I have been quite hooked to Sri Lankan recipes and reading up on differences and similarities between Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. I really want to try using their salted chillies in my cooking too. The book mentions how they marinate chillies in salt water and use that in their curries. The use of coconut milk is also quite extensive in their recipes.
Beetroot Thel Dala Recipe
Source: Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayaka
2 medium-sized beetroots, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped
10 curry leaves or 1 bay leaf
1 small cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 green chillies, sliced
1 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic and saute until golden brown – about 1 to 2 mins. Then add the beetroot and toss for another 2 mins.
2. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, curry powder, turmeric and chilli and stir until spices are mixed through.
3. Add 1/4 cup water, bring to boil then simmer until the beetroot is tender – about 7 mins. Mix in salt to taste and remove.
Instead of thel dala, you can also make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry with the same recipe by adding coconut milk. At step 3, instead of adding water, add 1/4 cup light coconut milk and cook till beets are tender. Two minutes before removing from the flame, add 1/2 cup thick coconut milk, simmer and remove.
Serve beetroot thel dala hot with plain steamed rice.