Nature’s harvest

Nature’s harvest

By
Channa Dassanayaka
Contains
15 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781740660662
Photographer
Craig Wood

Many Sri Lankan villagers make a living attending to stalls, selling vegetables harvested fresh from their backyard patch. Some visit weekly markets to sell their produce, while others set up temporary stalls on the roads outside their homes each day, to catch workers and travellers passing by.

Drumstick – long fleshy pods that resemble beans but which grow on trees – are stacked on the stall shelves along with other Sri Lankan favourites – bitter gourd, snake gourd, jackfruit, okra, banana chillies and water spinach. Many other vegetables – cabbage, radishes, eggplant, tomatoes, yams, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, leeks and beans – are harvested throughout the year. All find their way at the peak of freshness to the markets, along with pulses such as chickpeas, red lentils and mung beans.

Vegetables are an integral part of the Sri Lankan diet. A popular way to start the day is a cup of porridge made with rice, coconut milk and the juice from leafy vegetables. At lunch vegetables are served in curries, sambols or in mallum, a leafy vegetable dish similar to a tabouli.

Dinner, the day’s main meal, would never be served with meat and rice alone. There are always vegetables, which can range from a simple potato curry to a much more complex jackfruit curry.

The combinations of meat and vegetables are carefully chosen. A chicken curry matches perfectly with beetroot or okra curry and tempered dhal, while a lamb and coriander dish teams up with a snake bean curry. A dry goat curry is best when accompanied by a vegetable curry with a coconut base and a mallum, while a coconut milk-based fish curry is perfect when served with a lovely sautéed potato curry with chilli and coconut or a lentil and spinach dish.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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