Monthly Archives: April 2016

Chocolate Friands (Gluten & Dairy Free)


My parents, born and raised in Sri Lanka, are highly bemused by the sudden popularity of coconut oil, especially as many of the virgin coconut oil products come from Sri Lanka itself. They find it highly comical that health food nuts and buffs are paying exorbitant amounts of money for something that’s rather cheap and seen as an inferior product in Lanka, compared to olive, canola and even vegetable oils. Granted, the Sri Lankan stuff that’s made for local consumption can be nasty. Meanwhile, my relatives are always singing the virtues of all other oils and asking us to bring olive oil to eat, drink and moisturise their skin with.

Some of that thinking has obviously rubbed off on me, there is a part of me that baulks at the idea of paying over 10 dollars for a small jar of what my grandmother bought from the markets for under a hundred rupees (approximately a dollar). In saying that, it’s a fabulous dairy-free alternative to butter and in this recipe, gives a lovely silky texture to the final friand – so much so that I didn’t even miss the butter, this time. Yes you heard correct, I didn’t even notice the butter was gone.

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1 cup almond meal
1 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup gluten free plain flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
5 egg whites
150g coconut oil, melted

Raspberry and sea salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 180C. Place the almond meal, icing sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa, egg whites, coconut oil in a bowl and whisk until combined.

Spoon the mixture into 12 x 1/2-cup capacity lightly greased oval-shaped friand tins, insert a raspberry on top and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until risen and cooked through. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Using a palette knife, loosen the edges and remove the friands from the tins immediately.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving. Makes 12.




Filed under "Something" Free Cooking, Sweet Treats



It’s coming up to Sri Lankan New Year and Mr C’s day care is holding a celebration. There are a few Sri Lankan kids and a Sri Lankan teacher so it’s a big deal this year. They’re making coconut rice onsite and dressing up in traditional garb.I was wracking my brain trying to think of an easy, uniquely traditional treat to make his friends….and then it came to me…kokis of course. Not only is it not too arduous to make, I thought there was a good chance that even the picky toddlers might enjoy them. It’s also gluten free, nut free and hopefully child-friendly.


Kokis is a traditional Sri Lankan snack, often served at Sri Lankan New Year. A crispy, cookie-like treat, made of coconut milk and rice flour and deep-fried till crispy. Of the many Sri Lankan treats that grace the New Year table, this is by far one of the easiest. It does require a kokis mould, made of metal, and attached to a long handle, which may be a deterrent. But, they are available in Sri Lankan spice stores in many places outside of Sri Lanka. If not, ask your kindly relatives in Sri Lanka to send you one, the next time the ask “what can we send?” .

A new mould will take a little “breaking in” and you may find the batter will stick to the mould for a little while. Keep at it, it ill eventually come good.

When Ammi made kokis, she always turned the last bit of batter into “chilli” kokis by adding chilli powder. Much as she’d done for her dad growing up. Chilli kokis go especially well with a nice cool beer or ‘lion lager’.  See below for my take on “chilli kokis”.



  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • salt

For Chilli Kokis

  • I cup of kokis mixture
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper



In a bowl add salt to the flour and mix well.  Then add the egg and coconut milk into the flour and whisk until no lumps remain. The consistency should be similar to a thin pancake batter. Cover the bowl and keep it aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot place the Kokis mould in the oil for about a minute.


Carefully dip the mould in the batter, making sure that the mould is well covered on all sides, but not the top.

Place the now batter covered mould in the hot oil and hold in place for about 30 seconds. At this point, slip the kokis out of the mould, shaking slightly if needed, to loosen. Use a cocktail stick or skewer to prise the kokis away if it needs extra help. Fry until the kokis is golden and evenly coloured.



Pull out of the oil and drain well  before serving. Will keep in an air tight container for a few days.

I love to serve mine dusted with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar. It goes perfectly with a cup of tea.

Chilli Kokis


To make the chilli kokis mix the batter with all the spices and half the cayenne. Make as above and sprinkle with the remaining cayenne before serving.




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Filed under "Something" Free Cooking, Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Sri Lankan New Year

April 14 will mark Sri Lankan New Year this year. Sri Lankan New Year is an important time for all Sri Lankans. Full of rituals, and the signalling of a new beginning for all involved.

There are the rituals of cleaning the house and lighting the oil lamp adorned with a proud rooster. Traditionally the hearth stove would have been cleaned and only lit at an auspicious time to make Kiribath or milk rice. Traditional gifts of new clothes and given and received and visiting family begins in earnest. Villages have carnivals with traditional games and competitions and including a beauty pageant to select the most beautiful girl in the village.

In Australia we have tried to replicate this in our own way. There are smaller oil lamps, gas stoves scrubbed to shiny perfection and phone calls in lieu of visits. There are carnivals at Sunday schools with races and challenges and children are compelled to eat donuts hanging from strings as fast as they are able. Sweet meats and treats are often store bought and celebrations postponed to weekends when people are more available.

This year I’m collating some of my recipes that can fill your Avurudu table. Some are easy, other’s complex and time consuming me. My challenge is this, make one. Just one and let me know how it turns out.


Easy vanilla marshmallows that can be made in advance. You’ll never be satisfied with store-bought again.

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Butter Cake

Sri Lanka’s favourite cake.




Crispy, deep friend “swirls” of urid dal batter dipped in hot palm treacle.


Milk Toffee

Sweet and slightly chewy condensed milk toffee


Sri Lankan Pancakes

Uniquely Sri Lankan crepes filled with spiced, sweet, caramelised coconut.


Subha Aluth Avurudak Vewa! 


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Filed under Short-Eats, Sri Lankan Food, Sri Lankan Sweets, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized