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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!

 

Red onions – a colour and crunch combination with a mighty punch

 

Red onions have this lovely   red to purple paper skin on the outside. Inside, their sweet, crisp white flesh is edged with a red to purple color.

I use this versatile vegetable in a variety of dishes and would love to share some ideas with you.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Red Onion in a Red Grape Vinegar

1 onion

½ tsp pink Himalaya salt

Enough red grape vinegar to cover the onion

10 Curry leaves (optional)

1 tsp pink peppercorns

Slice the onion, sprinkle salt on it, add curry leaves and peppercorns. Cover with Red Grape Vinegar.

Leave it for ten minutes.

The onions will become a lovely pink color.

Kept in a sealed container these onions will last for a week refrigerated


Serving suggestion

Serve it on oven roasted vegetables, to give the dish just that extra bit of texture and taste.  It also works well with meat and gives a plain sandwich a crunchy bite.

 

   

Red Onion Pickles in Vinegar and Sugar

A recipe inspired by one of my favourite culinary inspirations, Nina Timm, who developed the basic recipe, I just added a little bit of this and that to give it a different touch.

½ cup of Vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

½ tsp of fennel Seeds

1 thumb ginger

½ tsp green peppercorns

Salt to taste

1 large red onion

1 clove garlic (optional)

1 green chilli (optional)

Slice the onion and ginger into thin slices or thin half slices.

Prepare a pickling jar, add the raw onions and ginger into the jar up to the brim.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, fennel seeds, ginger, peppercorns and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.

Once the sugar melted and the syrup is infused with all the spices, pour it onto the raw onions and ginger in the pickling jar.

Seal the jar and leave for a few hours to pickle.

Keep refrigerated.  Will last up to a month.

Serving  suggestion

The fennel seeds give the onions a hint of liquorice taste, which combines well with the sweet and sour taste of the onions and ginger.  This is the perfect addidtion to a salad, or roasted vegetables, as well as meat dishes, and off course our staple, sandwiches and on smorgasbords with cheeses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deep fried red onion recipe  

2 Red onions

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Vegetable oil enough to deep fry

Smoked coarse salt (you can use plain coarse salt)

In a medium size pot heat the vegetable oil and add the turmeric.  Cut the onions into paper thin slices while the oil is heating.

Fry the onions in the turmeric oil until golden brown.  Remove from oil, put onions in a colander and drain most of the oil. The onions will be soft when you remove them from the oil but will become crispy when starting to cool down.  Add the smokey salt to the onions.

Useful tip

You can keep these onions up to two days in an airtight container and it will stay crispy.

Serving suggestions

Add onto salads, crunchy with couscous, tasty treat with meat and great on mash potatoes to name a few.