Tag Archives: vegetarian

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

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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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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Filed under Curries, Vegetable Dishes

Roast Vegetable Quiche

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Mr Firehouse gave me a challenge this week. When I accused him of being not very keen on vegetarian cooking, he asked for a vegetarian dinner. This is a vegetarian quiche with cream cheese pastry, so really, double the cheese! It’s delicious, nutritious and colourful!
I’ve always loved the Exclusively food version of quiche and this recipe is based on that recipe. I’ve made modifications, but if you’re looking for the original, you know where to look.
Note: I’ve also successfully made this quiche with gluten free flour.
Ingredients
  • 500g of chopped vegetables to roast (I used zucchini, onion, eggplant capsicum and mushroom)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 125 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 125 g butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup whole meal flour (feel free to use all plain if you want)
  • 1 tbsp fresh herbs of your choice
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1 /2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combo of tasty cheddar and part-skim mozzarella)

Preparation

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Doesn’t that just look like health on tray?

Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C. Place the chopped veg, vinegar, oil and dried thyme into a baking dish. Mix and place in the oven for 45 mins. Make sure you turn the veges over every 15 minutes or so to get a good colour all round.

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Mmmm…roast veges. FYI, Mr C loves these just as is….no need to mess around with pastry and cream with him.

While the veg is roasting you can make the quiche base. I use my kitchenaid, but you can easily use a food processor. Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl and mix until it’s all combined and uniform.

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Once you hit that stage, start adding the flours, a little at a time. You might not need the whole lot, so add a little at a time.You want a wet dough that you can press into the pan, not one that comes altogether as if you’re going to roll it out. When it’s nearly done, add the fresh herbs and mix.

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I make my quiche in a Pyrex pie dish. It’s easy to work with, I can put it straight in the diswasher and it’s the perfect size for this recipe. I spray it generously with some oil before I start, just to be on the safe side. Once greased, push the dough it into the dish until you have a thin layer all around the dish. If I have extra I reinforce the edges, to make them nice and crispy and thick.

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Into the pan place a third of the cheese, and lay half the roast veg on top. Arrange them so that whatever slice you get, you get a good mix of veg. Now add another layer of cheese, the rest of the veg and finally the last of the cheese.

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First a 1/3 of the cheese

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Then the roast veges

In a jug, mix the eggs, cream, salt & pepper and the nutmeg. Now pour the cream and egg mixture into the quiche. Give the liquid time to settle and get into all the nooks and crannies.

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Don’t worry if it looks like it’s not full, it’s egg remember, it will puff up.

Bake for 50 minutes at 180 c or 350 F.

Serve warm with a nice green salad, or really, just on it’s own is perfectly okay too. I tend to make extra of these vegetables as Master C is a huuuuge fan!

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Filed under Non-Sri Lankan Food, Vegetable Dishes