Posted: 12 Aug 2015

Sam WedandeHome-style Sri Lankan recipes

Sam Wedande has spent more than three decades delighting Melburnians with his contemporary take on spicy Sri Lankan food.

But the owner/chef at St Kilda’s Araliya says traditional Sri Lankan food celebrates spice and flavour, but meals always have the same staples –  a raw vegetable dish, a cooked legume, a protein dish, something fried and a carbohydrate like rice – and Sri Lankans eat this way three times a day.

These are Sam’s five favourite Sri Lankan dishes to cook at home.

1. Gotu kola

gotu kolaGotu kola (also known as Indian Pennywort) is a true superfood, with many medicinal qualities. The creeping plant (right) is native to parts of Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and South Africa, but is also grown in tropical areas of Australia. Find it at Asian supermarkets.

200g gotu kola or if unable to source, substitute with curly parsley
1 small red onion (shredded finely)
2 green chillies (shredded finely)
½ cup shredded coconut
1 tomato (chopped)
Salt and pepper
Lime juice
1 tsp Maldive fish powder (optional)

Mix all the ingredients, except for the green leaves. Season well and add the finely shredded gotu kola last.

2. Mung beans split curry

250g split mung beans
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder
10 curry leaves
1 cup coconut milk
2 dry chillies (seeds removed)
1 tsp mustard seeds
Salt and lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric powder

Wash the mung beans and leave to drain. Heat oil, add onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, curry powder, mustard seeds, chillies and turmeric. Add mung beans, coconut milk, salt and slow cook till mung beans are soft. Add water if the mixture gets too dry. Once cooked, finish with lemon juice and serve with rice.

3. Devilled prawns

500g prawns, shells removed
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 onion. finely chopped
4 lime leaves
2 dry chillies,seeds removed, sliced
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
Coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
Lime leaves, shredded
Salt and pepper

Clean the prawns and season. Heat oil in a pan and seal the prawns. Remove from pan. Add onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chillies and cook to a paste. Add a little water if necessary.  Season the paste, add sealed prawns and lime leaves.

4. Fish croquettes

250g fish, chopped roughly
2 boiled potatoes (keep warm)
1 green chilli, chopped
Desiccated coconut
1 egg (medium)
1 onion, finely chopped
10 curry leaves, chopped
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs fennel seeds, lightly roasted & crushed
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice
Coconut oil
1 tbs ginger
1 tbs garlic
1 tsp turmeric powder

Heat oil and cook onion, curry leaves, ginger and garlic till lightly brown. Add fennel seeds, cumin and turmeric. Add the fish and season. Add boiled potato and mash it all with a potato masher. Rest the mixture. Form balls (about 25g) into cylinder shapes. Roll in plain flour, egg and coat with coconut. Deep fry to a golden colour, drain and serve hot.

5. Yellow rice

2 cups rice
½ onion
6 curry leaves
6 pods cardamom
1-2cm cinnamon stick, roughly crushed
1 tsp turmeric powder
5 cups chicken stock (optional)
½ cup coconut milk

Heat oil and sauté onions, curry leaves, cardamom and cinnamon. Add raw rice and turmeric powder, and toss till rice is coated with oil. Add chicken stock (or water) and coconut milk. Liquid should be about 2.5cm above the rice level. Bring to boil, cover and simmer till the liquid is absorbed. Rest in the pot for about 20 minutes and serve.

Find St Kilda’s Araliya at 157 Fitzroy St, St Kilda (the new home of Araliya after several decades in Hawthorn).






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