Stuffed Peppers

This summer I have decided to introduce some of my recipes based on well-known international dishes from my travelling experience, and my working experience as a chef in a London five-star hotel kitchen. I start with a pure vegetarian dish, stuffed peppers.

Stuffed Peppers

INGREDIENTS

700g mixed peppers

500g cooked rice

250g grated cheddar cheese

300g mixed vegetables (mushrooms/spring onions/carrot)

100g packet of sage and onion stuffing mixture

50g chopped parsley

3tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

METHOD

In a pan heat the oil, add chopped mushrooms, spring onions and grated carrots and cook for about 10 minutes. In a bowl mix together the rice, parsley, sage and onion mix, cooked vegetables and half of the cheese. Check the seasoning. Wash the peppers and carefully slice the lid off (you can chop this and use it in the recipe), and de-seed. Fill up the peppers with the rice mixture, and arrange on a baking tray or dish. Sprinkle with the leftover cheese and bake in a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Passion Fruit Cake

Passion fruits are available throughout the year in Sri Lanka – we like to use them for juice cordial, and jam is quite popular too. I use fresh passion fruits for this cake recipe.

INGREDIENTS

4 passion fruit, halved
150g butter, room temperature
250g castor sugar
250g flour
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (or desiccated)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs milk

Icing mixture

Mix together 150g soft butter, 200g icing sugar and passion fruit syrup

To make passion fruit syrup, scoop the passion fruit into a saucepan, add 50g castor sugar and cook on a low flame until it thickens, strain out the seeds and let it cool down. Make sure not to overcook.

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180*. Line a round cake tin with butter. Mix the butter, sugar and eggs together then add the vanilla, lemon and milk. Mix the flour, baking powder and coconut together. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, making sure it is lump-free. Add half of the passion fruit syrup and mix roughly. Transfer the cake mixture to the baking tray and bake for about 35-40 minutes. If a wooden skewer comes out clean then it’s cooked. Remove from cake tin and let it cool down. Cut the cake in half, spread with the icing and decorate as you wish.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mushroom Rice

Mushroom are quite popular in Sri Lanka, throughout the country many people are strict vegetarians. We don’t have lots of varieties of mushrooms like in Europe, but there are fresh and dried mushrooms available. I created this rice dish with wild mushrooms, and it has come out beautifully each time I make it. So I thought I should share with you all!

INGREDIENTS

350g mix wild mushrooms ( cleaned and cut)
I red onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
I cup of leek (white part, sliced)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tomato (seeded and chopped)
3 tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and fry until golden. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes together with the garlic, then add the mushrooms. Mix well and cook until all the aromas come out. Then add the leeks and tomato, mix well. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and check the seasoning. Cook rice as you like, either plain or tempered. Stir into the mushroom mixture and  serve.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lotus Root Curry (Nelum ala Vanjanaya)

Lotus root is a well-known vegetable in Asia – in Sri Lanka we use it for curry and in soup. In London, lotus root is not so easy to find (except in Asian supermarkets) but if you can get hold of it please do try this recipe (my own!). It is full of nutrition and also very tasty.


INGREDIENTS 

250g lotus root (cleaned and sliced)

2 medium tomatoes (diced)

I onion (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 green chilli (sliced)

3 sprigs curry leaves

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 turmeric powder

1/2 mustard seeds

1 tbs olive oil

1 cup coconut milk

Salt to taste

METHOD

Mix the curry powder with the sliced lotus roots and keep to one side. Heat the oil in a pan and add garlic, onion, curry leaves, chilli, cinnamon and mustard sees. Cook for about five minutes or until the aromas come out. Then add the lotus roots, tomatoes and salt and mix together. Cover and slow cook for about 10 minutes then add the coconut milk. Simmer on a low flame, check the seasoning. When the gravy is absorbed into the vegetable, remove from the heat (make sure no to overcook). If you like, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of roasted curry powder. Serve with rice or bread.

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Jack Seed Curry (Kos ata kalupol maluwa)

Jack seed curry is a well-known Sri Lankan  dish. I still remember Mum making this with fresh jack seeds, full of flavour. A pure vegetarian dish, you can make it for lunch or dinner instead of fish or meat curry.

 

INGREDIENTS

30 jack seeds with shell

1 big onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 tbs chopped fresh ginger

4 green chilli (sliced)

4 sprigs of curry leaves

2 tbs raw rice (pan roasted and ground)

3 tbs scraped coconut (pan roasted and ground)

3 small pieces dried bridle berry (goraka)

1 piece of cinnamon

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 mustard powder

1 1/2 tbs roasted curry powder

1 tbs chilli powder

1/2  black pepper powder

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups coconut milk

Salt

METHOD

Roughly crush the jack seeds. Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic, ginger,onion, chilli, cinnamon and curry leaves and cook until the aromas come out. Then add all spices, roasted coconut and rice powder. Add the jack seeds and water, mix well and cover and cook until they are soft. Then add the coconut milk, check the seasoning and simmer until the jack seeds absorb the flavours. Serve with boiled rice or bread. For best results use a clay pot.

 

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sri Lankan Broccoli with Fresh Coconut (Mellum)

In SriLanka we use the same recipe for different varieties of green leaves and raw jackfruit – it’s very popular with authentic rice and curry. I hope you will enjoy my own recipe with broccoli,  I even managed to find a broccoli flower for garnish.

INGREDIENTS 

300g broccoli

4 tbs  fresh coconut

2 sprigs of curry leaves

2 red or green chillis

1/2 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbs ginger

1 tsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 black pepper seeds

1 tbs lime juice

Salt

3 tbs water

 

 

METHOD 

Shred the green part of the broccoli, transfer into a pan with water. Cover and cook on a low flame until the water disappears. Grind the coconut with the rest of the ingredients and mix with the broccoli (I use a pestle and mortar but you could use a food processor). Cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, serve with rice.

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Bread Pudding

Everyone seems to love my Sri Lankan style bread pudding.  I haven’t used any butter or cream, so it’s very healthy. I have packed it full of interesting ingredients (such as pistachio, chocolate chips and berries), so it’s extremely tasty!


INGREDIENTS 

6 slices of leftover bread (soaked in milk)

3 eggs (beaten)

1 1/2 cup milk

3 tbs sugar

150g mixed frozen berries

50g chocolate chips

50g raisins

2 tbs pistachio paste

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbs lemon zest

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

METHOD 

Heat the oven to 180*. In a bowl mix the soaked bread and the other ingredients together. Transfer the mixture in to a ovenproof bowl and bake for about 20 25 minutes. Check it is cooked with a wooden skewer in middle – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. Serve with vanilla ice cream, or as it is.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mushrooms with Vegetables

In Sri Lanka you can find several varieties of mushrooms. When you mix mushrooms with vegetables you get a great flavour, inspiring me to create this hearty vegetarian dish. It has become a firm favourite among my friends and family, and I hope you enjoy it too.


INGREDIENTS 

250g mushrooms (cleaned and cut)

100g onion (chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 leek (washed and chopped)

200g broccoli (parboiled)

150g brussels sprouts (clean and par boiled)

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs crushed chilli flakes

Salt

METHOD 

Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion, and chilli. Cook until golden brown, then add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Then add the other vegetables and mix well. Check the seasoning then remove from the heat. Make sure not to overcook the green vegetables so they keep their crunchiness and nutritional content. You can serve this dish with rice or bread.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mixed Vegetable Cutlets

Vegetarian finger food is very popular in Sri Lanka, especially cutlets. I am happy to share with you my own version of vegetable cutlets – they are lovely before a meal, and have had lots of great comments from friends.

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INGREDIENTS 

100g diced butternut (seedless and skinless)

100g leeks (washed and finely sliced)

1 red capsicum (seeded and finely chopped)

100g boiled red lentils

2 green chillies (finely chopped)

4 sprigs curry leaves (finely chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin and coriander powder

1 tbs lime juice

2 eggs

100g fresh bread crumbs

Oil for deep frying

Salt to taste

 

METHOD 

Mix all the ingredients together with spices and seasoning. Take equally-sized amounts of the mixture and mould each into a ball. Beat eggs in a bowl and dip the balls into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Heat the oil and deep fry the cutlets until golden brown (the oil should be deep enough to cover the cutlets). Drain excess oil on paper towels. Serve as snack, or with rice and curry.

For my recipe for tuna balls, click here


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mixed Colour Fresh Bean Curry (Bonchi Vanjanaya)

In Sri Lanka we have many varieties of beans available throughout the year. In London, I managed to get hold of yellow, green and purple beans to make my favourite curry. I hope you will all love it!

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INGREDIENTS 

300g mixed colour beans

1 big onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 green chillies, sliced

3 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp raw curry powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbs vegetable oil

1/2 cup coconut milk

Salt to taste

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METHOD 

Remove the stems and threads from sides of beans and wash. Break each bean by hand into three pieces. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic, curry leaves, chillies and spices. Cook until you get the aroma. Add the beans and mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes only on a slow flame. Then add the coconut milk, check the seasoning and cook uncovered for another 7 minutes (don’t overcook or the beans will become discoloured). Remove from the heat, serve with rice.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.