Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets with coriander

If you don’t have curry leaves, you can use fresh coriander in Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets.  The other day, I  I made the fish cakes with coriander, instead of curry leaves, and lemon instead of lime juice. I also add about a tbsp of desiccated coconut. It worked great!

Sri Lankan fish cutlets

Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets (the recipe)

Here is the recipe for Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets that I promised earlier.

I love these delicious fish cakes, or fish cutlets. This is the best way to use the humble tinned tuna, I promise! Serve them as snacks, or perhaps in sandwiches. I had them with thin slices of raw red onion, and it worked just great, though I must admit I usually really don’t like raw onion.

UPDATE 22 May 2010: I made the fish cakes with coriander, instead of curry leaves, and lemon instead of lime juice. I also add about a tbsp of dessicated coconut. It worked great!

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Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets

 

SOURCE:  Jasmine

PREPARATION TIME: about 15 min

COOKING TIME: 30 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 (makes about 14 – 15 6 cm wide fishcakes) 

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium potatoes, cubed

2 tins of tuna

½ medium red onion, chopped finely

2 – 3 green chillies, chopped finely, deseeded if you wish

A few springs of curry leaves, shredded (I used 4, but I like curry leaves a lot)

½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground (or coarsely ground cumin and black pepper mixture)

½ tsp or more Sri Lankan chili powder

2 tbsp breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating

Lime juice to taste (start with ½ lime, and add more if you want)

Salt

2 medium eggs, beaten (or one large, with a little bit of water stirred in)

Oil for deep frying

  

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METHOD:

1.      Boil the potatoes until soft. When they’re done, drain the potatoes and leave to cool in the sieve. You want the water from the potatoes to evaporate, so do leave them for long enough.

2.      In the meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients except for the salt and lime juice, and mix them in a bowl. When the potatoes have cooled down, mash them and add to the mixture in the bowl. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.

3.      Time to shape the cutlets! Take about a golf-ball sized amount of mixture and roll it into a ball. Next, flatten the ball, dip into the egg, and then into bread crumbs. Do all the cutlets in this way.

4.      Pour oil into a deep pan, or a wok (which is what I used, and what Jasmine uses), and put on medium high. You’ll need enough oil for deep frying, a few centimeters, I’d say. The oil is hot enough when it sizzles when you insert a wooden spoon inside.

5.      Fry the cutlets for a few min on each side, until they’re heated through and the coating is cooked. Enjoy!

 

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More Sri Lankan Food at Maninas:

 The aroma of curry leaves: Sri Lankan cooking (Introduction)

Sri Lankan spices (including recipes for Sri Lankan garam masala, curry powder and more!)

Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and leek with coconut (V)

Sri Lankan coconut dhal (V)

Sri Lankan Pineapple Curry (V)

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      This is my entry for this week’s WHB, hosted by Susan from

      The Well-Seasoned Cook.

For the winter blues: Sri Lankan coconut dhal

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Hello! How are you, how’s the world at your end? Here in the UK, we’re cocooned in layers of snow of varying thickness, depending on where you are. When I was coming home tonight, around 6.30 pm, I felt this thick layer of snow under my feet is starting to freeze. I wonder what we’ll wake up to tomorrow. As idyllic as it all looks, us Mediterranean types are not faring to well in these conditions. All I want to do is hibernate until the sun shines back on us again. But though I refuse to believe it, the life goes on. There are jobs to do, people to see, dinners to cook… Yes… Dinners… Here’s what kept me awake and re-energised me this evening. Remember that delicious Sri Lankan dhal I was telling you about earlier? Here’s the recipe. Without the photos for now, until my camera awakes from its winter sleep. (I meant to take photos this evening, but my camera failed me.)

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This dhal is a serious contender for the title of my favourite dhal, so far held by the seductive Bengali Red Dal. It has a rich gutsy flavour of red lentils cooked with onion, garlic, chillies, and cumin and black pepper, imbued with the heady aroma of curry leaves, and with a squeeze of lime to heighten your senses. I normally prefer to eat my dhal on the same day I make it, but this one I find improves with time. That is if you can stay away from it and leave some for tomorrow. I’m proud to day that this time I managed to do just that. Not even I can eat this much dhal at one sitting!

Let not the long list of ingredients intimidate you. This dhal is really very easy to make, and you can leave it to look after itself while you’re doing something else. Like making Sri Lankan coconut rotis, for example. Yes, that’s a good thing to do. (Recipe coming soon.) 

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Sri Lankan coconut dhal

 

SOURCEJasmine’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: under 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 45 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of red lentils

1/4 red (medium to large) onions, or 2 shallots

2 large cloves of garlic, sliced

3 green chillies, roughly chopped

a handful of fresh curry leaves, shredded

1/3 tsp turmeric

2/3 tsp roughly ground cumin and black pepper mixture

1 scant tsp of fenugreek seeds

1/5 – 1/4 can of coconut milk

Juice of 1/2 lime, or more to taste

3 – 4 dried red chillies

salt to taste

a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves

1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee

1 tbsp tempering spices (mixture of brown/black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – see Sri Lankan spices for recipe)

1 1/2 tbsp fried onions (or 3 – 4 shallots, shredded and then fried as below)

 

METHOD:

Place the lentils in about 2 – 3 cups of water. Then chop the chillies, onions, garlic, shred the curry leaves and add them to the lentils, together with turmeric, fenugreek and the cumin and black pepper mixture. Boil together until the lentils turn soft.

When the lentils are soft, add the coconut milk and stir through.

Before you’re ready to eat, prepare the tadka or tempering for the dhal. I usually don’t have fried onions at hand, so this is what I do. I heat the oil and then add the chillies and the curry leaves to it. when the curry leaves are starting to turn crisp, I pop in the onions/shallots, and cook them until they’re almost copper brown. Then add a few more curry leaves (if you want, which I invariably do), and the tempering spices. Stir for 10 s or until they release their fragrance. Now pop the contents of the pan into the lentil mixture, reserving perhaps some for the garnish. Stir, put the lid back on, and leave it for a minute or two for the flavours to mingle and make friends.

Don’t forget the lime. I sometimes add it before adding the tadka to the lentils, and sometimes after the tadka. Either way, don’t leave it out. It really does make all the difference.

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More dhals from this blog:

Bengali Red Dhal

Minty dhal (2 versions of  recipe)

 

Also:

More recipes with beans and lentils

More Sri Lankan recipes

 

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We’re at the 8th helping of My Legume Love Affair hosted and organised by the talented Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This is my entry for the event.  

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Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and leek with coconut

This gorgeous Sri Lankan vegetable side dish is the dish that made me love both leek and cabbage! It magically transforms the everyday common leek and cabbage a real star of a dish. The vegetables are gently stir-fried with onion, chilies and curry leaves, tossed with fresh or desiccated grated coconut, and livened up with a squeeze of lime. Quick to make and utterly delicious! I love it!

Any green veg can be used in this dish (e.g. spring onion, baby leek, other types of cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower), except for spinach and pak choi and other vegetables with high water content. This dish goes really well with fish, or with coconut dal (recipe coming soon) for a vegetarian version.

Even if you can’t find curry leaves, it’s worth giving this dish a go as the flavour combinations are so good. Enjoy!

This my entry for the Eating with the Seasons: January

 

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Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and

leek with coconut

 

SOURCEJasmine’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: 10 – 15 min

COOKING TIME: 5 – 10 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish

 

INGREDIENTS:

a little vegetable oil

1/2 medium to large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 – 3 green chilies (Jasmine uses finger chilies)

a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves

a little salt

1 tsp tempering spices (a mixture of brown/black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – see Sri Lankan spices for recipe)

a pinch of turmeric

2 medium leeks, shredded finely

a handful of desiccated  coconut

fresh lime juice to taste

1/2 medium cabbage, shredded finely

 

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a wok (or frying pan) and add onion, chilies curry leaves and a little salt. Stir and cook until the onion is soft.
  • Now add the tempering spices and turmeric. Stir.
  • Add cabbage and leek and stir for a few minutes, until the cabbage is slightly soft but still crunchy. Do not overcook the vegetables! That’s the secret behind this dish.
  • When the veg is done, add desiccated coconut and stir for a minute or so.
  • Just before serving, add lime juice and some salt if needed. Enjoy!

 

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My other posts on Sri Lankan cooking:

The aroma of curry leaves. Sri Lankan cooking (Introduction)

Sri Lankan spices (including recipes for Sri Lankan garam masala, curry powder and more!)

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Sri Lankan Spices

Before I tell you about the Sri Lankan spices (or rather spice mixtures), let me remind you about this month’s Eating with the Seasons event that’s hosted here at Maninas. This month, we are celebrating the seasonal ingredients for January, so hurry up and send me your entries on or before 15 January! As always, I look forward to your seasonal tips and recipes!

 

Anyhow, back to Sri Lankan spices! In my introductory post on this beautiful and aromatic cuisine , I mentioned spice mixtures that are characteristic for Jasmine’s Sri Lankan cooking: Sri Lankan garam masala, Sri Lankan curry powder, etc. What I didn’t tell you then that Jasmine packed me home with a little treasure: stacks of her spices and recipes for how to make them! In addition to the curry powder and the garam masala, I’ve also got a recipe for her tempering spices and rasam powder. Enjoy!

 

Sri Lankan Garam Masala

Sri Lankan garam masala is very different from what I know as Indian garam masalas (For a wealth of regional Indian recipes, check out Vegeyum’s beautiful and informative post). The most important difference is that the spices not roasted; cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are simply ground together raw, and the flavours of cloves and cardamom are dominant. The masala is used in certain meat and vegetable curries, and the recipe is simple:

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp green cardamom pods

1 tbsp cloves

2 cinnamon sticks, about 7 cm in length each

METHOD:

Simply grind all the ingredients together.

NOTE: Proportion of the ingredients can vary. The flavours of cardamom and cloves are dominant, but to what extent? Play around and find your own winning combination!

At first, I found the flavour of raw cloves a little challenging, but I soon got over it, and got used to it. In fact, I started loving it, and craving it!

 

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

Sri Lankan curry powder is roasted, and not ‘raw’: the spices are roasted and then ground, which gives them a seductive nutty flavour. The curry powder is often added to the dishes at the final stages of cooking, to finish off the flavours. There are numerous versions of the recipe, and it’s usually homemade. This is Jasmine’s:

INGREDIENTS:

200 g fennel seeds

100 g cumin seeds

1 tbsp green cardamom pods

1 tbsp cloves

2 cinnamon sticks, about 7.5 cm in length each

a handful of curry leaves

pandan leaves, 7 cm piece (optional)

METHOD:

All the ingredients are roasted briefly together, and then ground.

 

Jasmine’s Tempering Spices

Jasmine uses this spice mixture for tempering her delectable dhals and vegetable preparations.

INGREDIENTS:

Brown mustard seeds

cumin seeds

fennel seeds

METHOD:

Equal amounts of these spices are simply coarsely ground all together (unroasted).

 

Jasmine’s Rasam Powder

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup coriander seeds

1 dessert spoon of cumin seeds

1 dessert spoon of fennel seeds

1 dessert spoon of black pepper

a few dried red chillies

METHOD:

The spices are simply ground all together (unroasted).

ALSO: Jasmine keeps at hand a mixture of freshly ground, raw cumin and black pepper, which I think is a great idea as I love both of these flavours.

 

I don’t have a recipe for Sri Lankan chilli powder (which is a mixture of spices),  as she shared with me some of her own, sent to her especially and all the way from Sri Lanka. I really am lucky! :) (A quick note: I’ve noticed she uses chilli powder when cooking meat, and certain vegetable curries, and green chillies in other vegetable preparations and dhal.)

There you go! Now we’re all set to cook Sri Lankan! (Though I appreciate that many of these ingredients may be difficult to find for many people.) More delicious recipes coming next! In fact, I’m going to post a Sri Lankan recipe for a leek and cabbage side dish  with coconut for the January Eating with the Seasons, so stay tuned!

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My other posts and recipes on Sri Lankan cooking:

The aroma of curry leaves: Sri Lankan cooking (Introduction)

Varar – Sri Lankan cabbage and leek with coconut

Sri Lankan coconut dhal

Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets

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