Tag Archives: Sri Lankan recipes

Peter Kuruvita’s Egg Rolls & Why Eggs are So Good

You know all those stories about eggs in excess being bad for you because they lead to high cholesterol? It’s all rubbish. The nutrition and especially the diet industry have in the last few years done a big u-turn and we are now told that fats do not make us fat after all, and eggs are in fact a superfood.

Having been on my own recent voyage of discovery regarding healthy foods for me (dealing with Hashimoto’s disease and pernicious anaemia – both auto-immune issues) I have come across multiple sources advocating up to four eggs a day. Yay. I love eggs 🙂 – and have drooled over them previously here, here, here, here and here etc.

So, how to incorporate eggs everywhere? Another thing I love is Sri Lankan street food, aka short eats and egg rolls have got to be in my top 10 Sri Lankan foods. So here a quick recipe borrowed from Peter Kuruvita. Peter’s street food inspired Sri Lankan egg rolls are made with spiced tuna and potato, wrapped in pancakes, crumbed and deep fried:

INGREDIENTS

  • 200 g tuna steaks, cut into chunks
  • 200 g new potatoes
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 300 ml vegetable oil, for frying

For the pancakes

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

For the tempered spices

  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked from stem

For the crumbing mix

  • 75 g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml water
  • 300 g breadcrumbs

METHOD

  1. Place the tuna, half a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of roughly ground black pepper in a pot, and cover with water. Place over medium heat until the tuna has cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
  3. Combine the cooked tuna and potatoes in a bowl and mash until smooth but still reasonably dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. For the pancakes: whisk the flour, eggs and milk until smooth then stir through the vegetable oil. Set aside for 10 minutes until ready to fry
  5. For the tempered spices: heat the oil in a pan over a high heat. Add the cayenne pepper, chillies, onion, garlic and curry leaves and fry until the onions are golden brown. Remove from the heat and combine with the fish and potato mixture. Set aside.
  6. Make the pancakes by heating a little oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Once the oil is hot, spoon a ladelful of the mixture into the pan and swirl to coat.
  7. Once the pancake is loose enough to come away from the pan, flip it over and cook the other side. You dont want the pancake to crisp it should still be soft enough to fold without tearing. Repeat with remaining batter. Once all the batter has been used, set the pancakes aside.
  8. To make the crumbing mix, whisk the flour, eggs and water in a bowl and set aside.
  9. To assemble the egg rolls, lay a pancake on a clean work bench. Top with a small amount of the fish and potato mixture. Place an egg half on top. Fold each side of the pancake into the centre to form a square parcel. Use some of the egg and flour mixture to help the edges stick if necessary. Repeat with remaining pancakes and filling.
  10. Coat a roll in the flour and egg mixture, and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining rolls and set aside until ready to fry.
  11. To cook the rolls, heat the oil in a pot over high heat until it reaches smoking point. Add the rolls, one at a time one, and fry until crisp and golden. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with a nice cold beer.
Peter Kuruvita's Egg Rolls

Peter Kuruvita’s Egg Rolls

Other than the fact that these have been deep fried in vegetable oil these are extremely healthy. For gluten free, skip the flour & breadcrumbs and use coconut flakes instead. For less calories – shallow fry in extra virgin olive oil.

Why are eggs suddenly the latest super food? Just think about it… one egg contains all the nutrients and building blocks required to grow an entire baby chicken.

Eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients.

A large egg contains (details):

  • Only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
  • Rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among others).
  • One egg contains 113 mg of Choline – a very important nutrient for the brain, among other things.

Eat the yolks, they contain pretty much all the nutrients!

Bottom Line: Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids, are highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals and are among the best sources of choline you can get. Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best. Eggs also contain large amounts of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine, which dramatically lower your risk of age-related eye disorders. Despite the fear mongering of the past few decades, eating eggs and cholesterol has no association whatsoever with heart disease.

So what are you waiting for?

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Filed under Healthy food, Snacks, Sri Lankan food & recipes

Dhal-licious!

Before I came to Sri Lanka I wasn’t a fan of lentils. On the few occasions I had tried them in Europe and the Middle East they were prepared in a generally bland and tasteless way and during my one experience of eating dhal with Indian friends of mine in Kuwait, the dish practically blew my head off (Goan food is on a par with Sri Lankan food for it’s heat). I also shamefully admit that eating dhal conjured up images of extremely thin hippy-vegan types with long dreadlocks standing on their heads in some insane yoga pose in those days….

In Sri Lanka dhal is a staple comfort food all year round – usually eaten with rice (it is omni-present in the rice and curry dishes), bread (I love it with bread and coconut sambol for breakfast), roti and vegetables and it is typically your British equivalent of mash, baked beans or even mushy peas, at a stretch.

Full of protein and rich in calcium, iron and B vitamins more than 60 different types of dhal are made across India alone. Sri Lanka  has it’s own regional varieties and you will find that breakfast dhal is usually soupier than lunchtime dhal, which is stodgier.

Yummy dhal

Yummy dhal

The following recipe is for the authentic Sri Lanka dhal or parippu as it is also called, especially by the youngsters.

Sri Lankan Dhal Recipe – to serve 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Mysore Dhal (Red lentils)
  • 1 tsp turmeric (or saffron powder as some call it here!)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2-3 green chillies halved diagonally (de-seeded if you want it milder)
  • 1-2 dried red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 red (or bombay) onions, chopped
  • piece of cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 6-8 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (fresh or canned)
  • 2 tsp oil (I prefer vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  •  4-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Method:

Wash the dhal thoroughly in about 3 pots of fresh water or leave it to soak for a couple of hours.

When cleaned boil the dhal in a pan with 1 cup water (or more – you need to cover the dhal), 1/2 tbsp turmeric, the green chillies, the cinnamon, 1 onion and the garlic. When the the colour of the dhal turns from orange to yellow the dhal is cooked. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the remaining ingredients except the coconut milk and cooked dhal. Fry until the onions are golden brown. When done add the fried ingredients to the dhal, add the coconut milk and salt to taste and cook for a few more minutes until the dhal curry starts to boil. Turn the cooker off and add the lime juice.

A very simple and scrumptious dish. If you are preparing dhal for a special occasion you can garnish it with some deep fried onions and/or crispy curry leaves.

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Filed under Healthy food, Sri Lankan food & recipes, Sri Lankan life, Vegetarian recipes

What makes Sri Lankan food so special?

In spite of its small size, Sri Lanka boasts an amazing variety of food and styles of cooking.
History:
The island has a rich heritage of indigenous dishes and its regional cooking is strongly individual and varied. For example, Kandyan Sinhalese cooking, with its emphasis on hill country vegetables and fruits; coastal cooking, making the best of the abundant seafood with which the land is blessed; Tamil cooking, closely linked to that of southern India, which is especially prevalent in Jaffna, in the north.In Sri Lanka, as in any other country, the most typical food is cooked in the villages – getting precise recipes is almost impossible. They don’t cook by a cookbook. A pinch of this, a handful of that, a good swirl of salty water; taste, consider, adjust seasoning. That’s the way Sinhalese women cook, and no two women cook exactly alike. Even using the same ingredients, the interpretation of a recipe is completely individual. Ask a cook how much of a certain ingredient she uses and she’ll say, ‘This much’, showing you with her hand. You watch, make notes and try to achieve the same results by trial and error. And when you arrive at the correct formula, write it down!!

Spices

In addition to regional characteristics, some of the most popular dishes reflect influences from other lands. After a hundred years or so it does not matter that this or that style of cooking was introduced by foreigners who came and stayed, either as traders or conquerors – Indian, Arabs, Malays, Moors, Portuguese, Dutch and British. The dishes they contributed have been adapted to local ingredients, but retain their original character. They are not presented as Sinhalese dishes but accepted and enjoyed as part of the richly varied cuisine.

The influence of the Muslims and Malays is responsible for the use of certain flavourings such as saffron and rose water and the spicy korma, pilau and biryani which are Sri Lankan only by adoption.

When the Portuguese ruled Sri Lanka for 150 years in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they left behind words which have worked into the language and customs which are very much a part of rural and urban life. Many recipes end with an instruction to ‘temper’ the dish. This comes from the Portuguese word, temperado, which means to fry and season. The Portuguese also contributed a number of sweetmeats which are popular to this day. These are served at celebrations (Sri Lankans are enthusiastic about celebrating every happy occasion) and people take enormous pride in old family recipes, which they guard with zealous care.

Then came the Dutch, and though their rule ended after 138 years, their descendants stayed on in this prosperous land. They too brought with them recipes laden with butter and eggs in true Dutch tradition, but in the spice-rich land of their adoption they took on new flavour with the addition of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and mace. The traditional Ceylon Christmas cake is a fine example of this, a fruit cake which stands above all others for flavour and richness.

Today, many travellers, tourists, reviewers and expats regularly rave about the Sri Lankan cuisine. I have found some great links about Sri Lankan food that people have written (some famous & some not-so-famous) from across the world that I have felt worthy of a mention:

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Sri Lankan recipes

Sri Lankan Food: 40 of the Island’s Best Dishes

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Filed under Sri Lankan food & recipes, Sri Lankan life