Home Cook: Sharmini Jayawardena
Let me tell you, curry is all about the spice mix!
Each family has its’ own recipe and here is the recipe from my mum’s kitchen which at the time functioned like a restaurant, eating in, being the sort after thing to do. Numerous fancy and wholesome foods came out of it that are almost unthinkable today. Everything having been prepared from scratch!
The spice mix is known in Sri Lanka (Sinhala) as ‘thuna paha’, meaning, three-five, translated literally.
What it means though is, that you take three parts of one condiment and one each of two other condiments. This is how my mum interpreted it and made it as follows:
3 parts coriander seed washed dried and roasted
1 part cumming seed washed dried and roasted
1 part sweet cumming washed dried and roasted
These are the main ingredients in the mix.
She added a handful of curry leaves and a few pieces of pandan leaf and a stick or two of cinnamon (the thing variety found in Sri Lanka) into the roast.
After roasting it was ground to a powder and that’s the form in which it was added to the curries.
My mum did not add cardamoms and cloves to the mix. She added these separately to the curry. This is because she used this roasted curry powder in preparing both meat and vegetables.
I know those who use the roasted mix only for the preparation of meat and fish and an un-roasted version without cloves and cardamoms in preparing vegetable dishes.
Wild Boar Curry
200gm wild boar meat
2 tsps spice mix
1tsp turmeric powder
3 tsps chili powder
1/4 cup thick tamarind juice
3 small onions
1” piece fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic
2 sprigs curry leaf
1 pandan leaf
2” piece of lemon grass
1” stick cinnamon
3 cardamoms (tear each pod leaving the seeds intact)
2 tbls coconut oil
2 cups coconut milk (thin milk which is the second squeeze and the thick milk which is the first squeeze)
2 green chilis cut in half
1. Wash, trim the nasty bits of the meat and cube it to bite size pieces.
2. Add all of the powders into the marinade including the tamarind juice, mix and keep aside.
3. Cut the curry leaves into three parts each and so the pandan leaf and set aside.
4. Peel and slice the onions.
5. Peel ginger and garlic and mash it into a pulp in the pestle and mortar.
6. Heat the coconut oil in a pan or pot and add the sliced onion, ginger and garlic and fry until golden brown.
7. Add part of the curry leaves and pandan leaves and lemon grass to the fry.
8. Then add the meat and when the meat is well fried add the thin coconut milk including the rest of the leaves to cover the ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook until well done .
9. Once done, add the thick milk and leave to simmer under low flame.
10. Once the gravy is thickened check for seasoning and remove from fire and serve with steamed rice and other accompaniments.