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Dec 11, 2008 01:35 AM

Mysterious Sri Lanken curry ingredient

I was at a Sri Lanken friend's house in the weekend and was lucky enough to sample a few of his father's curries. He was very cagey about what went in the curries and the finer details (secret family recipes etc!) and wouldn't tell me what one of the key ingredients was in a 'black pork curry', only that it was a sticky dark paste that you can only buy in Sri Lanka (said with a glint in his eye). I suspect it was tamarind - can anyone else shed any light on this? And does anyone know of any good Sri Lanken recipe books?

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  1. i don't have this book,

    but another "ceylon cookery" by chandra dissanayake, which my sri lankan MIL gave me.
    dissanayake is (or was) the principal, school of home economics, ceylon, sri lanka.
    the book was first published in december 1968, and its fourth edition (which i received in 1994), was published in september 1990. it is printed at felix printers ltd., 692, maradana rd, colombo 10, ceylon sri lanka. i find no reference to the school or the publisher in a minor google search.

    i'd search around for the dissanayake book, but in the meantime, that other one by peiris is cheap enough to grab and start to have some fun cooking.

    black meat curry indeed uses tamarind. if you like, i'll paraphrase the recipe from my cookbook, with a complete list of ingredients.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      Thanks for the great info - will try to hunt down that book, and it would be great if you wouldnt mind paraphrasing that recipe!

    2. pj26, i hope you have success with this recipe:

      please come back with questions, comments, reports on your sri lankan cooking success. i love sri lankan food!

      look for a "hoppers" mix, and serve it with a seeni or pol sambol. close to heaven, those flavors! if you are in london, i think there are some sri lankan groceries in the northern suburbs.

      ps, and just order that peiris-authored book from the amazon's uk site that i linked -- easy! also, a couple of the recipes for sambol that i link in the intro to the recipe are from sri lankan cookery/recipe sites. check those out, too! best wishes, and happy new year!

      4 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        you are a star - thank you! That's my weekend cooking sorted out...

        1. re: pj26

          Anyone know of a good Sri Lankan restaurant?

          1. re: wleigh123

            mr. alka says there is one near victoria station (maybe on victoria street) behind buckingham palace. he said the curry was "ok", the sambols were "very good" and the hoppers (string and egg, both) were "very good."

            1. re: wleigh123

              There's a couple near Rayners Lane tube - been to papaya twice and really enjoyed it. It had a rave review elsewhere on here for its veggie biryani but haven't yet tried it. Enjoyed the devilled potatoes and Hoppers esp.
              Two doors down is more of a cafe-looking place which looks good but not as polished as papaya. the latter also has a place in ealing.