Sri Lankan flavours, 168pp.
by Channa Dassanayaka
Hardie Grant Books, Victoria, 2003
Cooking on pages 32–33
One of our best holidays ever was to Sri Lanka. That was in 1985 and I still remember the people, sights, smells and food we enjoyed over two glorious weeks.
This cookbook was one of the first to bring Sri Lanka recipes to western cooks, and I was keen to own this because it covers the food as well as the culture. The full-colour photographs highlight faces and scenery as well as the dishes.
Today’s page-32 recipe comes from the chapter on sambols, pickles and chutneys. Little bowls of these treats appear at every Sri Lankan meal to add another dimension of flavour.
1 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2/3 cup desiccated (shredded) coconut
1/4 cup sultanas
1 green chilli, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lime
Wash and drain mint leaves. Place in a food processor or mortar and pestle and grind with onion, garlic, coconut, sultanas and chilli. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice.
How it played out
Finally I know that a bunch of Australian mint is about a cup, tightly packed. I’d figured I’d need two bunches, but one was plenty. Now what to do with the second bunch?
But I followed everything else, using my food processor. Came together quickly and easily. Served with another page-32 recipe—lamb and sweetcorn curry—and will use the leftovers later this week with a roast leg of lamb.
This is a totally fabulous side dish/condiment for a curry or for simply eating a spoonful every time you go by the dish.
We all loved, loved, loved this served with a lamb and sweetcorn curry. And I’ve decided what I’m going to do with the second bunch of mint—make another batch. I reckon it will go well with any kind of curry, lots of fish dishes, stirred through pasta or sprinkled over sliced mango.
If you try it, let me know how you use it. And if you have a moment, pop over and check out my travel blog.