I'm quite pleased with how we've evolved into a little group of people who meet every six weeks or so, with lots of food, beers and wine and a book we'd decided upon the last time we met.
On September 17th, we met for lunch with all things Sri Lankan. We've stuck to the usual folk, with the odd new person being added to the group, and maybe one other of the usual suspects not showing up because he/she had other plans.
I've cooked Sri Lankan food several times since my husband and I got back from our Sri Lankan holiday, back in 2016. And I bought this book about a year later, in the hope that I'd use it to cook some new dishes. Unfortunately, I never quite got around to doing so. And Priyanka and Kala both suggested we do regional Indian food. Now, I *do* have a handful of books that focus on regional Indian cuisine - The Pondicherry Kitchen, The Suriani Kitchen, The East Indian Kitchen, among others, but we didn't want to do Syrian Christian or Pondy food and then we thought, hey why not Sri Lankan? It's not Indian. But it'll have flavour profiles similar to (and yet quite different from) South Indian states. And that was that.
There are two very lovely pieces that I keep going back to every time I want to write about Sri Lankan food - the first is this one on Serious Eats that touches on how over-simplified the term "curry and rice" is, yet how distinct your meal is every time you ask for a plate of "curry & rice" in Sri Lanka. The second is by my husband's friend.
The book is called Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking and has been published by Hippocrene Books Inc.,U.S. and written by S. H. Fernando Jr.
You can buy it on Amazon here.
Here's what our menu for that afternoon was:
Mihiri's Chinese rolls with a shrimp filling - I made these. This was my first time making Sri Lankan short eats and I was quite pumped about the process. It was all of the stuff I've watched Peter Kuruvita do on TV. And the end result was pretty great too (albeit quite heavy).
Nimal's Deviled Chicken (that my husband Suraj cooked)
Karat Kirata (carrot curry, made by my husband's namesake - this was his first time at the cookbook club and he says he enjoyed it, though I did see him zone out several times as he poured over Ivan Ramen, while we sat around and gossiped.
Bandakka (okra) curry, made by usual suspect #1, Sahil
Sudulunu (garlic) curry that I made and was so delicious and different (even if I say so myself), that it's going to be a repeat for sure, when we cook Sri Lankan next.
Aunty Manel's Special Eggplant (wambattu) Curry that Priyanka brought in - it's funny how the recipe called for pretty much everything I use for my wambattu curry, and yet it turned out quite different from the curry I usually make.
Kukul Mas (chicken curry), the second dish Priyanka brought in.
Jaffna Goat Curry by Kala
Pol sambol (coconut chutney), Priyanka's third dish
Lunu Miris (onion chilli sambol), Sahil's second
Rotis & Rice
Pol Roti (coconut flat bread) which was made by the other Suraj, quite like Maharashtrian thalipeeth - hand-rolled bread with coconut and onions
red rice (that I cooked so terribly, it was all lumpy, bummer!)
Thick-set curd with treacle