Hello people, I’ve decided to start a blog today for several reasons: 1) I am bored on a Sunday and relaxing at home in Sri Lanka (and I couldn’t resist the lure of the laptop) 2) I live a lifestyle that many will find “different” or “interesting” – basically I live in Sri Lanka for 6 months of the year and the UK (or as many other places as I can go…finances permitting) for the other 6 months. Being Dutch by birth usually means at least one trip to Holland per year too 🙂 3) I love travel, food, recipes, indulgence, trying out new things and general enjoyment of life and why the hell shouldn’t I share my ideas, tips, recipes, views & opinions with other like-minded souls? 4) Although I would really prefer to spend my time writing about 5 star hotels and resorts in the Maldives, the Seychelles, the Andaman Islands (OK you get the picture!)…my actual working life consists mainly of translation and localisation work from Dutch into English and vice versa. So some of this blog will be about working at home, tips for that in general and specific translation blogs too. I will try to categorise everything properly…however this is my first blog so bear with me if I f*ck up. RIGHT – now that that is out of the way I would like to share with you the Sri Lankan concept of a “kade” or a “boutique“… A boutique shop in my local town of Aluthgama is not comparable to boutique shops in Bond Street or the Kings Road. The first difference is that my local “kade” or “boutique” sells everything. Uncle smiles at me as I approach:
My local Kade or “boutique”
He gets ready to stand up to serve me and nearly automatically hands me a packet of 12 Gold Leaf cigarettes. Customised service if ever there was such a thing. I also buy a bottle of water, some butter (for the fresh bread from the muslim bakery…more on that later), a bag of pop-corn (no idea why, but why not at 20 rupees (about 10 pence), a bottle of mango juice and a DVD. Yes a DVD. I’ll let you know if it works later. Living in Sri Lanka means colour – whether it’s your local “kade”, a beautiful sunset or monks in their orange robes walking down the street. Sundays are my day off from work generally so I lazed about on the balcony and enjoyed the river views. We had parties:
Party boat on Bentota River
With 80’s disco music and lots of Bob Marley. And then after a short bout of rain…peace and tranquility:
Fisherman on Bentota River at sunset
One of my favourite things in the world is cooking and trying out new recipes. Being as it’s a Sunday and a Sunday roast is not really applicable to my lifestyle at the moment I will give you two alternative recipes (both guaranteed to make you feel better after a Saturday night out): One the perfect hangover cure...my bloody mary: This is for one long glass so adjust your measurements according to how strong/weak you want it and whether you are serving a pitcher!
- 2 fingers of vodka (I don’t do measurements)
- 5 fingers of tomato juice
- juice of half a lime (throw in a slice or two too if you like)
- good shake of Worcester sauce (available from most supermarkets in Sri Lanka)
- half a teaspoon of celery salt or normal salt (if the latter you may want to add very finely chopped celery if you want that taste)
- pinch of pepper
- good shake of tabasco (if desired)
The trick to this is really to get the right tomato juice and salt level. I like mine salty and spicy. If you are very brave and hungover add a raw egg. Let me know if any of you try it out!! THE SECOND is a Sri Lankan breakfast dish, which is wonderful in both it’s simplicity and the wonders it can do for a hangover:
Coconut roti with lunu miris
A Delectable Pol Roti Recipe with Accompaniments:
Sri Lankan Warm Flat Roti Breads with Coconut Pol roti is a Sri Lankan dish which is normally served for breakfast with a chilli paste (lunu miris) or coconut sambol. This warm flat bread made with wheat or kurukkan flour and scraped coconut is a favourite amongst all ages in Sri Lanka. It is usually served with savoury spicy accompaniments (involving lots of chilli!) but can be eaten with butter and jam too. This pol (“coconut”) roti is usually thicker and harder than other roti types and can be made slightly crispy. In this recipe green chillis, onions and some curry leaves are added to give the pol roti even more taste. The ingredients you will need are:
- 400 g refined flour
- 1/2 coconut, scraped (you can buy this frozen from Asian food shops abroad)
- 6 small onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 green chillies, sliced
- 1 bunch curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon butter
Method: In a bowl mix scraped coconut, green chillies, onions, curry leaves and salt. Using your hand nicely mix in the ingredients till juices are released. Start adding the flour and bind the mixture. Add little water at a time and knead the dough. Knead till you get the normal roti dough consistency (thicker than pizza dough). Grease your palm with a little butter. (The idea behind greasing your palms is to avoid the batter from sticking to your palms). Divide the dough into 6-8 equal sized balls. Flatten on a floured board or plate using your palms. If more crispy crust is desired, roll using rolling pin. Cook on a heated heavy bottom pan (or a traditional Sri Lankan flat pan – tawa) until golden brown on both sides under medium heat. Remove from pan and serve hot with pol sambol or lunu miris (recipes below). Alternatively go for a sweet option and have the pol roti with butter and jam. I even have it with butter and cheese! Coconut Sambol or Pol Sambol as it is called in Sinhala is probably the most popular dish in the country. One of the easiest and cheapest to prepare, this dish is served from the humblest adobe by the roadside to the finest five star hotels in Sri Lanka. It is eaten in Sri Lanka as an accompaniment to rice and curry, for breakfast with pol roti or simply with bread. Ingredients:
- 2 cups freshly scraped coconut (about 1 coconut)
- 3-4 small red onions (shallots) or 2 red onions, very finely chopped
- 1 tbsp of chilli powder
- 1 tsp of chilli flakes
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
- Salt and pepper (I like plenty of salt)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped curry leaves (optional)
- 1 tbsp of maldive fish (optional) – I am not a fan but others are – try what you like.
Method: Grind the all the ingredients above except lime (or lemon) in a mortar and pestle (wangediya) – or just bang in a food processor ;-). Mix in the coconut, grind some more until the sambol has a red tint. Squeeze the lime juice, mix and adjust salt to taste. Serve straight-away. Very often pol roti is served with lunu miris. This is a very spicy paste made from chillies and onions. You can vary the amount of chilli according to your taste. Ingredients:
- 2 tbsp of chilli flakes
- 2 or 3 fresh red chillies (optional)
- Half a tsp of salt
- 1 or 2 red onions (very finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp ground maldive fish (optional) – again I leave this out but others swear by it.
- Juice of a half a lime or lemon (or more)
- Grind the all the ingredients above except lime (or lemon) in a mortar and pestle (wangediya). Again you may find the food processor does wonders.
- Squeeze in the lime juice, mix and serve when fresh.
What is Maldive Fish? Maldive fish are small dried sprat-like fish from the Maldives. They should be available in your local Maldivian, Indian or Sri Lankan shop. If maldive fish is not available you can try dried prawns or other dried fish. They have quite a strong taste and hence are optional in the above recipes.
Dried maldive fish
Where to Buy a Coconut Scraper The shop that you buy your coconuts from will probably be able to tell you where to find a coconut scraper. You can also order them from the internet. If you can’t find one try a serrated knife. OR buy frozen coconut pieces from a large supermarket. Good luck. I’ll write again soon. x