Tag Archives: coconut milk

Kokis

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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.

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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”.

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Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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

Salmon Curry with Coconut Milk

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A few weeks ago, Seattle got a shipment of Copper River Salmon, it made the news. The Pacific North-West makes a huge fuss over this firm red fleshed fish. So much so that when I saw a piece of salmon, frozen in the deep freeze I contemplated getting rid of it. What was I doing not eating the freshest tastiest salmon from the markets? Especially the markets that were teasing me with loud, in your face signs telling me that they had “Copper River Salmon”. Instead I decided to make a curry with this salmon, something a little different!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • curry leaves
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. unroasted curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 200g salmon cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 lime juiced

Preparation

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In a small saucepan, add the oil and wait until heated. To the oil  add the onion, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Saute until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.

To this fragrant mixture add the turmeric, curry powder and tomatoes. Keep cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down.

At this point add the coconut milk, stir  and  bring the whole mixture to  boil.

When the curry is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the cubed salmon. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the salmon is just cooked (firm to the touch) and finish with the lime juice.

Serve immediately over lots of soft, fluffy white rice.

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Filed under Fish, Meat/Fish Dishes, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Parippu – Sri Lankan style dhal with coconut milk

I’m not going to mince words here. If you want to call yourself a serious Sri Lankan cook, this recipe has to be in your repertoire. No buts. Dhal really is the centre of Sri Lankan cuisine, some would probably argue the centre of many South Asian cuisines. It’s cheap, it’s quick and it’s delicious.

While many  babies born in the Western world will delve into the world of solid food with pumpkin pureed to within an inch of it’s life or smashed banana, most Sri Lankan babies I know would count this dish below as one of their first.

Of course, a dish so ubiquitous will naturally be very controversial. There are versions without coconut milk (NOOOOO), there are some that finish of with a crispy fried mixture of mustard seeds, onions and chillies (YES PLEASE) and everyone will have a different preference for how long and soft they cook their lentils. Really, you decide. The spices are easy to follow, if you like the curry hotter at more green chillies and some chilli flakes as you cook. If you like a thicker more creamy dhal cook till the lentil begin to disintegrate and add more coconut milk.  The number 1 rule as far as I was taught is simple, don’t add salt till the end. It will harden the outer shell of the lentil and would wont get that soft, melt in your mouth texture.

As you can see in the pic, I like my lentils separate and with some definition. I don’t want a mush. However, I’ve tasted mushy dhal and it’s just as delicious. It’s just not the way I make it.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils washed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 a tomato chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic sliced
  • 2 green chillies sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish flakes
  • curry leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt to taste

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Preparation

In a small to medium saucepan, place all the ingredients and add enough water to cover the lentils. Stir and place on a medium heat.

As the lentils cook, they will change colour, become less orange and less opaque.Test the done-ness of the lentils by squeezing a lentil between you fingers, it should crush easily. You can cook it past this point, until the lentils start to fall apart if you’re after a softer, less textural curry. At this point, add the coconut milk and bring the curry to the boil.

Turn off the heat, add the salt to taste and serve hot.

 

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Filed under Curries, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Vegetarian Curries

Beetroot Curry

 

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I still remember walking into my grandmother’s kitchen and finding my Aunty chopping beetroot. I was fascinated by the red stains it left on her hands. She tried to convince me it was blood, I wasn’t so easily fooled. Besides, I remember I was wearing my twirly dress and being able to twirl out of the kitchen and back outside.

Beetroot has always been a favourite of mine. Not least because of the lovely red colour it stains your rice. Beetroot curry feels uniquely Sri Lankan to me, I’ve never seen it in any other cuisines. Feel free to adjust the level of gravy in this curry, you can simmer it a little longer to make a drier curry or add more than the recommended coconut milk to make more gravy for spooning over your rice.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 3 small beetroot cut into thin batons
  • 1/2 a small onions chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 a stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a green chilli chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • Sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons unroasted (vegetable) curry powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk (or water)

Preparation

In small to medium pot heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they begin spitting add the cinamon and curry leaves . This should render the oil lovely and fragrant. At this point add the onions and garlic and cook until they are soft.

To the softened onions add the the curry and chilli powder and cook until the rawness of the curry powder is gone. The curry powder will smell lovely and fargrant when it is ready.

Now add the beetroot and coconut milk and stir well until all the ingredients are combined.

Simmer on a medium heat until the beetroot is tender, it should still have a little bite.

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Season with salt and adjust as necessary. Serve hot with lots of steamed white rice.

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Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Curries

Bandakka (Okra) Curry

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Okra is a very divisive vegetable. I feel you either love the slimy texture or you don’t. I’m a fan. Always have been. So when I saw some fresh, green okra at our local Saturday farmer’s market I grabbed a handful straight away.

It was only when I got home that I thought about Mr Firehouse. You see, he is a hater of all things slimy. So the okra sat unloved, in my fridge, for nearly a week before I decided to tackle it.

During last years trip to Sri Lanka we had stayed at a new beach side resort. One of my favourite things about Asian hotels are the buffets! Love! This one was no different. They served all kinds of impressive Western fare; cold cuts and salads in tiny shot glasses. However, my  eyes and plate never strayed far from the big traditional earthenware pots that had real, homestyle, Sri Lankan food. Breadfruit curry glistening with black curry powder, Kalu Pork curry with tender, spicy pork and the okra curry teeming with dried chillis. I served myself all of the above and was surprised to find that the okra wasn’t its usual slimy self. It tasted the same and had the soft almost gelatinous texture, but the sliminess that offends most people was strangely absent. On closer inspection and a quick chat to the chefs the secret was revealed, the okra was deep fried prior to cooking!

This is exactly what I did to tackle my stash of okra. The extra step made this dish much more Mr Firehouse friendly and I must say, I enjoyed the change too! If you’re not fussed about the okra’s slimy tendencies, just skip the deep frying part.

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Ingredients

  •  200-250 g okra (about 1/2 a pound) sliced on an angle
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3-4 dried red chillis
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish flakes
  • 1/2tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. vegetable curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream

Preparation

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In a small frypan heat the oil for deep frying and deep fry the okra in batches until they have a little colour. Drain well

In a medium saucepan or pot place a little oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onions and garlic and soft and aromatic.

To the same pot add all of the dried spices and fry for 2-3 minutes until the spices are lightly toasted.

Finally add the fried okra and mix thoroughly coating all the okra in the lovely toasted spices.

Once the okra is well coated add the coconut cream and a little water to cover the okra.

Let the curry simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add salt to taste and serve warm with plenty of fluffy white rice.

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Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Vegetarian Curries

Breadfruit Curry (Del Curry)

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In Sri Lanka there is an expression that goes something like “Ala del vela”. It literally translates to the potatoes have turned into breadfruit. It’s akin to the English; ‘it’s all gone pear shaped’.  What it refers to is that a bad, overcooked potato curry will look like the thicker, more mushy breadfruit curry.  I heard this expression an awful lot growing up, it was one of my dad’s pet phrases. Unfortunately I had no idea what it meant because growing up in Australia I never had del. Not that I remember. As you can imagine this phrase didn’t hold much meaning for me until I finally tried del, then I spent a lot of time regretting my misspent youth and all the missed opportunities to eat del!

This curry, if made with good breadfruit, and believe you me not all breadfruit is created equal, is lovely, thick and slightly ‘slimy’. It’s perfect with rice and is meaty enough to stand on it’s own, unlike the humble potato. If the breadfruit is not ripe enough the curry will not get floury, no matter how much you cook it. In Sri Lanka, this is a lost cause and the dish will often be thrown out. I leave this up to your discretion. Thankfully this has never happened to me with the processed variety.

I’ve made this with frozen breadfruit and you can follow this for fresh as well. If you’re working with the tinned variety, the quantity might be a bit smaller and you’re best off making the curry with the coconut milk and then adding the drained breadfruit to the simmering coconut broth. The tinned fruit is using partially cooked or brined so doesn’t require the softening. You can then temper, as per the recipe below.

One of my favourite ways to eat this curry is with simple store bought paratha and a “salsa” of cubed tomatoes, cucumber and red onions seasoned with a little salt and chilli


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Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 500 g frozen  (~ 1lb ) breadfruit, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • curry leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • For tempering
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 small red  onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chillis cut into pieces
  • pinch of roasted dark curry powder (for serving)

Preparation

In a medium saucepan add the breadfruit, turmeric, curry powder, maldive fish, curry leaf, pandan leaf and pepper. Cover the breadfruit with water and turn the heat on to medium.

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Cook until the breadfruit it soft and going “floury” around the edges.

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When the breadfruit reaches the floury stage add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes until the curry is thick.

In a small frying pan add the oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the onions and dried chilli to the pan. Cook on medium heat until the onions have just a little bit of colour.

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Add the tempered onions to the del curry and stir through. Serve with a sprinkle roasted curry powder.

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Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Vegetarian Curries

Polos (Jackfruit) Curry

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Polos is one of my favourite vegetable curries. In Sri Lanka, the cooking of this dish is kind of a sacred art. The best jackfruit trees are well known and highly prized. When they yield their fruit it’s picked and prepared with a prodigious amount of care. It’s cooked low and slow over a wood fire in a clay pot that imparts an earthiness while the fire lends a beautiful smokiness. The curry is usually left for up to a week for the flavours to develop. We don’t have such luxuries here. My jackfruit comes out of a tin. But, it’s a little slice of paradise preserved in salt and vinegar. This recipe is for tinned jackfruit as it’s the only kind of jackfruit I’ve cooked!

This curry freezes beautifully so I’d suggest doubling or tripling the recipe and placing a few servings in the freezer.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can tinned jackfruit
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. roasted curry powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp maldive fish flakes
  • 1/2 tomato chopped
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove sliced
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 pandan leaf (rampe)
  • 1tsp goraka paste (can substitute with tamirind if you don’t have)
  • 100ml coconut milk

Preparation

Drain the tin of jackfruit and cut the pieces into uniform sizes. You want them all to cook at the same time.

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Place the jackfruit into a pot ( I use my beautiful lankan claypots) and add the tumeric, chilli powder, roasted curry powder, paprika, curry leaves, maldive fish, tomato, green chilli, onion, garlic, cloves, cinnamon and pandan leaf. Mix it all together and add just enough water to cover.

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Now place on the stove and simmer until most of the water has evaporated (about 20 minutes).

Note: At this point, you can freeze this curry and add the coconut milk later, once defrosted.

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Once most of the water has disappeared add the coconut milk and goraka paste. Mine has heaps of salt added so I don’t add salt, add salt if your goraka isn’t salted. If you can’t find goraka, use tamarind paste instead.

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The goraka paste I use. If you can’t find this, tamarind is a perfect alternative.

Bring the curry back to boil and simmer for a few minutes until the gravy has thickened slightly.

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Serve hot with rice or eat it with Pol Roti, like we did.

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