Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pan Fried Eggplant with Curry Powder

I'm sure all of you know by now that eggplant is my favorite vegetable. This is one of my favorite method of cooking eggplant. Its Jaffnese method i.e. northern Sri Lankan way of cooking eggplant. Typically I grew up eating this with Pittu for dinner. Pittu is made with red rice flour and steamed with grated coconut. It looks like couscous but in brown color. In North we also use Sri Lankan sesame oil to cook this dish. Sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor that gets infused to eggplants. Some may not like strong flavor of sesame oil in which case you can use canola or sunflower oil. I would say it is an acquired taste.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Butternut & Yellow Split Peas Soup

Its getting cooler by the day,  we had our first snow last weekend. This icy cold weather is making me crave for steaming hot soups or very spicy food. I have cooked pumpkin curry many times and its one of my favorite curry to have with rice. Making soups with pumpkin  is a relatively new experience. I have tried this soup few times and has been a hit in our small nest.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pomegranate and Walnuts Salad

Back then we would eagerly wait to go to our grandma's house, so that we could meet all our cousins and play endlessly. There was a big garden in front of the house with lots of flowers and fruit trees. I fondly remember eating these red pearls (pomegranate) with my cousins.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mushroom Biryani - Fragrant Basmati rice cooked with Indian Biryani spices & Button Mushrooms

When my friends visited here recently we had endless stories to share. Part of our conversation also involved about our new foodie experiments. We were together in Sri Lanka and eventually we all moved into different directions. One girl came from Australia and other from UK. Never in our dreams we thought we would have our re-union here, in the most beautifully landscaped but land locked country.
Ingredients for Mushroom Biryani

Friday, September 7, 2012

Seeni Sambol (Caramalised Onion with Ceylon Spices) & a Brief Note about Popular Sri Lankan food

 Seeni sambol, pol sambol, hoppers, string hoppers, kottu & chinese rolls are some of the popular Ceylon (Sri Lankan) food. Sri Lankan cuisine has many similarities with Kerala cuisine. We use lot of coconut milk, grated coconut and spices which are locally available ingredients. However even within Sri Lanka, there are minor differences among Jaffnese, Sinhalese, Muslims & hill country cuisine.

My origins are from Jaffna, we eat red parboiled rice and make string hoppers and pittu with red rice flour. Also we use tamarind and coconut milk to make tangy hot and sour curries. Sinhalese use lot of wheat flour to make their food and also white rice & red raw rice is popular. Hence you would find bread, different variety of  rotis (flat breads) and   ingredients like goraka (Gambooge), lemon grass being used to flavor curries. In Muslim cuisine you would find dates and influence of Malay cooking in their food. In hill country where tea plantations are, tea pluckers eat lot of rotis. Sri Lankan rotis are made with wheat flour and grated coconut.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bircher Muesli - Healthiest Breakfast Ever

Bread with butter, marmite and another slice with jam is what I used have for breakfast regularly. Its definitely not the most healthy way to start your day. When we moved here, we often came across this breakfast meal named Bircher Muesli. We were curious try it out, as it was a popular Swiss breakfast sold everywhere from cafes, bakeries, super markets to office canteens.

Bircher is the name of the Swiss physician who introduced this  in 1900s. It was introduced to his patients as a part of therapy which included diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. (Source Wikipedia) Its a mixture of uncooked rolled oats, fruits, nuts and yoghurt.

I tried it outside and felt it was a filling and delicious breakfast. Most importantly its the most healthiest way to start your day,  with nourishment's from rolled oats, yoghurt, fresh fruits and nuts. It has protein, essential vitamins, minerals and good fat from nuts. Yoghurt has more nutritional benefits compared to milk. At this point I can't think of a better breakfast than this in terms of its health benefits.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Roasted Vegetables Pasta

My relationship with baking is similar to meeting a good old friend after a long break. I have childhood memories of mom's baked goodies. She would bake buns, cookies and cakes. I still remember mom's lemon cake aroma gradually enveloping the whole house. We would just wait till the oven bell rings to grab and eat.

Few years later, I started baking and became an avid baker of eggless cakes. But when we started moving, we never wanted to incur additional expense to buy an oven. However here I got an inbuilt oven in the kitchen. Its only been 3 months since I started baking, but I already feel like I cannot cook without an oven.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Baingan Bharta (Roasted eggplant with Indian spices)

My love affair with this vegetable began more than two decades ago. It was introduced to me as "katharikai Poriyal" i.e. stir fried eggplant. Since then I'm in love with this vegetable and our affair continues with many new experimentations ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Markets around the World

As a foodie, I'm always excited to see markets in new countries. Be it a farmers market, a regular day market or even spice market. I'm intrigued by new vegetable or spices and I end up buying basket full of vegetables and fruits every time I visit these markets.
I recently got a chance to visit Mullhouse Market which is in eastern france and an hour away from Basel. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables from Alsace region there were also Moroccon and Chinese traders. I bought the best oranges, bundles of coriander and mint leaves from a Moroccon trader and some tapioca and papaya from a Chinese trader. I invite you to take a virtual tour of the Mullhouse market.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Guacamole- Avocado Dip

Finally after six long months, I'm happy to have my own space. I have my own utensils and a well stocked cupboard with spices and Sri Lankan ingredients. My kitchen smells so good :)

Today's recipe is a result of me trying to incorporate Omega 3 & 6 i.e. good fat into our diet. As vegetarians this is one of the nutrient we may be lacking. We all know fish is one the main source of good fat, which is good for our brain neurons function. Some vegan sources of good fats are olive oil, walnuts, almonds & avocado.

We used to have avocado (we call it as butter fruit) tree in Kandy, in our backyard. We usually blend it with sugar granules and milk powder, refrigerate and have it as dessert. I was surprised when I initially heard about having avocados for salads and sandwiches.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning to make Apple Tarte & Pear Tatin

Even though I have to wait for another few months, before I can cook and start shooting in my own kitchen space. I have been cooking, sharing and learning different types of food here. Something that I've bookmarked to try is 'Tarte'. I learnt to make tarte dough and to make both sweet and savory tarte's. Best part is if you don't have patience (like me) to make dough at home, you can buy tarte dough from store and add your preferred vegetable or fruit to make freshly baked delicious tartes.

Also I have plans to try baking Indian samosa's / Sri Lankan patties with store bought tarte dough. Stay tuned for more wonderful cooking experiments in near future.

Meanwhile I'll share this recipe to make tarte dough, which I learnt from a 'wonderful Swiss lady'. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cabbage Stir-Fry

Cabbage Stir-fry
You may have noticed that I have not been actively posting over the past few weeks. This is because we have moved to a new country(in the middle of Europe). I am still adjusting to my new surroundings and tied up with the post-move chores.  As a foodie this means tasting new food and experimenting. Unfortunately I still have not started taking photos in new place, as we are still in a temporary place with limited cooking space. But I'm eagerly waiting to capture and share all my new experiments with you all. God willing we hope to move into a permanent place soon.

This recipe is called varai in Tamil, is a Sri Lankan style stir fry. Similar dish is prepared in Kerala cuisine and is called "Thoran". It simply means stir fried vegetables mixed with shredded coconut, dry red chili and curry leaves. You may use mustard and orid dhal or bengal gram to add color and nutty flavor to this stir fry. (Imagine carrot stir fry, with dark green curry leaves, red chilis and yellow gram. Wow what a healthy treat to your eyes and body!) You can make similar stir-fry with all kinds of vegetables.  Some vegetables that I have used are leeks, grated beet root, grated carrot, square beans, long beans, green beans, green plantain, boiled potatoes, boiled tapioca. So that's why I say you can do this stir fry  with any vegetable of your choice. Also you can do this with any type of greens. One of my favorite greens ares kang kung cooked in this style. I serve it with rice.
Cabbage Stir-fry (known as Varai in Sri Lankan Tamil cuisine)

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