Tag Archives: Sri Lankan cuisine

Green Mallum

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Mallum is Sri Lanka’s answer to a salad. A bevy of greens wilted, spiced and combined with shredded coconut amongst other wonderful spices. It’s often served as a condiment, an addendum to a meal. Something to add flavour, colour and vivid green health.

It’s a healthy alternative to lettuce and greens doused in dressing and I know for me it helps balance the colours in a meal. I struggle to eat without some green on my plate,

When I made this, I used silver beet and some outer leaves of cabbage from my parent’s garden. Green spinach, kale, collard greens are all easily used.

The trick to this is to slice the greens as finely as possible. It’s a skill I lack so, like me, do the best you can.

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Ingredients

  • 200g greens, washed and dried (5-6 leaves)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish
  • 2 dried chillies finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • salt to taste

Preparation

Finely slice the greens. I find rolling them tightly into a cigar shape and using a sharp knife is the easiest way to get a fine slice.

In a small frypan add the oil. When hot, add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and onion. Fry until the onion is soft.

Add the chopped greens and cook until just wilted. Now add the coconut, mustard seeds, turmeric and salt, Mix well until just warmed through.

Serve warm with fluffy white rice.

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Filed under Snacks and Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Vegetarian Curries

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