June 21, 2006

This time I got photos.

Kukul mas, breadfruit and kiribath

The reddy-brown stuff on the right is ”kukul mas.” That’s chicken curry to the rest of us. Like most Sri Lankan curries, it’s very hot. Roasted Sri Lankan curry powder gives it a dark colour and a distinctive flavour. I added  a little bit of paprika to bring out the red colouring.

I have talked about kiribath before. This time I tried to make it into diamond shaped blocks in the way it is traditionally served. The freshly cooked rice is made into a big rectangle like this.

mungatta kiribath

As it cools, the rice becomes more sticky and you can cut into shapes. You can see these in the top picture.

The yellow curry is bread fruit. This was one of my favourite things when I was growing up. Until last night, I hadn’t had it for years and I was delighted when my Dad brought me some. As far as I’m aware, you can only find bread fruit in cans in Britain with the skin removed and the white flesh chopped into small pieces and cooked. It has a wonderful texture and, when it is heated in a curry, the fruit almost disintegrates. This thickens the curry and makes a wonderfully soft and gooey accompaniment to kiribath.

There is already a recipe for kiribath here. Try it! It is very nice. Also recipes here for the chicken and the bread fruit.

June 20, 2006

Remember those fresh greens I was talking about a couple of weeks ago? I had a feeling they might make good crispy seaweed. I was right!

I made seaweed once before using recipe from a chinese cookery book. It suggested using the green bits of pak choi leaves. The result was good but, since you can’t really use the white fleshy bits of the leaves, you have to use a lot of pak choi. This makes the seaweed a bit expensive.

The fresh greens were much better in this respect. They are quite big and the leaf stalks are small. 1 fresh green will make enough seaweed to accompany two meals. Don’t use the yellow bits! They don’t look very good.


I had my seaweed as an accompaniment to a beef fillet I picked up on the way home. I intended to have it in a Thai dish. In the end, after finding some peanut butter my housemate was struggling to get through, I made an Indonesian-style peanut sauce for it. I cut the steak it into thin strips, marinated them in soy and spices and flash fried them for just a few seconds. I served the beef and seaweed with some noodles and the peanut sauce.  The crispy seaweed recipe is here and the beef with peanut sauce recipe is here.

May 28, 2006

I first had kangaroo steak a couple of years ago at Archipelago, near Russell Street. This is an excellent restaurant which has a very original menu. However I think I did badly with the kangaroo dish, it was a touch overspiced and so I didn’t get chance to taste the meat properly.

I tried it again a couple of months ago in a Walkabout pub. They do several kangaroo dishes. I opted for a salad and it was very good. Since then I’ve found places to buy this meat online. Osgrow and Alternative Meats both stock this as well as a wide variety of other exciting things. Gamston Wood who have a stall at Borough Market but, sadly, no website, sell Ostrich and Kangaroo  and I am informed they will be expanding their selection soon.

Kangaroo has a very similar flavour to venison and there isn’t a huge difference in price. Half a kilo of a good quality steak cost me about £11 - about the same as an off the bone venison haunch. I had been told it went well with berry sauces so after a bit of internet research and looking at the special offers in the local supermarkets, I came up with this recipe. The idea for the sweet potato came from The Amateur Gourmet. It doesn’t look like he’s put up a recipe so I’ve offered mine.

May 25, 2006

For some reason I’ve been craving Sri Lankan food recently. This is very weird as I thought my parents’ cooking had put me off it for life.

My parents see food as being purely functional.  Everything in the kitchen gets thrown in a pan and stir fried to death. Every vegetable in the fridge gets chopped up, thrown together with soya mince, quorn sausages (yes, they’re veggies) rice, chilli sauce, soy sauce, tomato sauce and lettuce and cooked until the sausages are solid and the lettuce is soggy. Once, for a dinner party, tandoori chicken got made with strawberry yoghurt because Mum thought it wouldn’t make it taste any different. And then there was the lamb chop that was left in the oven so long I thought it was pork.

However there were some things which I really miss. Mostly things I had on holiday in Sri Lanka. Kiribath is amazing stuff and a well made Sri Lankan fish curry never goes down badly. I’d like to find some breadfruit too.

So I thought I’d give it a go, and it worked. Very well in fact. I made..

Mungatta Kiribath: Kiribath is rice cooked in coconut milk and is traditionally served on New Year, birthdays and other special occasions. It has a risotto like texture, but is slightly more sticky. Its often pressed into a large square and cut into diamond shaped pieces. Mungatta means mung beans. These are sometimes added for a bit of extra texture and flavour.

Fish Curry: Sri Lankan curries are similar to South Indian curries in a lot of ways. There are subtle differences in the spicing. Often a LOT of chilli is used. Also the spices for the curry powder is roasted before being ground, giving the flavour of the curry more depth

I served these with some okra that I fried gently with curry powder and a touch of chilli powder. I would say that it was a big success. It certainly seemed to go down well with my housemates who tried it.