Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Srilankan cooking is one of the most delicious cuisines. There are mainly the Jaffna Tamil cuisine & Sinhalese cuisine. Both cuisines are unique in their own way.
The cooking methods & ingredients have a lot of influence from the Dutch, British & Kerala. As a major spice producing country the spices play a vital role in Srilankan cooking. Srilankans mostly follow a 4 meal pattern. Our breakfast begins at 7:30 am & by 8:30 our breakfast table is cleared. We usually have Idappam, puttu, sandwich or upma for breakfast followed by a banana or a slice of papaya. Often mom makes uluthankali with gingelly oil & jaggery. On Sundays most houses they make aappam (hoppers). During mango season we have 3 mangoes a day after each meal. Whenever jack fruits are in season it will replace the other fruits. Apart from these fruits we have custard apple & pineapples throughout the year. Our pineapples are so delicious & huge in size. There are a number of Sinhalese dishes made out of pineapple. I love the “Acharu” made by them. It used to be our daily snack while going back home from school. Spiciness, sweetness & sourness it has all. Our lunch time begins at 12 noon & closed by 1 pm. The staple diet of Srilanka is steamed rice which is normally served with fish, chicken or any other meat gravy, a salad, two to three vegetables & fish or chicken fry, rasam or sodhi (coconut milk gravy). We usually have curd as a dessert after meals with honey or sugar.
When I came here in 1969 I was wondering how it is possible to have rice with sambar, a rasam & one vegetable. Later though I got used to it still I make 2 curries at least or a curry & a salad. Evening tea time is 4 pm with a snack for sure. Srilanka is very famous for its well known bakeries. At around 3:30 pm many bakeries send their salesmen in tricycle with many sweet & savoury baked goodies. They bring lovely chicken buns, fish buns, fish sandwich cakes, hot breads & sweet buns. Bakers of those days never used any chemicals to preserve their cakes & breads. No bread improvers used & the freshly baked breads aroma used to be so tempting. The evening snack may be 2 slices of bread with butter & jam, a fish bun or a sweet bun. Many a time mom made cakes & kept for our snack. At times she made vadas.
Jaffna Tamil people used to make a snack with ripened Palmyra fruit (panaga paniaram). It can be kept for few days & had. We finish our evening meal with a cup of tea. Exactly at 8 pm we can sit at the dinning for our dinner. Our dinner menu used to be mainly idiappam & puttu. We never get fed up with idiappam & puttu. No oil no tempering & both are healthy steamed foods. Idiappam is usually had with egg sodhi & sambal. Puttu is had with sambal & vendhaya kuzhambu. Mostly we have puttu with fruits especially the mupazham (banana, mango & jack fruit). All the three fruits go very well with puttu & still I love that combination.
On the whole every cuisine all over the world concerns about a balanced diet & Srilankan food is a good one among them. I still follow at least 50% of Srilankan food habits. I take this opportunity to give my followers a few delicious Srilankan dishes every now & then. Feel free to ask any queries. Try them out & enjoy.