May edition of AWED is focusing on Sri Lankan recipes and I was thinking atleast this month I should send in something. Due to work, some personal stuff and more work, I forgot about it until the weekend when we visited the library. Guess what stuck its head out of the cookery bookshelf? This book!
I picked it up and once glance through it made me realize how similar Sri Lankan cuisine is to Indian cuisine as well South East Asian ones. I was amazed to see that Pandan leaves, that are a very common flavouring ingredient used in South East Asian cooking, are a staple in a Sri Lankan kitchen too, just like curry leaves are to Indians. In fact, they use curry leaves quite extensively too. I was also surprised to see Kerala aappams, they call it hoppers, as a common street food in SL. They call idiyappam string hoppers, so cute!
I could go on and on because I am quite smitten by this cuisine. Similar yet so different from what I am so used to.
The first dish I tried from the book is this Mango Curry. Its similar to our mango pachadi recipe but has its subtle differences. I was diappointed to see that the author hadn't mentioned the local name for this dish. I did a search and the closest dish I could find online was Amba Maluwa but the recipe is significantly different from this.
The mangoes I used were semi-sweet semi-sour
Sri Lankan Mango CurryServes: 2Preparation time: 30 minsSource: Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa DassanayakaIngredients:1 raw mango1/2 onion, chopped fine2 tsp crushed garlic1 tsp crushed ginger(or use 2 tsp ginger garlic paste)1 tsp mustard seeds2 tbsp vinegar4-5 curry leaves
1 pandan leaf cut/torn into bitsa 1" cinnamon stick1/2 cup thick coconut milk1/2 cup light coconut milk1 tbsp oilHow to Make Sri Lankan Mango Curry:
1. Peel mango and cut into long, thin pieces. I made the mistake of not peeling the mango and the curry came out slightly bitter. So please take the time and do it!2. Grind mustard seeds and vinegar together to form a paste.3. Heat oil in a pan and add the onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and cinnamon. Saute until onion turns golden - about 5-7 mins.4. Add the mango, light coconut milk, pandan leaf bits and the mustard seed mixture and bring to a boil.5. Reduce heat and simmer until mango is cooked and tender. Add the thick coconut milk and simmer for another 10 mins. Add salt.
- You can use store-bought coconut milk for this recipe. I used it and to get the light coconut milk, I added equal amounts of water to the coconut milk. It won't curdle if you cook it in very low fire.
- The dish will taste just fine without pandan leaves. It will be like making an Indian dish without curry leaves - a certain flavour will be missing but that won't break the dish totally, so don't worry :)
This side dish is usually served with rice and some meat curry during a typical Sri Lankan lunch.