Sri Lankan Masala

6 tsp. cumin seeds
6 cardamon pods
4 coriander seeds
6 tsp. fennel seeds
1 clove
1" stick cinnamon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. coconut milk or yoghurt
1/2 pound firm white fish cut into chunks (can also use chicken or meat)
Sesame oil
Crush the cumin, cardamon, coriander, fennel and cloves in a spice grinder. Film a cooking pot with oil, and cook the spices in the oil over low heat for a minute. Add the vinegar and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes over low heat. Add the fish (or meat) and cinnamon stick, stir, cover and cook over the lowest heat for 20 minutes, stirring often. Add the coconut milk, stir, add salt if needed, and cook another ten minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and serve over rice pilaf. Serves 4 as part of a meal.
Sri Lanka is a tropical island about 1/6 the size of California off the southeast coast of India. Lush and tropical, Sri Lanka is renowned from its spices and its cuisine has been influenced both by India and the many traders who have come to take advantage of natural resources such as rubber, tea and coconut. Roast beef and chicken came from the British, the popular rice pilaf called Lamprais and meatballs wrapped in banana leaf called Frikkadels are Dutch-influenced and many of the desserts came from the Portuguese. Sri Lankans learn to cook from their families and rarely use a recipe, so dishes will vary quite a bit. The common element of Sri Lankan cuisine is their liberal use of spices, particularly chilli, cardamom, cumin, and coriander; and the use of coconut. This recipe is adapted from a recipe given to me by Jasmine, a lovely Sri Lankan lady who invited me over to her house to try the cuisine of her native land. She doesn't need to measure her ingredients, so I worked on replicating the same taste at home with measurements for those of us who did grow up having these delicious dishes every day. Jasmine served it with rice pilaf and three vegetable dishes, including the below, also adapted. Jasmine is one of the founders of "Children Of Joy" which provides a home for girls orphaned by the Sri Lankan civil war.
1 1/2 cups green beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. cardamom pods
1 Tbsp. cloves
1 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Grind the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and turmeric together until fine. Cover bottom of a saucepan with the oil, fry the garlic and onion over low heat until onion is translucent. Add spices and cook, stirring for a few minutes to release the flavors. Add the beans and cover. Cook until green beans are soft, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste. Serves four as part of a meal.

This week's recipe pairs well with the Sunce Malbec from the Russian River appellation of Sonoma County. We had an unbelievable special on this wine--just $15 for this bottle that retails for $50. When you use your 10% off coupon (offer ends 5/10/09 as supply lasts) you are buying this bottle for just $13.50! The 2005 Malbec: exudes a typical Malbec nose: rich, deep aromas of fruitcake, truffles, and hints of anise. In the mouth this inky wine shows balanced fruit from start to finish, with flavors of black cherry, raspberry, and mild earth as well as nuances of vanilla and spiced clove. Exceptionally age worthy for 12-15 years." Sunce Wines are Estate grown and sustainably farmed. Only 20 barrels of this wine was made, so it is very difficult to find. To see this week's wine special, click here.

1 comment:

  1. When is the cinnamon added? Is it crushed with the other spices?

    How many servings does this make?

    Thank you!


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