It should not come as a surprise then that an ordinary Sinhalese curry can contain upto thirteen herbs and spices!
My very first attempt at a Sri Lankan meal convinced me that it is completely blog worthy and so here it is,bad pictures and poor lighting at dinner time, notwidthstanding.
This super fragrant yet mild Ceylon Rice complements the curry perfectly and is really quick to rustle up using leftover rice.
Polos(young jackfruit in Sinhalese) is one of my favourite vegetables(fruit?)and is believed to have such a high medicinal value that it was a staple diet of ancient Lankan royalty. Together with potato, it lends the perfect texture to this curry.
- 1 cup raw jackfruit, chopped
- 1 medium potato, cut into large chunks
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- curry leaves , 6 to 8
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 cup coconut milk
- around 5 cloves & cardamom each
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1tsp tamarind pulp
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp fennel powder
- a dash of powdered cinnamon
- a pinch of garam masala
I didn't want to add another bottle of spice powder to my burgeoning collection so I used individual,powdered spices to make up the spice base.
Heat 2 tsp oil and fry the mustard, curry leaves,whole spices, onion and garlic till the onion begins to brown.Add the jackfruit and potatoes and the spice base and mix well to coat them with the masala. Now add the coconut milk, little by little and stir fry till you can see some specks of oil. Add around half a cup of water and salt to taste and transfer the whole thing to a pressure cooker. Cook for 2 to 3 whistles and let the cooker release steam naturally before opening it. Cook uncovered for a few minutes till it reaches a creamy consistency. Check salt and take off the heat. After a couple of minutes, mix the tamarind pulp(adding it too soon can cause the coconut milk to split) and serve.
Ceylon Fried Rice
The Sinhalese love for cashewnuts and fragrant spices makes for a crunchy, nutty and very flavourful rice.
- 2 cups cooked rice
- whole cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper(leave out if you don't enjoy biting into pepper)
- a pinch of saffron soaked in a tbsp of milk
- a handful of frozen peas, defrosted
- 1 tsp of ghee
- as many cashews as you'd care to eat
- salt to taste
Heat ghee, add cashews, whole spices and cook till the cashews turn a pale brown. Add the frozen peas, rice and salt to taste and mix well. Finally add the saffron milk, turn off the heat and cover for a couple of minutes. Serve with curry.