Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sri Lankan Food Festival at Blooms, Eros Hotel

I thrive on trying new cuisines and different sorts of foods whenever I can... (though not taking the Andrew Zimmern route to bizarre ;) ) Was invited to Blooms at Eros Hotel managed by Hilton for a Sri Lankan Food Festival.... Am I glad I accepted the invite or what.... It was a wonderful experience dining with Chefs Ravindra Pushpakumara and Ajith Hewabandula who came all the way from Sri Lanka and Chef Ramandeep from Eros Hotel, Delhi.

The decor at Blooms set the mood for our afternoon.Sri Lanka's cuisine has elements common with cuisines from Kerela and Goa. Spices occupy a predominant place in most of the dishes... Chilies are an integral part of the dishes(supported by the government's data too ;) ) . Chefs told me about using coconut husk being used to smoke and cure meats... wouldn't that be such a lovely flavor profile.
The live counter for fried snacks was popular among guests. We had banana fritters, yams, cutlets but what we like best were the prawns.
The salad spread was interesting too with Fish moju, Curried Chicken salad, Cucumber-Tomato-Orange salad, Capsicum-Tomato-Mango salad, Fried bittergourd salad... did you read Bittergourd... me eating Bittergourd is such a remote possibility but this salad has me converted.... Pssstttt : The chef told me his secret.. These bittergourds came all the way from Sri Lanka and were not grown on Indian Soil... The soil makes all the difference to these bittergourds. Sri lankan ones are sweeter n much less bitter than the Indian ones....

Show me a punjabi and I'll show you a pickle lover.... The condiments were an absolute delight. We were served Dehi achcharu (Lime pickle), Sinhala achcharau (Sri Lankan pickle), Amba achcharu (Mango chutney), Katta sambol (Onion and tomato sambol), Pol sambol (Coconut sambol), Seeni sambol (Tamarind and onion sambol) Each of these Chutneys n Pickles were lip smacking :)

The main course consisted of Kukulmus Hoddi (Chicken pepper curry), Elumus Kaluwata (Mutton black curry), Rathu Kakuluwa Hoddi (Fish red curry), Red rice (Sri Lankan country rice), Parippu Hoddi (Dhall curry), Rathualla Hoddi (Beetroot dry curry), Dhabala Themparaduwa (Wing beans tempered), Wattakka Kalupol Maluwa (Pumpkin curry), Keselmuwa Themparaduwa (Banana flower tempered) and Awara dry curry. What my friend and i freak out on was the Kukulmus Hoddi (Chicken pepper curry). These curries were served with Pittu and hoppers. hoppers are very close to appams.
The desserts were Kallu dodol (much like Goan Bebinca), Sago cream, Wallithalapa (also called Weli Thalapa and is made of Rice flour, Coconut milk and Kithul or Coconut trealce). Here's the link to an blog with lots of Sri Lankan dessert recipes.

Also read my friend Sid's experience at the festival here.