Thursday, August 29, 2013

daal in the lanka

Every time I attempt to make this incredibly simple and fragrant Sri Lankan dish, I make it ever so slightly differently. Not because I'm in the pursuit of fancy, it just happens like that. Every time Nalaka makes it, it's exactly the same, which is brilliant. Sometimes I put ground chilli in, sometimes green and red chillies. Occasionally some crispy fried garlic shavings, maybe some mint and coriander too. Great with rice, great as a replacement to rice, great on its own, better the way he does it.

Daal, the way Nalaka makes it, I think

Serves 2

200g yellow split peas
1 small onion
6 garlic cloves
2 small, hot green chillies
2 tsp cinnamon bits
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp curry powder
salt and black pepper
12 curry leaves
1 rampa leaf (pandan)
200ml thin coconut milk
200ml thick coconut milk
Rinse the split peas in cold water. Peel and finely slice the onion. Peel and cut the garlic in half, chop the chillies into little strips.

Put the peas, onion, chilli, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, curry powder, leaves, salt and black pepper in with the peas and cover with the thin coconut milk. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid then simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pulses are softening.
To finish, add the thicker coconut milk and bring back to a faster simmer with the lid off, cooking until all the milk has absorbed.
You can always peel and finely slice more garlic, cook till golden and lightly crisp in a shallow pan with oil, then stir into the daal with a handful of chopped coriander leaves. Nalaka doesn't, so there we have it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

kottu roti, or is it kothu, or koththu?

There's this quite particular Sri Lankan roti called Godhamba roti and it's this all chopped up and griddled off on a flat top with vegetables, egg, plenty spices and the option of bony meat or not that has to be the thing of the moment this week.
Found in roadside glass fronted shops the island wide, and something that really only kicks in after about 5.30 in the evening, it really is the simplest things that give the most pleasure.
The clanging of metal choppers against each other on the heated plate each evening as the kottu are being chopped and heated together is quickly becoming the dinner gong of the moment. Love it here.