Global Eatery – Sri Lanka

Thrifty Travel Mama | Global Eatery - Sri LankaLiving in Germany has stretched me in many ways, but perhaps most unexpectedly in the kitchen.  I cooked a fair amount of dishes from scratch when we were in the US, but here?  It happens daily.  Bored with the minimalist grocery store offerings and my paltry handful of recipes, I’ve had no choice but to step off and try loads of new recipes.

As a result, my boys have grown to like all sorts of different of foods (thank God, they might just escape the prison known as a picky palate).  In any given week, our menu hails from multiple regions of the globe.  Sure, we still eat baked chicken strips with fries once in a while, but my boys also love polenta, risotto, dal, and jap chae too.

Experimenting with different ingredients and cuisines has become a source of happiness for me.  So when the opportunity to take a Sri Lankan cooking course came along, I signed up immediately.  Along with pictures of the food we prepared during the class, I have the permission of the teacher to share my favorite recipe with you.  Yay!

I must say that before this class, I probably never would have sought out (let alone attempted) to make anything from Sri Lanka.  But everything was easy enough to replicate at home, and delicious enough to be worth the effort.

Give the recipes below a try.  The ingredients can be found at Asian or Middle Eastern grocery stores, and they don’t require any fancy schmancy cooking skills.

First, a look at the class…

A sweet apertif with citrus welcomes everyone to the class.

A sweet apertif with citrus welcomes everyone to the class.  I probably would have been satisfied with liquid dirt if it had ICE in it!  So refreshing, and not at all the norm here.

As we all arrive and get acquainted, we munch on these delicious fried papadums.

As we all arrive and get acquainted, we munch on these delicious fried papadums with mango chutney.  I was quite impressed with the Sri Lankan version of chips & salsa.

It's time to get real with ingredients.  Thankfully, other than these particular chiles, there wasn't anything on the table I hadn't seen before.

It’s time to get real with ingredients. Thankfully, other than these particular chiles, there wasn’t anything on the table I hadn’t seen or heard of before.

Enough chatting - time to get to work!  We all chopped 'til we dropped: potatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, bell peppers, pineapple, chicken...

Enough chatting – time to get to work! We all chopped ’til we dropped: potatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, bell peppers, pineapple, chicken…

Working in pairs or small groups, we took turns cooking the dishes.

Working in pairs or small groups, we took turns cooking the dishes.

This chicken curry with its bell peppers and onions reminded me of fajitas - but obviously with a different flavor.

This chicken curry with its bell peppers and onions reminded me of fajitas – but obviously the flavors were completely different.  This dish is definitely the most kid-friendly of them all.

Our teacher, Chandani, set a beautiful dinner table.

Our teacher, Chandani, set a beautiful dinner table.  The best part of a cooking class is getting to EAT, right?

When everything was finally ready, we all eagerly heaped our plates with the fragrant food.

When everything was finally ready, we all eagerly heaped the fragrant food on our plates.

I was quite surprised to learn that the green bean curry was my favorite.

I was quite surprised to learn that the green bean curry was my favorite.

The potatoes were flavored with FIRE!  I'll be toning down the crushed red pepper before I make this for the boys.

The potatoes set my mouth on FIRE! I’ll be toning down the crushed red pepper before I make this for the boys.

This chicken curry was delicious and completely unlike any other chicken curry I have tried.

The chicken curry again, this time all dressed up with scallions.

When we couldn't look at another grain of rice, we headed back to the kitchen to make dessert.

When we couldn’t possible stomach even one more grain of rice, we headed back to the kitchen to make dessert.  Here is the coconut filling and a few completed crepes.

No Sri Lankan meal would be complete without a perfectly brewed cup of Ceylon tea.

No Sri Lankan meal would be complete without a perfectly brewed cup of Ceylon tea.  No, we didn’t add any garlic to it…

A delicious dessert of coconut crepes ended our lovely evening.

This simply elegant dessert of coconut crepes and Ceylon tea ended the evening.

Want to try your hand at Sri Lankan cuisine?  Here’s the recipe for a very delicious green bean curry!

Green Bean Curry
Serves 3-5

Ingredients:

  • 250g Green Beans
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • About 1 inch piece pandan leaf (rampa) (optional)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil

Preparation:

Wash and slice green beans with diagonal cuts into 1” or 1 ½” pieces.  Wash curry leaves & pandan leaf and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and once hot, add mustard seeds.  When mustard seeds start to pop, add crushed red pepper, onion, curry leaves & pandan leaf.

Sauté for few minutes until onions are tender and become fragrant.  Then add green beans & mix well. Add all the other spices. Mix all together, cover with a lid, allow to cook over medium heat. Check the mixture from time to time, and add some water if needed.

Once the beans are fully cooked, add thick coconut milk.  Stir well.

Add salt to taste. Simmer for a minute or two more, and remove from the heat.

Enjoy!

Have you ever cooked or eaten food from Sri Lanka before?  If you try this recipe, please leave a comment – I’d love to hear how you liked the food!Signature-Marigold

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