By Thulasi Muttulingam
The peninsula of Jaffna is famous for its unique and flavourful cooking.
The cooking style is heavily influenced by the neighbouring regions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu but there are a few items considered to be uniquely Yarlpaanum; savouries made from the palmyrah fruit such as Panangai Paniyaarum being one example.
Here are two such recipes:
Point Pedro Vade
Tamils make a variety of vades, but even amongst them, the town of Parithithurai (or Point Pedro) is famous for its spicy flat vades. If you ever go to Point Pedro, make sure you taste the vades.
1 cup – split white urad dhal (Ulundu)
2 tbsp – chilli powder
2 cups – roasted white rice flour
1/2 cup – white wheat flour
1/2 tbsp – fennel seeds (big)
Salt to taste
Diced onion and green chillies (optional – but be careful when frying, they tend to blacken)
1. Soak the urad dhal for two hours.
2. Strain water completely for about 10 minutes.
3. Mix the chillie powder and salt.
4. Slowly mix in the flours until it becomes a dry mixture. The consistency must be dry, but if it becomes too dry that you can’t pat it into shape, add a dab of virgin coconut oil to smooth the consistency.
5. Dab a little oil onto pieces of tin foil (or oil paper). In Jaffna, people use palm-sized leaves of a certain tree but they won’t be available in the city.
6. Make small balls of the dough and flatten them on the tin foil into slim discs.
7. Heat some oil and fry the discs over a moderate fire. Scoop out when the discs gain a reddish brown colour. They are now ready to serve.
These are sweet savouries made from the pulp of the palmyrah fruit. In Jaffna, a long and arduous process is gone through to extract the pulp but fortunately it is available in bottled form in Colombo shops. Just ask for a bottle of Palmyra cream / pulp in shops specializing in Jaffna Tamil commodities.
1 1/2 cups palmyrah pulp
3 cups steamed and sieved white wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt (just a dab)
1. Mix together until you have batter in the consistency of cake mix.
2. Heat some oil. Again over a moderate fire, drop blobs of the batter into the oil to fry.
3. Take out when golden brown and drop them into a dish lined with absorbent paper to absorb excess oil. They are now ready to serve. courtesy: Ceylon Today