Sounds a bit lazy on the research doesn’t it; “Rice and Curry”. I need to clarify that I have actually done some considerable research into the dish this week. I have looked into Hoppers (breakfast pancakes), Lunu Miris (spices with onion) and various sweet dishes such as Wattalapan (steamed rice pudding) and snacks such as Maldivian Fish Crisps….but none really seemed to strike an obvious chord with me as they were either too simple to create or difficult to locate the ingredients (Maldivian fish!).
Instead I have turned my attention to what, according to various sources (Google), is the national dish – ‘Curry’. I realise this is incredibly ambiguous, but the more I looked into why, the more I understood the reason as to why it is unspecific. It is a national dish as every mother knows how to cook it, but every mother has a different recipe. This is her recipe…..and no one is finding out what it is! Most curries are white meat based, but they don’t have to be. Mine will be. What I have noticed, however, is that they tend to incorporate a little bit of fusion curry. Funky! The curry I will cook has Indian influences, but it also has South East Asian influences (Lemongrass). I have amalgamated 4 recipes and hope this will gve you a flavour Sri Lankan cooking.
At this point, I do feel I need to explain a little bit more about me. I am sport obsessed and I am food obsessed. This blog has grown from my food obsession, as my incessant playing and watching of anything with a ball has grown from my obsession with sport. Why is this particularly relevant now? Well, France vs Mexico is on tonight in The World Cup. My obsessions have literally clashed head on and now have become rivals. Could they work together? Well of course they could – if I was able to complete the food and enjoy it as I enjoy the sport, but time prevents this (I won’t be home from work until 6pm). Could I fit the food around the sport? Doubt I could. So – my solution is thus: I have invited around a man helper (to speed me up) and I have invited around a couple of my wife’s friends. The way I see this working is that my wife and her friends retire to the garden to talk nonsense and drink wine and I can therefore turn the volume right up on the match so that I can work in the kitchen and hear the commentary and then leap into action should anything exciting occur – all the while aiming to have everything ready to eat for the start of the second half. Will this work? Not a clue, but I’m certainly going to try and merge my obsessions into one super-obsession which dominates my evening whilst littering it with fun!
20:45. I feel I am going to be biased towards the dish I have just eaten, but I am going to go with it anyway (but keep my bias in mind). This dish has opened new doors for me. I cook, on average, one curry a week. I tend to vary Indian spices but rarely move into different cultures. I used to think it was pretty cool if I loaded a curry with tumeric or left out the cumin to change the flavour. I can now say I see things differently. Not only that, I also thought fusion food was largely the crap made by people who are less talented than chefs who were able to perfectly balance spices which are supposed to go with each other. With regard to this dish, I was wrong. I am wrong. This dish was stunning. The coriander started things freshly and then in came the lemongrass (I sound like a Masterchef judge). After the lemongrass came the garlic and the buttery moist chicken and then, just as the taste buds think things were over, they get hit by a deep spice. The only after taste was a strong desire for more. I loved it.
I’m not going to talk much more about this tonight as I don’t need to. I might just nip back into the kitchen and lick the bowl. Thank you Sri Lanka.
Recipe: (this cooks for about 6 people so scale to meet requirement)
3 TBSP Oil
6 Bruised Cardamom
1 TSP Garlic Chopped
1 TBSP Chopped Ginger
3 TSP Hot Chilli Powder
2 TSP Curry Powder (or use a mix of ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, cloves and tumeric to be authentic – which is what I did as I really should)
2 Chopped Red Chillis
2kg of Chicken Legs and Thighs
Salt to taste
2Cm Lemon Grass
Bunch Coriander chopped
2 TBSP Soy (dark)
200ml Coconut Milk
Oil in pan and add the cinnamon, cardamom, garlic, ginger, chopped chilli, chilli powder and curry powder mix. Cook for about 5 mins on a very low heat.
Add the chicken, onions and salt and mix really well until the chicken is covered in all the juices. Add about 200 ml of water and pop the lid on and leave for about 4 mins, stirring every now and again incase the chicken at the top is exposed.
Open the lid and add the lemongrass, coriander and soy. Cook for a further 15 mins.
Add the coconut milk and go again for 5 mins.
Serve with rice!