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.

Devilled Potato with Cashew (Kaju Ala Baduma)

Devilled Potato with Cashew (Kaju Ala Baduma)

ala raduna kaju

In Sri Lanka we have quite a few varieties of potatoes, and we use them in many different ways. My Mum used to cook this popular dish with potato deep fried in coconut oil. My own recipe uses a lot less oil but tastes exactly the same.

INGREDIENTS

500g potato (peeled and diced)
250g onion (sliced)
100g cashew nuts (roasted in the oven until golden brown)
Handful of curry leaves
4tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbs crushed red chilli
1 cinnamon stick
Salt

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180*. Arrange the potatoes on a baking tray and sprinkle with some oil, salt and turmeric powder. Bake for about 25 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the rest of the oil in a pan and add onion, cinnamon and curry leaves. When the onions are soft and caramelised, add the chilli and cashew nuts and mix well together. Add the potatoes and mix well together. Finally, add the lemon or lime juice and check the seasoning. Serve with rice, bread or my String Hopper Biryani or Vegetable Biryani for a pure vegetarian meal.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Ladies Fingers Curry (Bandakka Vanjanaya)

Ladies Fingers Curry (Bandakka Vanjanaya)

!!!

INGREDIENTS

250g ladies fingers
1 red onion, sliced
3 sprigs of curry leaves
2 green chillies, sliced
A few dill seeds
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 piece of cinnamon stick
Salt

METHOD

  • Wash and cut the stems and cut each into two
  • Heat the oil – add onion, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon, dill seeds and mix well
  • Add the curry powder and turmeric then the ladies fingers, mix together
  • Add coconut milk, check the seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Remove from heat

Serve with rice


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mixed Vegetable Bake

This simple low-fat dish is inspired by the European tradition, and is very popular with vegetarians. You can use whatever vegetables you like or have in the fridge, apart from green vegetables which would lose their nutritional content and colour. For best results, use mostly root vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, celeriac, carrot, and parsnip. You can include squash (zucchini, butternut, etc.), cauliflower and aubergine (eggplant). If you use aubergine, panfry it in a little oil first to keep the colour and the flavour. Whatever vegetables you decide on, make sure to cut them in very thin slices, as this will save on cooking time and will make the finished dish more appetising to the eye. A mandolin will make the preparation easier.

Mixed Vegetable Bake

 

Use a selection of root and other vegetables (I have used cauliflower, carrot, sweet potato, parsnip and zucchini). Slice 1 white onion, and chop a handful of parsley

Thin slices… (I used a knife, but a mandolin is easier)

Arrange the vegetable slices in an ovenproof dish

Make a white sauce using 4 tablespoons half fat creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 pint vegetable stock and 3 bay leaves

First melt the butter on a low heat, add the flour then gradually add the stock and bay leaves, add the creme fraiche and season

Whisk until smooth, pour the sauce over the vegetables and finish with the chopped parsley

Cover with foil and bake at 180c for 30 minutes. Remove foil and grill for a further 10 minutes until golden brown

Enjoy either alone or as a vegetable side dish.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Carrot and Green Bean Curry

Carrot and Green Bean Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS 

150g green beans, snapped

150g carrots, julienned (strips)
2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ onion, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

2 sprigs of curry leavesSmall cinnamon stick2 tablespoons olive oil1 teaspoon raw curry powder¼ teaspoon turmeric powder½ teaspoon mustard powder¼ cup water

½ cup coconut milk

Salt to taste

 

 

 

 

 

METHOD

  • Fry onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and curry leaves
  • Add curry powder, mustard and turmeric and fry for 3 minutes
  • Add beans and carrots, mix well
  • Add ¼ cup of water and allow to cook, covered for 5 minutes
  • Add coconut milk, simmer for a further 2 or 3 minutes
  • Check seasoning
  • Serve with rice

Purple carrots I bought at the farmer’s market 

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Spinach and Lentil Curry

Nivithi Parrippu Vanjanaya



INGREDIENTS

150g red lentils, washed
300g baby spinach, washed 
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 teaspoon raw curry powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard power
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
salt to taste

METHOD

  • Mix all the powdered ingredients together with the onion, garlic, chilli, curry leaves, and water, and add to the lentils in a saucepan
  • Cook until the lentils are nice and soft
  • Add the coconut milk and salt to taste
  • Return to a simmer and then add the spinach. Mix well, then remove from the heat immediately (to keep spinach green)
  • Check the seasoning
  • Serve with boiled rice or bread

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lady’s Finger (Okra) Salad

BANDAKKA SALADAYA

Lady’s Finger (Okra) Salad

 

INGREDIENTS

250g lady’s fingers (okra)

100g red onion, sliced

50g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 green chilli, chopped

1 tablespoon Maldive fish powder

½ lemon

1 teaspoon black pepper powder

Salt

 

METHOD

  • Wash and cut off the stems from the lady’s fingers
  • Steam for about 7 minutes, making sure they remain nice and green. Allow to cool
  • Add onion, chilli, cherry tomatoes, lemon, pepper, Maldive fish and salt
  • Mix all together and add ladies fingers gently
  • Check the seasoning and serve

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Eggplant Curry (Vambotu Morjuwa)

A healthy and low-fat dish.

Eggplant Curry (Vambotu Morjuwa)

 

INGREDIENTS

300g eggplant 

4 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil

100g red onion

125g capsicums (red pepper)

10g garlic

10g ginger

20g green chili

5 sprigs of curry leaves

2 inch piece of lemongrass

1 inch cinnamon stick

50g dry sprats (or anchovies)

50g Maldive fish powder

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard power

½ teaspoon red chili powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon roasted curry powder

1 teaspoon raw curry powder

2 tablespoons mango chutney

1 tablespoon brown or white sugar

Salt

 

METHOD

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Wash the eggplant and cut into 2 inch strips
  • Arrange on a baking tray, spinkle with salt and vegetable oil (or olive oil)
  • Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes
  •  Dice the onion, wash and clean dry sprats, slice the capsicum into wedges, chop the green chili, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and curry leaves.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan, add the sprats and fry until crispy
  • Add garlic, onion, ginger, capsicums, green chili, curry leaves, lemongrass, cinnamon, Maldive fish powder then temper the mixture.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and the vinegar
  • Remove from the heat, mix in the grilled eggplants and stir gently
  • Check the seasoning
  • Serve with rice

When I was alone, I lived on eggplant, the stove top cook’s strongest ally…. 

Laurie Colwin (‘Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant’)

 

 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sweet Pumpkin Curry (Wattakka Vanjanaya)

Sweet Pumpkin Curry (Wattakka Vanjanaya)

INGREDIENTS

250g sweet pumpkin, or marrow pumpkin

½ onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

Sprig of curry leaves

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon raw curry power

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon black pepper powder

1 cup water

1 cup coconut milk (or 1 tablespoon coconut milk powder mixed with hot water until lump-free)

salt to taste

 

METHOD

  • Remove seeds from pumpkin, cut into 1 ½  inch square pieces and wash
  • Put pumpkin and water into a pan together with all other ingredients (except for the coconut milk and salt), and cook until soft
  • Add coconut milk, check seasoning and simmer for a further 5 minutes
  • Serve with boiled rice

 

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion – Henry David Thoreau


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mixed Vegetable Curry (Kalawam Elawalu Vanjanaya)

An easy to make, simple, very healthy and above all TASTY Sri Lankan curry! Great with rice, or bread.

Sri Lankan Mixed Vegetable Curry (Kalawam Elawalu Vanjanaya)

INGREDIENTS 

250g mix of carrots, beans, green peas, and sweet corn (or use frozen veg mix)

50g red onions (sliced)

I small stick of cinnamon

1 teaspoon mustard (English or French)

2 sprigs curry leaves

2 green chillies (chopped)

½ cup coconut milk

Salt to taste

 

METHOD 

  • Clean and chop vegetables (or defrost mixed veg)
  • Mix well with all the ingredients (except coconut milk)
  • Cook on medium heat
  • When the vegetables are ready add the coconut milk and simmer for 7 minutes
  • When the sauce is thickened, check seasoning and remove from heat
  • Serve with rice or bread

 Without civilization, we would not turn into animals, but vegetables. (Mason Cooley)


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.