Easy no-fuss milk toffee with pumpkin and chocolate. A twist on traditional Sri Lankan milk toffee. A deacadent little treat for the holidays or any time of the year.
Watalappan- A classic Srilankan dessert ! This delicious and creamy coconut custard is made with only a handful of ingredients and resembles a creme caramel flan. Spiced with cardamom and pure, unrefined palm sugar it’s gluten free and dairy free.
Looking at this fish curry,evokes the memories back in the day . Specially tuna, it had to be my favorite fish. Because it resembled meat,sturdy and held it’s shape. I despised fish of all sorts except this. I hated the tiny long bones fearing that it would get stuck in my throat and the fish smell . I’ve always been a meat girl. Chicken was very rare those days, you get to eat it only on special occasions. It was always beef and fish on rotation.
After a long silence in my blog,here I am reviving it again. Come what may,I realized I couldn’t abandon my blog. I sincerely thank all my readers who messaged me,inspiring me to keep the blog alive. Also a shout out to my husband who designed this lovely header. Felt like coming back to a newly decorated, good old home filled with memories. A lot happened during the past year,and I thank the Almighty for giving me courage and keeping me going.
It’s the blessed month of Ramadan. A month of fasting,not feasting. This year,Alhamdulillah,I made a resolution to keep our meals to a bare minimum. Not that we had extravagant meals all these years,but the focus was always been on food rather than more on worship. It’s always been what to cook for Iftar(Breaking fast),what to make for Suhoor(Early Morning meal),how many iftars do I have to organize and so on and so forth. But starting my higher studies on Islam, getting myself bombarded(in a good way) with all the updates about the true essence of Ramadan by the social media and various groups that I’m part of, helped me realize the true spirit of this blessed month.
Now in Srilanka, the staple Iftar meal is the Conjee or the rice porridge.
It’s not that time of the year to post about love cakes. Not that I celebrate Valentines Day,anyways. But it was my birthday last month.I stepped into my thirties leaving my twenties behind. A decade filled with life changing experiences and so many lessons. Though,there was the slightest twinge of sadness,I was prepared to embrace this new chapter in life,with a piece of cake. Not just any cake,but the Love Cake.
|Motherly love..A family of elephants in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage|
|A tusker having his lunch..At Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage|
|Well behaved elephants coming to their sanctuary after a bath in the river|
|A squirrel nibbling his snack..in the hill country,Gampola|
|A view from the backyard in my husband’s paternal house,Gampola|
|Sleeping Buddha statue in a temple in Gampola,the largest of it’s kind in South Asia|
|It was the Rambutan season,stalls full of Rambutan adorn the sides of the road|
|See how luscious the stall looks…I miss Rambutan|
|Mangosteens waiting for someone to grab…|
|The white flesh of the Mangosteen….the fruit leaves dark red stains on your fingers|
|The winding roads leading to the hill country|
|A lone boat in Kotmale Reservoir|
|My personal favorite…….|
|Puppets on a roadside stall|
The delicious red rice is a staple in my country.This long grain beauty clothed in a red husk is minimally processed and has a high nutritional value.When cooked it imparts a deep rich color which is an absolute beauty.I have tried cooking brown rice and every time it fails to satisfy me.Even if I soak it for hours and hours and add bucketfuls of water or stock it never gets done properly but the red rice cooks fast and has a nutty flavor(yeah,when I mean cooked,it’s fully cooked and not make you feel you’re tasting soaked rice after simmering for half an hour as in the case of brown rice.) .
I’ve been away from my blog for sometime,It felt like a long silence.I was desperate to post,to get things out in the open,first Ramadan, then this excitement kept me busy.I was super excited..yeah..super excited.My little ones started schooling.
It seems like yesterday when I held my babies in my arms,having no clue as to what to do or how to take care.I braved myself for the task taking each day in with my Dearest DH next to me.It’s been forty months since then and now my little boys donned in uniforms,are off to school.Just can’t believe we made this far.
They’ve been to nursery before but this is the first step to the real world..An episode of life which I’m sure we all miss…More than them I love going to the school.It brings back all those lovely memories..chatting away with friends without a care in the world,delicious food being shared..Wish I could go back in time…
I wanted to celebrate with a post but taking the pictures and writing it up took time with the boys meddling around.Here I bring one of SriLanka’s favorite desserts and one we Muslims are famed for making..
Friends and colleagues flock around you,when you get back to school or work after the Eid holidays eagerly awaiting to taste this mouthwatering and healthy(Did I say healthy..? It doesn’t have sugar) dessert…
I love the look on their faces when I present them with a big bowl of Watalappan,like a bunch of small kids who’ve been given a bag full of candies.
If there’s one thing that’s staple in our Iftar menu,that has to be the Conjee,the warm and comforting rice porridge that will fill your belly and delight you after those long hours of fasting.I have to have at least a couple of spoonfuls or else I feel as if I haven’t had anything at all.
Back at home we have it all year around,specially for breakfast,made with red rice or herbs.An easy one pot meal that keeps you fully satisfied.And in Ramadan,it’s made in all the Muslim households for Iftar,mostly with some kind of meat and veggies.I still remember taking the warm conjee made by mom and aunt,to neighbors as it is a sign of good gesture.And we would taste the different varieties of Conjee and snacks received from our neighbors and relatives.All this porridge talk conjures up vivid memories of past that makes me want to live them again….hmmmm.I still make it here on weekends,specially on friday mornings and my DH and sons love it..
Conjee,aka rice porridge,aka jook is a staple in most rice based cultures specially in China,Malaysia,HongKong,SriLanka to name a few.Wikipedia has more info on this here.It’s one of the first weaning foods given to a baby.Even though it’s made with water or stock in other cuisines,back at home we add coconut milk for grownups.
Unfortunately ,I couldn’t find the white raw rice we use, here in Dubai.But luckily I found another alternative,which is Bulgur Wheat,easy and cooks in much less time than the rice cause it’s already parboiled and broken.
And now this is what I make everyday..till the end of Ramadan..Do I get bored eating the samething everyday? No,I use different meats and sometimes only fried onions.
* You can spoon out the curry leaves,ginger and whole spices before serving.You sure don’t want to bite into a cardomom or clove!
Having said that,in this holy month there are always Iftar get together’s to look forward to.Back at home,a quite popular Iftar dinner menu is string hoppers made with either wheat flour or rice flour cause it makes a light dinner.Making it from scratch looked quite labourous to me,but the elders enjoyed it and it was team work.How I miss those days!
Surprisingly,this is one of my favourite dishes since childhood when I despised all sorts of greens on my food.Maybe it’s the subtle flavour of Maldive fish combined with red chillies that tantalized my taste buds or the distinct slippery texture and flavour of the leaf or the childhood memories it brings..Whatever that is,it still remains one of my favourits.
Though it’s hard to find the fresh large Kankun leaves here in Dubai,I received two bunches of rather small leaves and I put it to use immediately.