmers from all over to stock and man its
    144 stalls. They arrive early in the evening on trucks
    weighed down with snake gourds; manioc leaves; bitter
    gourd; fat carrots; leeks; curry bananas; gotu kola (a
    salad leaf); ginger; tiny, bitter eggplants and cucumbers
    the color of mangoes.

    Hundreds of traders and farmers in sarongs and flip-flops
    tote vegetables in gunny sacks flung over their shoulders.
    A bearded old man walks through pushing a bicycle with a
    box on the back and bag of ice cream cones, tooting a
    silver horn. At a stall near the entrance, a young boy
    fries vadai next to a woman selling betel leaves, areca
    nuts, tobacco and lime: the components of the unmistakable
    red chew that stains the mouths of so many Sri Lankans.
    (It's bitter and mouth-numbing though Sri Lankans insist it
    cleans your teeth.)

    Shalitha Presad Warnasuriya, the market's manager, said his
    staff had been trying to get farmers to use plastic crates
    instead of gunny sacks to cut down on waste. In India, he
    said, 4.5 rupees, or about 4 cents, are spent to produce
    two pounds of onions. Here it is closer to 16 rupees, or 15
    cents, because so much produce rots on the way to the
    market. The concept of refrigerating produce to increase
    its shelf life is still an alien notion. "People won't buy
    vegetables that were stored in the fridge," he said.

    One happy result of old fashioned distribution methods is
    that you know the food hasn't traveled far. Simple,
    traditional Sri Lankan cooking can be had at most roadside
    "hotels" or "bath kaddes" (rice boutiques). On the drive
    from Kandy to Jaffna, we stopped at Matara Anuradisi Hotel
    & Bakery, an open-air general store selling Munchee
    Biscuits and Bingo Cream Wafers as well as nail polish and
    soap. We took a table in back and ordered the one thing on
    the menu: "lunch." Our waiter scuffed back to the cement
    kitchen and returned with four plates and a bowl of hot
    water. He poured the hot water on the top plate, then
    poured it onto the plate beneath, and so on. Our dishes
    were now "sterilized."

    He then opened the wire mesh doors on a wood cabinet and
    dished out our food, which had been sitting in the
    90-degree heat for hours. Rather than think about it, we
    tucked into the fiery fish curry, yellow dal made with
    coconut milk and flecked with onions, cucumber curry and a
    fragrant local salad called gova mallung, which is made
    with finely shredded cabbage, onion, turmeric and freshly
    grated coconut. A mound of rice was placed on the table
    along with a few scraps of newspaper that were to serve as
    napkins. Lunch for four cost 75 cents.

    SRI LANKANS eat both samba rice, a fat round grain that is
    cooked soft, and red rice. Sometimes they eat curry on a
    large slab of white sandwich loaf. But it is unclear why
    these haven't been put out of business by the hopper, a
    sublime crepe made with rice flour and coconut milk, and
    fermented with toddy, a milk-white spirit made from kithul
    palm sap. The ubiquitous hopper shops are identified by
    glass cases out front for hopper pans, which resemble
    miniature woks.

    Around 5 p.m. the hopper makers gear up for the evening. A
    ladleful of batter is poured into the pans, swirled around
    the edges and cooked until crisp and dimpled on the

    Savory hoppers are eaten with curries and, as with all
    curries, they are served with sambols, a class of uncooked
    condiments whose chili levels range from excruciatingly hot
    to inferno. Katta sambol is made by grinding onions (which
    look more like American shallots) with chilies and Maldives
    fish. (I used dried shrimp as a substitute in the recipes.)
    Pol sambol is the easiest to like: a mound of shredded
    coconut that mildly tempers a blend of chili, onion,
    Maldives fish and lime juice.

    For breakfast Sri Lankans make string hoppers, a steamed
    nest of vermicellilike rice noodles, and soak them with
    kiri hodi, a coconut broth infused with cinnamon stick,
    curry leaves, rampe, fenugreek, turmeric, onion and green
    chili: all the essential flavors of Sri Lankan cooking.
    Breakfast here puts you in the mood for a good long nap.

    Some Sri Lankans also eat savory herbal broths called kola
    kanda with a nugget of jaggery for breakfast. Charmaine
    Solomon, the author of "The Complete Asian Cookbook"
    (Tuttle, 2002), who grew up in a Dutch burgher family in
    Sri Lanka, said she had a Sinhalese friend whose family ate
    herbal broths in the morning. Her family, she said, "had
    hoppers and string hoppers, and we had bacon and eggs on

    On our last day in Sri Lanka, luck was on our side. Manuja
    Illangasariya, our young driver (having a local driver is a
    necessity on Sri Lanka's demolition-derby-style roadways;
    write your will before you go), invited us to his parents'
    home for pittu, the Sri Lankan equivalent of couscous - a
    steamed roll made with rice flour and freshly grated
    coconut - and curry.

    Mr. Illangasariya's parents live in Panadura, an
    upper-middle-class suburb of Colombo, the capital. We were
    welcomed into a new two-story home with white tile floors.
    In the kitchen was a single countertop holding two portable
    gas burners. There was a sink in the corner and a small
    refrigerator, but no shelves or drawers. Outside was a
    coconut scraper attached to a table, a screwpine tree and
    curry leaf bush, and a well.

    Mr. Illangasariya's mother, Geetha, was finishing up a fish
    curry. In a clay pot, she had simmered tuna in a
    turmeric-scented water and was combining the fish with
    garlic, ginger, goraka, large slices of tomato and onion,
    halved chilies and coconut milk. Kiri, the family's cat,
    paced the kitchen complaining.

    Mrs. Illangasariya then began filling the pittu maker.
    Pittu pots are built like stove-top espresso makers: they
    have a base for water and a tall cylindrical top, into
    which the pittu mixture - rice flour, grated coconut, salt
    and a dash of water - is tamped. The cylinder is then
    attached to the base and steamed for about 10 minutes.

    Mrs. Illangasariya pushed the pittu log out of the cylinder
    onto a plate and, using a fiber from a coconut husk, sliced
    it into hockey-puck-size pieces. "If you use a knife, the
    pittu breaks," she said. "No knife."

    WE sat down at a table set with brown glass plates turned
    upside down. "So the flies don't land on them," Mr.
    Illangasariya said as I turned mine over. The pittu pucks
    were set on our plates, and we used our fingers to break
    them up into pebbly bits. Following Mr. Illangasariya's
    lead, I ladled a spoonful of warm coconut milk on top.

    "It's first coconut milk," Mrs. Illangasariya said. On top
    of our moistened pittu went the fish curry and katta
    sambol. The food felt good to the touch: warm, oily, hot,
    the chilies stinging your fingertips. Mrs. Illangasariya
    and her husband, Sunil, circled the table as we ate,
    inspecting our plates, insisting we have more; they had
    prepared mounds of food. Hosts in Sri Lanka, they told me,
    do not sit down with their dinner guests, and people rarely
    speak while eating. (This is not always true of wealthier
    Sri Lankans, who have servants.)

    We had brought the Illangasariyas a bottle of toddy, the
    palm spirit, which they received with some amusement. They
    poured us each a glass. When we gestured for them to join
    us, they politely refused. We tipped back our glasses and
    discovered why. Toddy tastes like sour swill. Not
    everything from nature here is splendid.

    Better to stick to King coconut juice, or Three Coins Beer,
    a good local lager, whose earnestly written label reads
    "When consumed in moderation, Three Coins is an ideal
    thirst quencher, a mild relaxant or an excellent lubricant
    for social intercourse." Of course, in Sri Lanka, it's hard
    to consume anything in moderation.

  3. JumpinJude

    JumpinJude New IL'ite

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  4. JumpinJude

    JumpinJude New IL'ite

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    I hope this formats nicely here:

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method</PRE>
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------</PRE>
    250 g Black gram</PRE>
    1/4 ts Fenugreek</PRE>
    2 5 g onion</PRE>
    1 Fresh chilli</PRE>
    100 g Rice flour</PRE>
    250 g Parboiled rice</PRE>
    1 t Salt</PRE>
    -pinch turmeric</PRE>
    50 ml Oil</PRE>
    -sprig curry leaves</PRE>
    1 t Cumin</PRE>
    Soak the black gram and tenugreek in water until soft.</PRE>
    Chop the onion and chilli. Drain the gram and</PRE>
    fenugreek and liquidise with the rice flour, rice and</PRE>
    sufficient water to make a batter. Add the salt and</PRE>
    turmeric. Heat 25 ml oil and fry onion, chilli, curry</PRE>
    leaves and cumin, then add to the batter. Reheat the</PRE>
    pan, add a little oil and pour in batter to make a</PRE>
    thin pancake. When little holes appear on the thosai</PRE>
    turn it over and cook on the other side for a minute</PRE>
    or two. Repeat process until all the batter is used</PRE>
    up. From "A taste of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sri Lanka</st1:place></st1:country-region>" by Indra Jayasekera,</PRE>
    ISBN #962 224 010 0</PRE>
  5. JumpinJude

    JumpinJude New IL'ite

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    Sri Lankan Curry Powder

    (<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sri Lanka</st1:place></st1:country-region>) Curry Powder
    75 g/2 1/2 oz/1 cup coriander seeds
    60 g/2 oz/1/2 cup cumin seeds
    1 tablespoon fennel seeds
    1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 teaspoon whole cloves
    1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
    2 tablespoons dried curry leaves
    2 teaspoons chilli powder (optional)
    2 tablespoons ground rice (optional)

    In a dry pan over low heat, roast separately the coriander, cumin, fennel and fenugreek, stirring constantly until each one becomes fairly dark brown. Do not let them burn. Put into a blender container together with cinnamon stick broken in pieces, cloves, cardamom and curry leaves. Blend on high speed until finely powdered. Combine with chilli powder and ground rice if used. Store in an airtight jar.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
    1 person likes this.

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