Sri Lankan patties are unlike the ones I’m used to; these are deep-fried pastry parcels filled with curried vegetables, similar to a samosa. Vigneshwaran wrapped up a few patties for me to eat on the drive back to Jaffna, but we only made it down the road before they were all gone.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 200 g (7 oz) cabbage, thinly sliced
- 4 dried long red chillies, chopped
- 6 small pink Asian shallots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon roasted chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- 6 cm (2 1/2 inch) piece rampe (pandanus) leaf, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt, dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/4 cups) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) full-cream milk
To make the filling, heat the coconut oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage, dried chillies, shallots, fennel seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, curry leaves and rampe; cook for five minutes, or until the shallots are golden brown. Add the salty water and remove from the heat. Stir in the mashed potato until well combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
To make the dough, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Using your hands, mix in the coconut oil, then gradually add the milk, about 2 tablespoons at a time.
Continue to work the dough until it is soft and pliable; you may need to add a little water (up to four tablespoons). Shape the dough into a large ball and rub with a little extra coconut oil.
Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface to three mm (1⁄8 inch) thick. Cut out 10 cm (four inch) circles with a pastry cutter or glass. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the filling into the centre of each circle and fold in half. Use your fingers to press the edges together, brushing the edge of the dough with a little water if necessary. Re-roll the offcuts and use as well. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Fill a wok one-third full of oil and heat to approximately 180°C (350°F) (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 15 seconds). Deep-fry the patties in batches for two to three minutes until crisp and golden, turning them over halfway through cooking time. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve hot or cold.
Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka
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