SAI YOGANATHAN BEGAN HER GASTRONOMIC JOURNEY in Sri Lanka and added many recipes to her repertoire during her tenures in Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Her style embraces traditional techniques and exotic spices from her motherland, whilst combining modern elements inspired by different cuisines from around the world. She describes this book as her ‘ultimate recipe collection’, showcasing her family traditions, childhood memories, culinary adventures and travel experiences.
Auntie’s Prawn Curry
My mouth still waters when I think about my auntie’s spicy prawn curry. Juicy prawns coated in a thick warming sauce remind me of my childhood in Sri Lanka. Gentle heat from the spice balances brilliantly with the sweetness of creamy coconut milk and tangy tamarind. This curry is full of flavour and tastes even better the next day!
SERVES 4 | PREP 30 mins | COOKING 30 mins
- 400g prawns, shelled and cleaned
- a golf ball-sized piece of compressed tamarind
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp oil
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 green chillies, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2cm piece ginger, minced
- a sprig of curry leaves
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 2 tsp curry powder (Jaffna style)
- 1 tomato, diced
- salt to taste
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- ¼ tsp cumin, freshly ground
- ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- Soak the tamarind in water for a few minutes. Extract the tamarind pulp and discard the membranes and seeds.
- In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the fenugreek and cumin seeds for 15–20 seconds. Add the onion, chillies, sliced garlic, ginger, and curry leaves and sauté for 5–6 minutes until the onion is soft and golden.
- Stir in the prawns, chilli, curry powder, and tomato and cook for 3–4 minutes, until aromatic.
- Add the salt, tamarind pulp and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 18–20 minutes.
- When the sauce has thickened, add the crushed garlic, freshly ground cumin and black pepper, and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat.
- Serve with rice or Indian flat bread and side dishes of your choice.
Orange-Infused Creme Caramel
Caramel pudding is an all-time favourite for most Sri Lankans. During a trip to Spain, I discovered that caramel custard is also the most popular dessert there. After experimenting with different ingredients, I reinvented this decadent orange and vanilla infused crème caramel. This classic dessert gets a citrusy lift and is sure to impress anyone.
SERVES 6-8 | PREP 60 mins (+ COOLING) | COOKING 45 mins
- 220g caster sugar plus 55g extra
- butter for greasing
- 125ml water
- 625ml full cream milk
- 300ml fresh cream
- 4 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
- zest of two oranges
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease six individual ramekins or a 20cm round baking dish with butter.
- Place 220g sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring it to a boil. Cook for 10–12 minutes until the mixture reaches a dark golden colour. Keep a close watch as the sugar syrup will begin to colour very quickly.
- Pour the caramel syrup into the greased ramekins or the baking dish and allow the caramel to set.
- In the same saucepan, combine milk, cream, orange zest and vanilla bean paste and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stand for 15 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolks, and the remaining sugar. Add the warm milk mixture and beat to combine. Strain into a jug and pour over the caramel.
- Lay a paper towel on the bottom of a large roasting tray and arrange the ramekins or baking dish. Carefully pour hot water into the tray, to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins or dish.
To ensure the caramel is properly dissolved and you get the perfect syrupy finish, I recommend starting this dessert a day ahead. I serve this dish with vanilla ice cream and my ginger macadamia wafers.
A Kitchen Well-Travelled by Sai Yoganathan, Tarras Press, RRP $59.99