Taste of Sri Lanka: Take 3

This post is all about continuing with introducing you further to Sri Lankan cuisine. Although it may seem daunting with the number of different spices and components, a bit of early prep will help make the process a lot easier and much more enjoyable!

This post is about a Sri Lankan take on the traditional Chinese dish of Garlic Stir Fried Kang Kung, as well as popular tangy brinjal/ egg-plant dish, called Brinjal Moju.

Kang kung or water spinach is readily available and one of the easiest greens to cook! The key to delicious, crunchy green kang kung is adding it to the spice mix/ sauce right at the end. A couple of minutes of pan tossing and you’re good to go!

      Spicy Stir Fried Kang Kung (Kang Kung Thel Dala)

  • 300 – 500 grams kang kung, washed thoroughly
  • 3 green chillies, sliced diagonally
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 small tomatoes, finely sliced (optional)
  • 1- inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons chilli flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons maldive fish pieces
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2-3 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Oil

** I generally keep my kang kung whole, or use it after slightly trimming the thicker parts of the stem**

** Maldive fish is dried/ cured fish, traditionally from the Maldivian waters, which is crushed into splinters and used as a flavouring agent in curries. It adds a crunchy, salty texture to the curry/ sambols. **

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, onions, cinnamon, turmeric, chillies and chilli flakes. Toss together, and then add in the soy sauce,  tomatoes (if using) and maldive fish.

A few seconds later add in the kang kung ( I sometimes add them in stages, without keeping too much time in between additions) and mix well with all the spices. Cook for a minute and remove off heat.

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The leaves should still be slightly wilted, yet quite green and crunchy. Serve immediately


Brinjal Moju (Pickled eggplant)

This dish is also called “Batu Pahi” in Sri Lanka. It is a sort of devilled/ pickled eggplant curry, that is delicious as a main/ side dish accompanying the traditional Sri Lankan meal.

  • 500 grams eggplant, sliced
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced diagonally
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger/ garlic paste
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1- inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon chillie powder (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sweet cumin (fennel)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (cider/ white wine is also suitable)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil

Deep fry the eggplant pieces, until golden brown. There are several types of eggplant available in the market, and any of them are suitable for this dish.

In a pan, heat the oil and add the garlic/ ginger, onions, chillies, curry leaves and cinnamon. Fry lightly.

Add in all the spices and mix well. Season with salt. Then add the sugar and vinegar. Cook for about a minute on a low flame. Add in the brinjals and mix well.

**You may add a dash of coconut milk for a bit of flavour and to create a little bit of gravy.**

Cook on a low flame for 1- 2 minutes, to allow the brinjals to absorb all the flavour.

Serve, garnished with a few curry leaves.

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Bon Appetit!

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