Cabbage Leaves Salad (Gova Kola Malluma)

Cabbage Leaves Salad (Gova Kola Malluma)

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In Sri Lanka you can find two or three varieties of cabbage the whole year. I already did a few different dishes in my blog, this is the one of my Mum’s favourites. She used to mix chopped cabbage ribs (from the centre of the leaf) together with the finely shredded leaves. In most of the Sri Lankan gardens you can easily find green cabbage leaves growing in flower pots. Apart from its wonderful taste, the good thing about this dish is it is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of thiamin and many other nutrients.

INGREDIENTS
250g green cabbage (wash and shred the leaves finely)
I onion (finely shredded)
2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
2 green chilli (finely chopped)
1/2 freshly grated coconut
1/2 lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 crushed dry chilli
Salt and black pepper

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METHOD

Mix the coconut with all the ingredients except the cabbage and lime. Heat the nonstick pan, add the mixture and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the cabbage, mix with the edge of a wooden spoon. Immediately remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, check the seasoning. For best results prepare this dish at the very last moment when you are ready to eat.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sri Lankan Vegetable Biryani

Sri Lankan Vegetable Biryani

 

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I never use artificial colours or flavours in my cooking. They were not available to my mother, and she taught me to create the full flavour from the natural ingredients themselves. A biryani is rice cooked together usually with meat or fish, but this pure vegetable version that I have made on  special occasions in Sri Lanka and here in London is so tasty that you won’t miss the meat. All the root vegetables and the aubergine are roasted in the oven to get more flavour, and the green vegetables are cooked with rice (to keep them green). My friends and family all love this dish, and I hope you will too!

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INGREDIENTS

500g rice
250g green vegetables (beans, asparagus, courgette)
350g root vegetables (parsnips, carrot, sweet potato, onion, celeriac)
3 tbs ginger and garlic (chopped)
1 aubergine (diced)
150g tomato (chopped)
100g leeks or spring onion (sliced)
Handful of basil leaves or coriander leaves
4 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbs dry herbs
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 black pepper seeds
1/2 mustard seeds
1 tbs cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and star anise
Pinch of saffron strands, or turmeric powder
50g roasted cashew nuts
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 half lemon
3 tbs plain yogurt
Boiling water
Salt and pepper to taste

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METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180*. Dice and mix all the root vegetables with aubergine, oil, dry herbs and seasoning. Use the pestle and mortar to grind the seeds. Boil the rice with the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and star anise and the lemon. When the rice is cooked, squeeze the lemon and remove the whole spices. Then add the diced green vegetables and cover. Heat the oil in a pan and add ginger, garlic, curry leaves, spice seeds powder, tomato, leeks and yogurt. Remove from the heat and season. Mix all together and add cashews and chopped basil, then garnish as you like. I served mine with boiled egg curry and devilled potato.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sri Lankan Chocolate Roll

Sri Lankan Chocolate Roll

When I was small, my Dad never forgot to buy this ready-made chocolate roll for me to share with my friends and teachers on the last day of school. He bought it from a well-known bakery and confectionery, Elephant House in Colombo.

Chocolate Roll
INGREDIENTS

175g self raising flour
150g sugar
125g butter (melted)
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

For the Sandwich Cream
100g soft butter
125g icing sugar
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp honey

Mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180*C, Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a shallow tin 12′ x 15′ (lined with baking paper). Sift the flour with baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Mix together the eggs, sugar, milk, butter, vanilla and then add flour mixture a little at a time until it is free of lumps. Pour into the lined tray, bake for about 30 minutes. Let it cool down on a wire rack.

On a tea towel, arrange a double layer of clingfilm and put the cake on the top. Spread the cream all over with a flat knife.
Using the tea towel as a guide, carefully roll up the cake away from you, along with the clingfilm. Tie both ends of the clingfilm and let it cool and set up in the fridge. Then remove clingfilm, slice and serve. You can freeze this and keep it for quite some time.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Jackfruit Curry (Polos Vanjanaya)

Jackfruit Curry (Polos Vanjanaya)

jack fruit curry
Jackfruit curry is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in Sri Lanka. But for us living abroad it is very hard to find a fresh young jackfruit. Canned jackfruit is available in Asian shops in most countries, it is green jackfruit in water. So I use a can of this for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 tin green Jackfruit in water (drained)
1 onion chopped
3 green chillies chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
3 sprigs curry leaves
2-3 goraka
1 tsp roasted curry powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 turmeric powder
1/2 mustard seeds
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste

Jackfruit tree Singapore

METHOD

Heat the pan with oil, then add onion, garlic, chilli, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Fry until golden brown then add all the spices and mix well. Mix in the jackfruit and quarter cup of water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes then add the coconut milk. Check the seasoning, let it simmer until the gravy becomes thick and absorbs the spices. Remove from the heat and serve with rice or string hoppers. For the best result you can make this a few days before serving, the flavour improves.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

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.