Coconut Cake (Pol Cake)

Coconut Cake (Pol Cake)

Coconut Cake

From my childhood, every Sinhalese New Year my mother made lots of sweets – including coconut cake. I still recall those unforgettable sweet memories. I thought it would be nice to share with you all on this upcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year this lovely coconut cake. I hope you will like it.

INGREDIENTS
500g grated fresh coconut, or frozen
250g sugar
1 cup water
150g rice flour
4 eggs
125g butter
100g cashew nuts (coarsely chopped)
150g dates (seeded and chopped)
75g sultanas
50g candied peel
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbs baking powder
Pinch of salt

METHOD

Caramelise the sugar by putting it in a saucepan on the heat until golden brown. Don’t stir during this process. After, add water and let it boil until thick. Add coconut and all the spices, mixing together and cooking until the caramel has absorbed into the coconut (this is what is known as pani pol, or coconut honey). Remove from the heat, let it cool down then add the eggs, butter, flour, baking powder, dry fruits and salt. Heat the oven to 180*, line a tray with greaseproof paper and pour in the mixture topping with the cashews. Bake for 45 minutes. You can make this cake ahead and it will keep nicely for over a week. Enjoy!


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sri Lankan Capsicum Curry with Potato (Ala Malumiris Vanjanaya)

Sri Lankan Capsicum Curry with Potato (Ala Malumiris Vanjanaya)

Capsicum Curry

Food is all about memories – Mum used to make this vegetable curry using hand-ground herbs and spices with freshly-grated coconut milk. The tastes were amazing! You can make a cheat’s version using instant coconut milk powder or tinned coconut milk, unsweetened*.

INGREDIENTS
300g capsicum (slit the capsicum length-wise, removing the seeds)
200g potato (diced and parboiled)
100g onion (sliced)
3 sprigs curry leaves
2 red chilli (diced)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or stick
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 turmeric powder
1 tsp roasted curry powder
1/2 cup lighter coconut milk
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
Salt to taste

METHOD
Arrange a pan with the capsicum, onion, chilli, curry leaves and all the spices except the roasted curry powder.
Add the light coconut milk and mix together. Cook for about 15 minutes until the capsicum has absorbed the milk; then add the potato and thick coconut milk, and stir well. Check the seasoning and simmer until the gravy thickens. Remove from the heat, sprinkle some roasted curry powder over and – enjoy!

*available in most supermarkets 


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Malay Pickle (Malay Achcharuwa)

Malay Pickle (Malay Achcharuwa)

Malay Pickle

My Dad loved pickles and chutneys, so my Mum never forgot to make them at home – we never bought bottles of ready-made stuff. I always helped her make them, and I still remember all the tastes and the flavours. So now you can try my own recipe for the coming Singhalese New Year.

INGREDIENTS
150g carrots (peeled and cut into strips)
150g green capsicum – malu miris (seeded and cut into thick slices)
1 red capsicum (seeded and cut)
100g red shallots (cut in half)
100g big onion ( cut into wedges)
100g dates (seeded and coarsely chopped)
1 cup coconut vinegar or white vinegar
1 tbs garlic paste
1 tbs ginger paste
1 tbs black mustard paste
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2. tsp black pepper powder
Salt

malay pickle ingredients

METHOD

Heat the vinegar in a pan and let it simmer.  Add capsicum and cook for 3 minutes. Remove, and then do the same with the onion. Remove the pan from heat,  mix all the other ingredients (except for the vegetables and dates) into the vinegar (adding more vinegar if necessary). Check the seasoning. Add the dates, carrots, onions and capsicums into the pickle mixture, transfer to a bottle or a terracotta dish. For best results, make two days ahead before using.

Malay pickle is an authentic dish from the Malay community in Sri Lanka, which Sri Lankans have taken to their hearts and use on every special occasion.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

White Radish Curry (Rabu Vanjanaya)

White Radish Curry (Rabu Vanjanaya)

In Sri Lanka, white radish is available the whole year. A very healthy vegetable, it was one of my Mum’s most delicious curries. I thought to share it with you in this winter.

White Radish Curry
INGREDIENTS
300g white radish, peeled and cut into match sticks
1 onion, sliced
3 green chillies, sliced
3 sprigs of curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or stick
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
Salt to taste

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan, add onion, chilli, curry leaves and cook until soft. Then add all the dry ingredients, mix well. Now add the radish and stir together, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, check the seasoning, and simmer until the mixture binds together with the radish. Remove from the heat.

Serve with white rice.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

String Hopper (Idiyappam) Buriyani

String Hopper (Idiyappam) Buriyani

String Hopper

String hoppers (idiyappam) are steamed rice noodles, and a very popular breakfast dish in Sri Lanka. They are made from a hot water dough of rice (or wheat) flour pressed out in circlets from a string hopper mould (either aluminium or wooden) onto little wicker mats, then steamed*. My Mum always made them with rice flour, and served them with curry or made a biriyani from the leftovers. We normally make string hopper buriyani for special occasions – my version contains chicken but you can omit this if you want a pure vegetarian dish.

*String hopper moulds and mats are available from Sri Lankan grocers.

INGREDIENTS

1 kg chicken (boneless and skinless), cut into small pieces
200g mushrooms
150g onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 piece of ginger, chopped
1 lemongrass, roughly chopped
4 sprigs of curry leaves
3 green chillies
4 tbs coriander leaves, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
3 cardamoms, crushed
4 cloves
50g pine nuts, toasted in a pan
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 tbs olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan, add all the dry ingredients together and mix well. Then add the chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes, stir and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes then add the coconut milk, check the seasoning and let it simmer. Now the buriyani mixture is ready, add the prepared string hoppers using a thin spatula. Sprinkle the coriander and toasted pine nuts over the dish. Serve by itself, or with any vegetable you prefer.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Bean Curry with Corn and Spinach

 

Bean Curry with Corn and SpinachBean Curry with Corn and Spinach

INGREDIENTS

I tin brown chickpeas (drained)
1 tin regular chickpeas (drained)
1 tin butter beans (drained)
2 fresh sweetcorn (cut off the kernels)
250g spinach
1 big onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
3 green chilli (sliced)
3 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or stick
1 tsp mustard powder or paste
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt to taste

METHOD

Mix all the ingredients except for the spinach together in a pan with the coconut milk. Let simmer uncovered on a low flame (about 10 minutes) until the gravy thickens. At the last moment, add the spinach, mix together and then remove from the heat. Check the seasoning.

Serve with rice… enjoy!


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Black Pork Curry

Black Pork Curry

black pork curry

In Sri Lanka we can find fresh pork anywhere. My friends really enjoy my black pork curry dish, and I have frequent requests to make it.

INGREDIENTS

500g pork (diced)
1 tbs roasted curry powder
1 tbs crushed chilli
3 tbs grated coconut (pan roasted and ground)
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbs cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 onions (sliced)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
3 sprigs curry leaves
3 green chillies (sliced)
3 tbs chopped ginger
1 peace chopped lemongrass
5 chopped cardamom
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon or lime juice
2 cup water
Salt to taste

METHOD

Marinate the pork with the dry herbs and coconut. Heat the oil then sauce the onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, lemongrass, chilli, mustard, and cardamom. Add the pork, mix together well, pour in the water and stir. Cover the pan and cook until the gravy thickens and has absorbed into the meat. Remove from the heat, add the lemon or lime juice and check the seasoning. Serve with rice or bread.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sweet Roasted Rice Balls (Aggala)

Sweet Roasted Rice Balls (Aggala)

My Mum never forgot to make me this lovely sweet aggala for afternoon tea. Because I am the youngest I got an extra rice ball!

rice balls

INGREDIENTS

1 cup roasted sun-dried boiled rice (ground) or use boiled rice, dried in a very low oven for 30 minutes.
1 cup scraped coconut
3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Pinch of salt
Water

METHOD

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, add a little water and mix by hand to make balls. Enjoy with afternoon tea.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Stuffed Crab

Stuffed Crab

stuffed crab

In Sri Lanka we can easily find a fresh crab. My Mum used to make a similar recipe with bread crumbs, but this is my own recipe. I made this dish couple of times for my dinner parties and everyone loved it!  I hope you will all enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

4 scallop shells or crab shells (cleaned and washed and dried)
400g crab claw meat
1 white onion (finely chopped)
2 garlic clove (finely chopped)
1 green or red chilli (chopped)
4 spring onion, white part (chopped)
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs parsley and dill (chopped)
1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp capers (chopped)
Salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan – add garlic, chilli and onion and saute until soft. Then add the crab meat, mix well and remove from the heat. Add capers, spring onion, and lime juice and check the seasoning. Fill the shells with the mixture, then cover the filling with white sauce (see below). Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

White sauce

INGREDIENTS
2 tbs butter
4 tbs plain flour
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 mustard cream or powder
Salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat the butter, add the flour and mix well. Remove from the heat and add milk, mix until it is free of lumps. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, stirring well. Check the seasoning.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lamb Curry

Lamb Curry

lamb curry

INGREDIENTS
500g lamb or mutton (cut into cubes)
1 onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 tbsp chopped ginger
3 green chillies (chopped)
4 sprigs of curry leaves
1 piece of lemongrass (optional)
2 tbsp roasted curry powder
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 piece of cinnamon stick
3 cardamom (crushed)
1tsp mustard powder or paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

METHOD

Wash the meat then mix with all the spics and soya sauce. Heat the oil in a pan add garlic, ginger, onion, curry leaves, lemongrass, cardamom, and cinnamon and cook for a while. Add meat mixture and stir well, then add water. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the meat is tender and the gravy is absorbed. Add the coconut milk and bring back to a boil, stir well and check the seasoning. When the gravy thickens remove from the heat then add the lemon juice.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.