Sri Lankan Cooking Class

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas, and that not too many of you were affected by the storms in the UK. Tom’s poor family didn’t have power for 50+ hours- not the Christmas they imagined. Our Christmas was pretty different, we had a Christmas Eve dinner in the hotel in Agra where the staff had really pulled out all the stops with decorations, carol singers and some Indian rappers performing Linkin Park covers… Then Christmas Day brought a 6 hour journey from Agra to Jaipur, samosas for lunch and pizza/pasta for supper. Not entirely festive!

Rewinding back to Sri Lanka, I wanted to share with you the brilliant cookery lesson that we took. It was certainly an experience, and we produced some of the most delicious curries I have ever tasted!

My family- Mum, Lucy, Michelle, Sasha, Me, Trina and Karuna

Our class started with a trip to the market with our teacher for the day, Karuna (who by the way had the best, most infectious laugh ever!) At the market we picked out vegetables including sweet potatoes- which are white in Sri Lanka, carrots, green beans, and aubergine. There were a lot of veg at the stall that we didn’t recognise, although apparently they weren’t appropriate for our curries!

This is the amazing Spice Man- visit him if you ever go to Galle Market!

Next up was a trip to the Spice Man, who talked us through the varieties of spices, including fresh Garam Masala, juicy vanilla pods and sweet cinnamon which we bought a little of to bring home with us. Then a quick stop at the side of the road for a bag of prawns from the fish man, and a whole chicken (won’t share photos with you of that!) and it was back to the ‘classroom’ to start prepping.

The first task was to make coconut cream and coconut milk by grinding the flesh out of fresh coconuts. My aunt Trina was a machine at this! Once all the flesh was removed, we added 2 cups of water to the coconut mixture and mixed it all together, squeezing it to get the juice from the coconut. We then sieved it, and the liquid that came out was the coconut cream. Repeat with another 2 cups of water and the same coconut flesh and you get coconut milk!

The coconut cream and milk were crucial in each of the curries that we made. We learnt how to make a vegetable curry, chicken curry, prawn curry, veggie mix, popadoms and flavoured rice. It turned in to quite the feast.  I wrote down all the recipes to share with you over the next few weeks- the best thing about them is although they use a lot of flavours, they are repeated amongst the dishes so that you don’t need to buy a whole load of new herbs and spices. The curries would be delicious on their own, served with rice or bread, or as part of a curry night with friends. I was surprised how light they all were, with most needing little to no oil. Apparently they do all need 20 curry leaves though…

Once we’d finished cooking (although, now that I think of it, I didn’t actually do much other than take photos and write down the recipes), Tom, my Step-Dad and my Grandfather came to join us for lunch. We all heartily tucked in, and I think the boys were suitably impressed. Tom and I are even planning on testing out these recipes in London and hosting a curry night with a difference. Karuna was such a fun teacher, making us laugh with her friendly manner and I cannot wait to add some of these recipes to my meal plans in January.

Karuna isn’t online but if you want to join her for a class, call 0912245815 or 0779615310, she’s located in the village of Unawatuna, near Galle. We had our hotel book the class for us before we arrived as I think she gets pretty busy, particularly in peak tourist season. 

1 Comment

  1. 26th December 2013 / 10:57 pm

    Looks amazing, I would seriously love to do something like this. Can’t wait for you to share the recipes. Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday!