Watti Soru : Sri lankas other side

We all know the basic traditional Sri lankan food but to be honest I hardly know much of the Sri lankan food. I have relatives in Colombo, negombo and beruwela but Sri Lanka has many towns which are all different to one another. People in Galle cook rice in a different way than of those in Colombo and negombo. Yes I got to know that after my cousin brother married a girl from Galle. She taught my entire family how to make the normal rice aromatic and interesting.  We cook rice just plain with salt or if its yellow rice we add some cinnamon, garlic and pandan leaf with a few french onions. We make buriyani and ghee rice too but when its normal rice and curry we just cook the rice plain with salt. It has no flavour or aroma. People in Galle cook it with curry leaves and pandan leaves to make it aromatic. Now that’s very interesting. When the rice smells good you don’t need any side dish you can just eat it from the pot. Like wise my mother in law makes her rice a bit different by adding some raisins and cashew with onions tempered in oil. It’s different and I am sure kids will  like rice when its different and it’s the beruwela way which i didn’t know till I got married though my mum has a part in beruwela she lived the Colombo style ever since she moved to Colombo after marrying my dad.

Recently I met a friend who is my brother in laws mother in law. It makes her happy to call her as a friend as she is too young to be called as an aunt.  I got to know her only after the wedding and found so much of a foodie in her. She was a living foodie, I hear people say she cooks and send home lots of stuff especially to my mother in law and sister-in-law. But I tasted them only after the wedding.  Trust me she cooks the best beef. She makes good food that’s Sri lankan. She often mentions about the techniques and methods she use to cook and I find it quiet interesting. I can write a whole post about her food. She is the one who made me think of making hoppers. Her stories are really fascinating and when she mentioned how her mother in law questions about the food and the methods used to prepare I was really mesmerized.  She uses those traditional grinding methods to make a fish curry where she grinds the chilli and stuff using those large black stone like thing you roll over the ingredients to grind am not sure what’s it called in English.

She even said they use bred to make hoppers and that’s when i remembered my mum also mentioned that her mother used to make hoppers for them using bread pieces and she was served 5 hoppers for breakfast. Oh my grandma has been such a nice cook. She was from negombo and she cooked the best chicken curry, the best battu curry and best ash plantain  she used the traditional clay pot and wood fire until she went sick and was no more able to stand near a wood fire to cook. Her food smelled so good and the aroma of cooking made sure to bring the entire family to the dining table no matter what they did.

Getting back to my friend she was so nice to prepare a good seafood meal for me and my husband as a send of treat. What she served us made me really happy. It was all fish and prawns. Not the ordinary rice and curry this was different.  She said they call it watti soru and it’s usually served on a banana leaf but as they dint have a banana leaf she served as it is and it was all in a sahan.

meaning of watti soru in english – watti means a flat woven basket sort of thing in Sri Lanka. soru means rice in Tamil in sri Lanka. so its basically basket rice 🙂

The rice the fish fried, deviled, cooked and the prawns deviled. Some vegetables fried and cooked. Grated carrots.

Papadam and curd chillies which were my favourite at any meals. There was some green stuff. Everything on a sahan almost mixed and topped. It’s like a one pot meal but every ingredient you taste has been specially prepared separately and carefully.  They all had their unique taste. She says it’s usually made for pregnant women as a treat but she made it for me as a treat for going to Dubai.

Now am sure you might be anxious to see the image of the dish. Here it is ;

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FYI she was doing i  weligama style 🙂

So like wise there are many parts of sri lanka that i have not yet discovered or experienced jafna is one such part and i hear that food is different in jafna.

Most people are taken the taste of food with those machines which make us lazy. Try grinding your spices using a mortar and pestal and cooking in a clay pot or wood fire the taste is obviously different.

Sri lankas food basically includes its traditional spices like cinnamon sticks, curry leaves, pandan leaves, cloves and pepper. chillie powder and turmeric is a must in most vegetables and meat curry.

Hope you enjoyed exploring a bit of sri lanka with me.

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Cooking for grandma

It’s December holidays and my parents are out of town in business while my grandma is baby sitting me, myson and my sisters along with my aunt and cousin. My grandma cooks well and her food smells good. I remember my grans house filled with aromas from the fresh curry leave plant at the back yard besides the pandan leaves tree which was so huge and my granny never had to buy pandan leaves or curry leaves which ends up in every vegetable and curry cooked while the tempering of the onions and the variety of vegetables and curries release a delicious aroma that wakes up the appetite early before lunch time. Now I’ve got a chance to cook for my grandma who has a liking for western food while some medical precautions restrict her from eating what she wants and she is now obliged to eat what is good for her health. So I’ve gotta make some soft food, unfried and sugar less naturally. She does not restrict sugar from her teas and enjoys a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream sometimes amidst her diabetics. I decided to make some soft pittu for her to be served with some fish gravy made for lunch.
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I was so happy to hear her words of satisfaction and contentment of having a good home cooked pittu dinner.

Making pittu is so easy and can be prepared for a family of 6 within an hour including all side dishes such as sambol, gravy and eggs.
Pittu is often served with a good chicken, mutton or fish curry accompanied with a very spicy onion or maldives fish sambol. You can even serve it with a milk gravy and some boiled eggs which are optional for those who are lazy to run over to groceries for missing meat and ingredients while you have an unexpected guest. Pittue is not just a dinner time meal we often have it for breakfast as well though it best suits dinner time as a heavy meal. We generally consider pittu as a festive breakfast served along with the delicious sooji porridge refer my post on porridges.
So here is how you make a pittu.
You can make it in a mould thays used for making pittu like the one in the picture below or use an idly pan. If you wanna just try it out you dont have to spend and buy anything as this can be made on a plate or even steamed on a rice cooker.
To steam on a rice cooker take a large piece of soft cloth and put the entire flour mixture and secure into a bundle and place on the steaming attachment that comes with most rice cookers and steam.

To do it on a plate you’ll need a small plate plus a large piece of cotton cloth cum a pot that has a mouth the size of your plate. Oil the plate and place the flour mixture. Wet the cloth and sqeeze out excess water. Cover the plate with the wet cloth and turn it over with the back of the plate facing upwards and wrap gently the excess cloth to cover the back of your plate. Fill the pot with half water and boil. Place the plate over the pot making sure it doesn’t touch the boiling water and is stable, reduce heat and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Once done lift the cloth and place on your work top. Take off the plate using a pot holder and lift the cloth to spill the pittu on to a bowl or tray. If the mixture is perfectly cooked it will be firm and come out easily like a large idly with cracks. In case if you didn’t tap the plate or press the mixture together to level it, it might fall off into pieces as long as the color is changed and tastes cooked it is fine to serve. This pittu made on a plate is called plate pittu.

The utensil I used to make pittus which we call bamboo pittu.
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The pittu mixture once done would look like this
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A cooked pittu would look like
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Rice cakes.

Ingredients
Red/white raw rice roated/unroasted Flour 3 cups
Scraped coconut or dessicated coconut 1 cup
Salt 1 teaspoon
Tap water as required

Method
Add flour, scraped or dessicated coconut amd salt.
Mix by adding some water until tge mixture resembles flaked bread like shown in the picture above.
Once its perfectly mixed the raw flour smell with not be there so use you senses to identify the perfect texture.
Add into the pittu bamboo, a plate, idly moulds or just bundle into a cloth and steam.
It might take sometime depending on the utensil.
A pittu bamboo will take 15 minutes medium heat.
A Plate might take 15 minutes medium heat.
An idly pot time may vary depending on the size.
Bundling on a rice cooker might take 20 minutes or more as you keep the entire contents in one bundle.
Always use your own experience for perfect cooking times.
Bamboo pittus taste better than any others.
Use red or brown raw rice for a diabetic friendly meal.
Call these rice cakes if explaining pittu is tough.
For a healthier version grate and add some carrot, leeks and cabbages into the mixture and steam.

mafaza

Porridge

In our meals daily we have a variety of porridge, some are spicy and some are sweet. The easiest of them all is oats porridge which we usually have it sweet and sometimes dip a bread and eat.
Oats porridge is not only easy to prepare but cooks fast.
● Add a few sticks of cinnamon to give it a cinnamon flavor.

Kurakkan porridge know as white mullet flour is also another porridge which is prepared sweet and also eaten by dipping a slice of roasted bread.
We generally add a beaten egg and cook it for a healthier version.

Rice flake porridge is another yummy breakfast favourite also prepared sweet and often eaten by dipping a bread. It’s also prepared by adding a beaten egg for a healthier version.
Jaggery is added to give a color and kithul jaggery is often known as a rescue for those sugar conscious people. It tastes different too.

Rulang kanji also known as semolina porridge can be prepared sweet or spicy as you prefer. Add some juice of molakia or gottukolla for a green and healthy porridge and serve with dates or jaggery. The sweet version of this porridge is often thickened and presented as a dessert.

Payasam is very common in india and is served as a dessert after lunch. We prepare a sweet porridge with sago and often have it with some pittu or string hoppers for breakfast and sometimes with a coconut roti for dinner. Mainly its a festive porridge in my opinion and jaggery is added to give it a color while some cinnamon and cardamom act as flavor enhancers.

One other porridge often cooked plain and can be eaten spicy or sweet is the one and only rice porridge. Yes the rice is completely cooked and smashed, while thick and thin coconut milk is added to make it a porridge. Generally white raw rice is the main ingredient while a few cloves of garlic, ginger and some fenugreek is added to give it some flavor. This porridge is served with a spicy sambol, left over gravy or a devilled fish for a spicy version, while its served with dates or a piece of jaggery for a sweet porridge. Either way the porridge tastes delicious. You can add some gottukolla juice or molakia juice for a green porridge. You
Can mix in a tempered onion to create an appetite from the aroma and hide the garlic smell.

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Sri Lankan Wedding feast – Buriyani

Its not only during the two eid festivals we eat buriyani but even at every wedding we serve buriyani to the guests here in srilanka.
Although the buriyani all tastes good there is a special taste in buriyani served at a wedding house. Its the happiness and celebration that brings ouf such a unique taste.
Ofcourse buriyani is really tasty no matter whether it is srilankan, Pakistani, hydrebadi, mogul, bombay or even madras. I love buriyani and I used to have it on weekends in dubai and then I started liking mandhi due its different taste and flavor.
I was so happy to hear I had a couple of weddings to attend during my vacation in srilanka. And the last wedding I attended until today was a far relatives. This particular wedding was different to the normal weddings. The reason why this wedding was different is the theme. The theme was brown and gold with the thrown being made of like birds nest. The candles floating in huge vases of oil. The drink being not just the comman elephant house soft drink but the sarasaripillai syrup aka nannari in tamil and thats how we srilankans call it. Its a syrup thats diluted in water. It has its own natural sweetness for those who prefer less sugar and you can add more sugar to serve the sweet toothed. This particular drink was so matching the theme color and tasted good. The bride was from so did I here and the dinner they served was buriyani but it tasted so good.
I was invited through the bridegroom’s side so we had the opportunity to sit in the front and enjoy the buriyani in peace. I ate a bit too extra and dint leave a single bit of that watalappam.

I remember my wedding when I dint have time to finish my buriyani and watalappam as there were so many guests whom I had to say hi, bye and thank you which gave no time except for 4-5 mouths of buriyani. We had to leave our dinner and walk back to the aisle and pose for pictures with the guests who were already prepared to leave and waiting for us. Well it was an unforgettable day 🙂 I still feel bad for not being able to finish the dinner that was served on my plate.

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the watalappam and nannari (sarasaripillai drink)

the watalappam and nannari (sarasaripillai drink)

the spread of buriyni and accompaniying dishes

the spread of buriyni and accompaniying dishes

the side dishes

the side dishes

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Vacation in Srilanka

Food and Travel

my picture story

arriving in time during the rambutan season in sri lanka and being warned not to eat rambutan is really too bad. pregnancy was the only reason yet rumbutans are not more important than the child but who woudnt want to taste one small rambutan after coming to your home country one and a half years later with all the motherland cravings waiting in que to reveal the eating manners of a normal human being?

arriving in time during the rambutan season in sri lanka and being warned not to eat rambutan is really too bad. pregnancy was the only reason yet rambutans are not more important than the child but who wouldn’t want to taste one small rambutan after coming to your home country one and a half years later with all the motherland cravings waiting in que to reveal the eating manners of a normal human being?

waking up after 8 to hear the thambili vendor scream on top of his voice "thambili,thambili" is something i missed in dubai. its extreme fun to run up to the gate repeating thambili. this delicios, natural king coconut water is so magical. a straw is all you need to empty the shell. a very healthy drink indeed. very expensive in dubai and sold only in a small quantity. sri lanka is full of king oconuts sold by road side vendors.

waking up after 8 to hear the thambili vendor scream on top of his voice “thambili,thambili” is something i missed in dubai. its extreme fun to run up to the gate repeating thambili. this delicious, natural king coconut water is so magical. a straw is all you need to empty the shell. a very healthy drink indeed. very expensive in dubai and sold only in a small quantity. sri lanka is full of king coconuts sold by road side vendors.

well cutting the thambili into half and scraping the fless of by a spoon is fun. we used to throw the empty king coconut shell on the floor so it comes into two pieces. i remmebr the good old days when we used to share a side amongst us. the thambili vendors will cut it for uson request.

well cutting the thambili into half and scraping the flesh of by a spoon is fun. we used to throw the empty king coconut shell on the floor so it comes into two pieces. i remember the good old days when we used to share a side amongst us. the thambili vendors will cut it for us on request.

 

curd

the curd vendor who has been travelling in his same old bicycle for the past 25 years in the area we live who sells curd bought from mannar. Its really yummy. Sold in clay pots with a bottle of pure treacle in different sizes of bottles. Ofcourse the bottles they use are wine bottles well cleaned and sterilised. I have plans to get a stock of those treacle when ibget back to dubai

 

cargils

the elephant house ice cream bike. The music is what gives everyone a time to decide what flavor popsicle we need and I wanted to buy and try all the available flavors not that dubai doesn’t have popsicle but its the joy of buying from a ice cream cycle

 

kidu

oh I have been wondering how they make these and figured out somehow but its a long process to explain so I will post a seperate article with step by step pictures. Rice served in tgese leaves are really something special

 

 

 

yum kidu

there is a special menu for this meal. It is called kidu rice and served with special side dishes accompanying it. Yes that requires a seperate post and I sure will write it soon with pictures.

 

koththu

you can get koththu at srilankan restaurants in dubai yet you find it all over in srilanka and I can say there is no shop that doesn’t sell koththu.

 

banana leafa

banana leaf is some where I want to eat soon as I land in sri lanka on my vacation. They serve the food in banana leaf and the food tastes so delicious. Again you can find food served in a banana leaf at indian restaurants all over dubai but this restaurant in srilanka has a unique menu and taste which adds a bit of srilankan twist.

 

nethali

nethali karuwadu is what we call it and its basically the tiny dry fish not too salty and can be made into a devil or cooked into a gravy and served with anything like rice, string hoppers, bread and rotti. Enjoying a moment of lanka was I hardly cook this due to the diet I and my hubby follow.

 

soya

soya srilankan soya meat is very small and comes along with a seasoning. I used to buy the soya meat in dubai during my early stages of pregnancy and craved for the lankan soya its all in the way you cook anyway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brinjal Pahi

Ingredients

500 grams brinjal

1 tblsp mustard paste

1/2 an inch lemon grass

a handful of curry leaves

1 inch pandan leaves

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp maildives fish

1 medium onion

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

1 ripe chillie

1 small stick cinnamon

1 tbsp corriander powder (grounded)

1 tsp sweet cumin powder (grounded)

1 tsp cumin seeds(grounded)

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp tamarind pulp

1 tbsp coconut milk

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp chillie flakes

salt to taste

oil to fry

Method

Wash and slice the brinjal lenght wise.

Season with salt and tumeric.

Deep fry and drain the oil.

Mix grounded ingredients with tamarind and lime juice.

Temper onions and curry leaves, lemon grass, cinnamon stick and pandan leaves.

Add brinjal and the tamarind mix on to the tempered onions.

Stir in vinegar, chillie flakes, mustard paste, Ginger and garlic paste and Mix well.

Pour coconut milk and cook over a high flame.

Sprinkle some sugar and take off heat once the mixture starts to stick together.

Serve hot with lumprice, frickadales, lumprey curry and a hard boiled egg deep fried.

Lumprey Curry

Lumprey curry is a mixture of meat cooked together in a lump and served with lumprice.

Ingredients
500 grams chicken
250 grams mutton
1 large onion
2 teaspoon garlic
2 teaspoon ginger
3 cloves
3 cardamons
1 stick cinnamon
2 inch piece of pandan leaves
Curry leaves(grounded)
1 tablespoon coriander and cumin seeds (roasted and grounded)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1 teaspoon roasted chillie powder
1 teaspoon lime juice

Method

clean, wash and cut into small pieces.

Add ground spices coconut milk, ginger and garlic paste and mix.

In a seperate pan pour oil and temper half of the onions,pandan leaves and curry leaves.

Add the meat mixture.

Add cardamon and lime juice. Cook closed on it’s own juice.

As the water dries of add ghee and the rest of the ingredients.
Cook until the meat is tender.

Once cooked stir fry for a few minutes and serve hot with lumprice.

mafaza