Happy Eid to all those who celebrate! Today marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. I sincerely hope that the new year will usher in peace and happiness for everyone and reduce the suffering that we have been recently witnessing across the globe. Life is simple and let’s keep it simple. Live and let live.
Anyways, today’s post is a guest post from a co-blogger and a good friend Ahila. Ahila blogs at ‘ A taste of SriLankan cuisine‘ where she blogs authentic Sri Lankan recipes of her mom. When I had done my virtual tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, I had asked Ahila if she could do a guest post. But she had been very busy with work and other engagements and so she was unable to do one at that time. But now she reached out to me when she finally had time to put a post together. So sweet of her! Literally, since the post is of a sweet traditional coconut pudding 🙂 It looks so good! Do check out her site, ‘ A taste of SriLankan cuisine‘ for more delicious recipes! So without much ado, here is Ahila’s post:
” Wattalapam is one of the most popular Sri Lankan desserts. Traditionally from the Malay cuisine of the country, it is basically a steamed pudding made out of coconut milk, eggs and jaggery.
During the past month, my mother has been experimenting with her different takes on wattalapam with her wattalapam cake and wattalapam jelly pudding. For Eid, I wanted to share my mother’s recipe for wattalapam as this will be a dessert sure to make an appearance in Muslim households across the country as well as in restaurants.
Lightly whisk the egg before adding the jaggery-milk mixture. Blend the mixture well, making sure that there are no chunks of jaggery left in the mix.
Add the crushed cardamom and vanilla extract to the mixture.
Place a basin with 1 tbsp of sugar evenly spread around the basin over the stove top and caramelize the sugar.
Transfer the blended wattalapam mix onto the basin. Do not stir.
Place the basin over a saucepan half-filled with water and steam the wattalapam for 15 – 20 mins, until cooked.
Once the steamed wattalapam is ready, remove from heat and transfer to serving plate. The browned bottom layer will be at the top. If there had been jaggery chunks, this browned layer will be much darker, which can be nice as well.
Its time for a round up of all the Sri Lankan recipes that I have made. I have been ogling at and drooling over countless recipes and I did end up making 7 different ones and have more lined up on my pinterest page that I hope to make soon! My virtual journey has made me even more determined to visit Sri Lanka some day. The cuisine just resonates with me so much because of the similarities between Kerala and Sri Lankan way of cooking. The liberal use of coconut and the abundance of seafood and spices! Gosh the recipes are so varied – There are simple salads like this carrot sambal that are made using fresh ingredients and serve as a side/ accompaniment to spicy rich dishes. Then there are stuffed breads, spicy chicken appetizers like spring rolls/cutlets and delicious curries using coconut milk. The desserts are amazing too and mostly use rice, cashew nuts and fruits.
So here I share the recipe of Carrot Sambal that I made ! I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did. 🙂
Spicy Stuffed buns!
Veggie Stuffed buns!
One a penny, Two a penny,
Tasty Stuffed buns!
One of the Sri Lankan recipes that I had bookmarked a few weeks ago was these breakfast buns stuffed with a spicy onion filling. The onion and red chili filling in these buns is actually ‘seeni sambol’ which is a spicy onion chutney very popular in Sri Lanka (at least that’s what my virtual tour has shown me). This seeni symbol recipe was very similar to the ‘ulli chamandi’ (onion chutney) which is traditional to Kerala. Yeah that is just one of the various commonalities between Sri Lankan and Kerala cuisine.
Last week I had made this onion chutney and since I had some leftover, the thought of making these stuffed buns came to mind. I thought of making them for dinner and so decided to do a couple different variations for the stuffing too. One was seeni sambol and for the other stuffing, I sautéed veggies and added ricotta cheese. I knew that was a filling that would definitely be a hit with my children. And I was absolutely right! Both these buns were a huge hit! I did a third variation too with just the veggies without the ricotta for myself (I am dairy free remember? ). The buns came out so wonderfully light and soft – I am already thinking of thousand other ways I am going to try them again soon!
¼cup milk (I used almond milk for a dairy free version)
About 4 cups all-purpose flour
4tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes (I used Smart balance dairy free )
olive oil, for greasing
Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook (or working by hand), combine 1 cup water and the yeast. Mix together. Add the egg, milk, 4 cups flour, salt, sugar and butter. Knead until you get a smooth dough(Add more flour if needed). Turn into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Divide the dough into 16 balls and let rise for another 30 minutes.
For the filling:
Seeni Sambol/ Ulli Chamandi:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 medium red onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 dry red chillies (use according to your spice level)
1 tiny piece (nickel size ball) of tamarind, dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water (seed removed)
1/2 tsp salt
In a small frying pan, add the oil and sauté the onion,garlic and the dry red chillies for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Transfer to a food processor / chopper and coarsely grind adding the tamarind paste and salt. Transfer to a container.
1 cup ricotta cheese (skip ricotta for a dairy free version)
In a sauté pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions for a minute. Then add the chopped veggies and the spices and salt and cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then uncover add the mushrooms and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese mix and turn heat off.
Making the stuffed buns:
Set aside a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick liner. Punch down each ball of dough and press with your fingers to form a circle about 5 inches in diameter. Put a tablespoon of filling in one quadrant of the circle, then fold the dough over like a half moon to cover the filling. Fold over once again Pinch the rounded edges of the dough together, tuck them under, and place the bun on the baking sheet. Repeat, placing the buns several inches apart. Brush the tops with the egg yolk mixture, and set aside to rest for about 20 minutes while the oven heats.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F (or 190 deg C). Bake the buns until lightly golden on top and bottom, about 12 to 13 minutes; Serve warm or at room temperature, for breakfast or a snack.
Growing up in Mumbai we ate spring rolls quite often and mostly at ‘Indochinese joints’ spread across the city suburbs. These were mostly vegetable spring rolls which had a tasty filling of shredded veggies like cabbage,spring onions etc mixed with noodles and had a liberal seasoning of pepper and soy sauce. In the US the Chinese spring rolls we get (especially from takeout joints)happen to be quite bland and except for the crusty coating, the spring rolls don’t really deliver it for me.
So you can imagine my excitement when I came across this recipe of Spicy Spring rolls in the SriLankan Recipes cookbook of Rice and Curry. The Sri Lankans seem to take the spring rolls a step further in that they are further dipped in flour batter and coated with bread crumbs before frying (like you would make cutlets or patties). Plus the filling options were all equally mouth watering – spicy shrimp, fish or beef.! Move aside, ordinary spring rolls. It’s time for a make-over – and here’s the recipe to turn ordinary spring rolls into spring rolls extraordinaire 🙂
I decided to go with a chicken filling since I had some leftover cooked chicken pieces from the previous night when I had made chicken soup. But you can easily substitute this recipe with some veggies – potatoes are already in the chicken filling. I am bringing these fancy, ‘all dressed up’ spring rolls to the weekly Fiesta Friday party at Angie’s where Elaine from Foodbod and Julie from HostessatHeart are co-hosts this week 🙂
1/2 inch by 1/2 inch piece of ginger, chopped finely (about 1 tsp)
3-4 curry leaves
salt as needed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp sri lankan curry powder (or you can use garam masala)
1 medium potato, boiled,peeled and mashed
1/2 tsp black pepper (optional only if you want it extra spicy)
For the spring roll coating:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
about 2 cups bread crumbs
To make filling, heat a medium size wok style pan (kadai) and add the oil. when hot add the onions. Saute for a minute or so and then add the garlic, ginger and the curry leaves. Stir for a couple minutes. Then add the salt and the spices. Next add the mashed potato. Mix well to blend with the spices. finally add the cooked chicken and stir for a couple minutes to mix everything well together. Add black pepper if you desire extra spicy filling.
Keep this filling aside and let it cool.
To make crepes for the spring rolls:
Mix all the ingredients listed under spring roll coating except bread crumbs with an electric mixer or by hand to form smooth batter. Make sure the batter has no lumps. Reserve about 1 cup of batter for the frying process.
Heat a non stick frying pan and brush with cooking oil. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter on the pan and swirl to form a thin layer. Let cook for 1 minute and then flip to cook for another 30 seconds on the other side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat the process and make about 8-10 crepes.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
Place the bread crumbs on a plate. Place the bowl with the reserved batter also next to it. Keep a small bowl with water also next to you. Then start preparing the spring rolls by placing about 2 tbsp of filling on the bottom third of a crepe and folding the crepe to form a spring roll. Seal the edges using some water. (See steps in the pics below). After you finish making all the spring rolls this way, dip each spring roll in the flour batter first followed by the breadcrumbs and then deep fry them until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve the spring rolls with some sweet n sour ketchup or sauce.
Happy New Year folks! Hope you had a relaxing holiday season with family and friends just like I did. Back to blogging and starting with my Sri lankan series. One of the dishes of SriLanka that I found intriguing as I was exploring the different recipes was this dish called ‘kottu’ or kothu’ roti which seems to be an immensely popular street food. An article in Time mentions Kottu roti as one of 5 reasons to visit Colombo and had this to say about this enticing dish :
“One of Colombo’s favorite fast foods is kottu rotti — finely chopped flatbread cooked on a hot skillet with vegetables, eggs and meats of your choice. The locals typically wolf down a plateful after a night’s drinking: take one bite of its greasy blissfulness and you’ll appreciate why. A great place to try kottu rotti is the Hotel de Pilawoos, a grungy 24-hour café much favored by the city’s young and sleepless. The more salubrious Commons Coffee House, does decent kottu rotti as well.”
Since I don’t know when I will have the pleasure of visiting Sri Lanka I decided to try making this on my own. I looked at several online recipes and videos and came up with this version. Do check out these videos which really gives you a sense of how the dish comes together. Watching the video you will also appreciate the name – kottu refers to the typical chopping sound made while making this dish!
It seems like the chicken version of the dish is the most popular version. However I tried to make a vegetable version here since I had a few different vegetables left in my fridge and this recipe seemed like a perfect way to use up those veggies as well as to get your kids to eat them without any complaints.! It is also a great way to use left over rotis/chapatis! Traditionally the Sri lankan parantha or roti is used but I used a mix of left over rotis and a tortilla. This dish is a complete meal in itself and a great easy lunch/dinner idea.
I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday where the holiday party has been going on for two weeks now!
Saute onion and garlic and ginger. Add tomatoes and spices. Blend to a puree with the water. Transfer sauce to a bowl and keep aside.
3 tbsp olive oil
5 Rotis / chapatis or tortillas, cut into small pieces
8-10 green beans, french cut (thin pieces)
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
3-4 mushrooms, chopped
1 potato (boiled and cut into cubes)
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup of tomato sauce (recipe above)
2 tsp soy sauce
salt as needed
Take a large wok and add about 1 tbsp of the oil. Beat the 2 eggs in a small bowl and add to the wok. Let cook for 1 full minute and then sprinkle some salt. Flip the egg omelet and then start scrambling it using a spoon/spatula. Take the scrambled egg out of the wok and keep aside. Wipe the wok clean with a dish cloth/paper and add about 1 tbsp oil. Add the chopped rot is or tortilla pieces and lightly fry them in the oil for abut 2-3 minutes. Get the pieces out of the pan and drain on paper towels.
Just before serving do the following steps:
Next add the rest of the oil and add all the vegetables except the potatoes and green onions. Saute the vegetables on high heat for a minute. Then cover with a lid and let steam cook for about 2 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked. Uncover and add the potatoes and the spring onions and then add the fried rotis, the scrambled eggs and the prepared tomato sauce, soy sauce and continue to stir fry and mix everything well for about 1-2 minutes. check for seasoning and add salt as needed.