Marinating Vegetables – Rediscover An Entirely Sri Lankan, Sinhala, Method

By Sharmini Jayawardena 

I’m very disappointed reading numerous sites claiming to be proficient in Sri Lankan cooking, not once, mentioning the need to marinade vegetables in preparation for making a vegetable curry!

How many of these cooks have even heard of the word – Eadhanna or Eadhanava?

I’ve not seen a single of them adhering to the method prior to making a vegetable curry. This is truly sad!

It is a unique method of cooking curried vegetables possibly prevalent only in Sri Lanka, with may be, the exception of Kerala, India.

Please correct me if I’m wrong on this. I apologize in advance, if I have overlooked a cook or chef who does this, these days.

Wherever you look, what you see is, vegetables being sliced and tossed in to a pan with heated oil, along with condiments, and being fried and stirred!!! This is totally NOT the way Sri Lankan, (Sinhala), food is made, coming down the ages from the days of yore. The only exception being Pekishme’s thumba karavila or spine gourd recipe, I must admit.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about –

If you intend to make a French bean curry,  boanchi curiya –

1.String the beans and wash them. 

2. Break the beans into 1” pieces.

3. Put them into the pot you intend to cook them in.

4. Add sliced onion, preferably red/small onions, spice mix or thuna paha, turmeric powder and chili powder. Add some fenugreek seeds, curry leaf and pandan leaf. Add salt and mix all together by hand. Cover and set aside to marinate for about 5-10 minutes. 

(You may use a spoon for this instead of your hand).

This is called eadhanava or eadhanna.

5. Add the second squeeze of coconut milk or the light coconut milk to barely cover the beans and cook on the open fire on a stove top.

6. Do not cover green vegetables as they get blackened and lose their beautiful green colour.

7. Once it’s almost done, add some of the first squeeze or thick coconut milk to the pot and simmer until you get a film of oil on the surface.

8. Check for seasoning.

Vegetables cooked in this way are very tasty and healthy.

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