Ayubūvan from Sri Lanka, Spices, Curries and Smiles.
Sri Lanka, an island about 1/3 the size of California off the southern coast of India, is a land of jungles, tea plantations, elephants and monkeys, Buddhist and HIndu temples, delicious curries and warm smiles. Coconut is truly king here where thirst is quenched by roadside stand where a vendor chops off the top of young fruit filled with more water than you can drink at one time. Every Sinhala home starts the day by shredding coconut, adding water and squeezing the two until they have coconut milk for their lunch and dinner curries. In Sri Lanka no oil is used for the curry. Fish, chicken, potato (both regular and sweet), beet, squash, eggplant and okra are just a few of the curries. Most meals will have between four to six different curries surrounding a serving of rice. Sri Lanka curry spice blends are toasted before being ground in a mortar and pestle.
We always take a bottle of local wine with us to savor. Val du Vino’s 2016 Viognier (Dalton Vineyards) was the wine of choice this time. It paired quite well with Sri Lanka curries. Sincere thank you to our wonderful driver/guide, Palitha, who proudly shared his beautiful country with us and took us to his home for lunch.
Sri Lanka Chicken Curry. We made this dish several times in Sri Lanka and more times at home. Our favorite recipe comes from Mohara’s “Cooking with Color” class in Colombo.
Sri Lanka Kale and Coconut Salad. This is actually called Mugunuwanna mallum and is made from green leafy vegetable that we do not have in the US but its flavor is close to kale and parsley. It is refreshing and simple.
Fish Curry. Palitha stopped by a roadside fish stand, selected a freshly caught tuna which was quickly cleaned, cut in 3″ cubes and bagged to be used for our lunch at his home. We will never forget the flavors, culture and hospitality.
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