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Spicy, coconut inspiration from Sri Lanka

I found the spices and coconut that the Sri Lankan’s use in their curries such an inspiration, what an explosion of flavours and oriental smells!  Trust me this Sri Lankan Fish Curry recipe is one you would love, just as I did the first time I tasted it.

If you are keen to try a vegan version of it, just replace the fish with butternet or aubergine.

 

You will need:

3 tbs Coconut oil, or Ghee (Clarified butter), or Olive oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 sprigs Curry leaves

3 to 4 Cloves

6 to 8 Black peppercorns

1 stick cinnamon

In a pan, heat the oil then add the mustard seeds, once the mustard seeds start to pop add the cumin, fenugreek, curry leaves, cloves, peppercorn and the cinnamon stick.  Fry everything together for 1 minute.

Then add and fry: (Add a tbsp of extra oil if needed)

1 cup red onion

4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tsp red chili flakes (if you can find the Sri Lankan ones use them they are the best)

1 cup tomato

2 tbs grated coconut (optional)

Dry roast:

½ tsp cumin powder

½ tsp chili powder

2 tsp coriander powder

½ turmeric powder

In a dry hot pan add these spices and roast for 30 seconds then add it into the onion mixture.

2 tsp tamarind paste

Dilute the tamarind paste in 2 tbsp of water

(Tamarind is a sticky, sour tasting fruit that grows in large brown pods on the tamarind tree, a common fruit tree in Asia and Mexico.)

1 cup coconut milk

Now add the diluted tamarind paste and the coconut milk to the fried onions and garlic etc.  Bring  to the boil.

800 gr hake or hamour fish cut into blocks.

And finally, add the fish to the coconut milk mixture and cook for about 5 minutes.  Make sure not to overcook the fish, it can easily become dry.

To serve, you can use Sri Lankan Hopper (pancake) or with milk rice.

Milk rice is 1½ cups rice cooked in 2 ½ cups water until cooked and then add 1½ cups coconut milk and salt to taste.  Cook for another 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Pour rice out into a 4 inch square bowl and let it cool down.  Cut into blocks and serve with the fish.

 

I tried the the hopper.  It is actually a breakfast thing in Sri Lanka, but I served my fish curry in the pancake basket and it was quite popular among my friends.

 

 

If you are as lucky as I am, you can buy the readymade dough in our local supermarket, Lulu Supermarket

People from India call it Appam and the Sri Lankans call it Hopper.

If you would like to make the hoppers click here for the recipe.

 

This is such an easy dish to prepare and will really tickle your taste buds.  A great way to entertain your friends the Sri Lankan way.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much I loved to make it and eat it!

 

A trio of coconut, chilli and chicken

During our recent visit to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, I fell in love with coconuts and coconut products all over again.  Coconuts are widely used in the Sri Lankan diet and forms the main source of dietary fat.

The coconut tree does not just bring a lot of value to Sri Lanka but also forms part of the beautiful landscape.  Many different coconut options and products are available from street vendors, vegetable markets food stores located on just about every corner; these include coconuts in the shell, coconuts out of the shell, grated coconuts, coconut water, coconut cream, coconut oil, and the list goes on!

 

 

 

I loved the sambals made from coconut and the Sri Lankan curries are to die for, so this is my take on the Sri Lankan Coconut sambal and Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs.

 

Coconut Sambal – so easy to prepare and very tasty

You will need…

  • 100 g grated Coconut (Fresh if available otherwise you can use Coconut flakes)
  • Chili powder to taste.
  • ½ teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Red Chili sliced
  • ½ of the juice of a Lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of Tamarind juice (if you cannot find Tamarind juice just add the other half of the lemon)
  • ¼ teaspoon of Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Lemon zest
  • 1 small red Onion (Finely diced)

Method

In a blender mix everything together to a course consistency.

Chill and serve with your Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs

To make these kebabs, you will need the following…

  • 1 large Sweet Potato cut into bite size cubes and boiled for 5 minutes. (The orange varieties add great colour.)  Sweet potato can be replaced with pineapple or small onions
  • 1 kg Chicken cubes.  (I used deboned thighs)
  • 3 tablespoons of Coconut oil
  • 1 thumb of grated Ginger
  • 1 Clove of Garlic chopped
  • 1 small Red Onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of Chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 thumb of fresh Turmeric (optional) chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of Curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of Curry powder (Garam masala)
  • 1tablespoon of brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 tin of Coconut milk

 

STEP 1:  The marinade 

In a saucepan heat the 2 tablespoons of Coconut oil over a slow heat.

Add the Mustard seeds and wait until they start to pop, now add the Curry leaves, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, Chili flakes, Ginger, Onion and Garlic.  Fry all the ingredients together and then add the Sugar, the Salt and the Coconut milk. Let the dish simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  Allow the marinade sauce to cool to room temperature.

STEP 2 :  Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs

Place the Chicken and Sweet Potato cubes into a large bowl, mix lightly and then add your marinade sauce. Mix the marinade sauce through the cubes. Leave the Chicken and Sweet Potato cubes to marinade for an hour.  Alternating the Chicken and Sweet Potato cubes skewer the cubes.

The Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs can be shallow fried in a saucepan using Coconut oil until cooked evenly or barbequed on a grill until golden brown and delicious.

The sweet taste of the Coconut, the spiciness of the Chili and authenticity of the Curry brings the whole world of Sri Lanka to your taste buds.  A burst of utmost pleasure.