25 September, 2020

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Sri Lankan Dishes Answer Call For Inspiration

The other day, as I was thumbing through cookbooks looking for inspiration, I came upon a recipe for chicken with cashews, and not the bland Chinese-American version that was so popular for a while. Madhur Jaffrey, the prolific authority on Indian cooking, had a Sri Lankan version in her fascinating book, “From Curries to Kebabs,” published in 2003. In it, she describes the path beginning in India that took curries to the far reaches of the globe; to Indonesia, Africa and beyond. Her recipe, which I adapted and modified a fair bit, contained both cashews and coconut, along with a mixture of spices in a pungent creamy sauce. It sounded wonderful and made me want to travel.

DAVID TANIS writes for New York Times, read the full article here 

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    What is Sri Lankan cooking? As a Tamil boy I enjoyed puttu and idiappam with an omlette and chambal. The healthily cooked curries with little oil were no comparison with today’s curries. Coconut milk gave some taste. As far as I remember when I was at the university eating at Sinhalese homes cooking was not better with korakkai and Maldive fish in everything with little oil. To enjoy a meal we went from Moratuwa to Greenlands, Golden Dragon and Indo-Ceylon in Colombo. There were few other restaurants.

    Today, thanks to Globalization, we have 5-star hotels with Indian cooks serving “Sri Lankan Delicacies.” All the Mogul and Chinese dishes, plentifully garnished with Indian spices and ghee, and liberally using coconut milk are regularly cooked at home and our restaurants. Buriyani is Muslim or Indian. Even string-hopper buriyani is an adaptation of rice buriyani and Chinese noodles using Chinese ajinomoto.

    I think our passing off these dishes as Sri Lankan is part of our Sri Lankan cultural arrogance. The sooner we accept that we are international, the better off we would be in addressing out internal, parochial problems.

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