Monthly Archives: July 2010

Whole Wheat Crepes with Apple – Blueberry Topping


For apple topping:

  • 1 medium granny smith apple (or any firm apple)
  • ¾ cup blue berries
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

For the crepes:

  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cups milk (2% or 1%)
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter for skillet

Make the apple topping:

  • Peel and core the apple and slice them into thin slices
  • In a skillet add apples, brown sugar and water and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes
  • Add blue berries and cook for another 3 minutes (if needed add a little bit of water – 1 teaspoon)
  • Add cinnamon and cook for one minute

To make the crepes:

  • Beat egg whites lightly and add oil and milk and mix well
  • In a separate bowl add flour, salt and add the milk mixture and mix well
  • Heat a skillet and add a little bit of butter
  • When the butter start sizzling, add a spoonful of batter and cook on both sides
  • Repeat this to make all the crepes (makes 6 crepes)
  • To serve fold crepes into two and top with the apple topping

Yields: 3 servings


Yard-Long Beans Curry (Payathanga Curry)

This is a very common side dish consumed with rice in Sri Lanka.  This tastes very good with “Pittu” also

Here in the US, string beans take a while to cook.  I remember in Sri Lanka these beans are very tender and light green.  They cook quite quickly compared to the ones found in US.  Also where I buy these beans, they are normally quite rigid and darker in color.  So depending on where you live/the type of string beans you buy change the amount of water you use to cook.  If the beans are quite tender, less amount of water should be used.

Also in Sri Lanka I have never seen anyone using a knife to chop these beans into pieces.  My mother, my aunt and my husband’s family break the beans into 1 inch pieces with their hands.  I was curious why they were doing this instead of cutting them into pieces.  So I asked a couple of my relatives.  I got different answers.

Someone told me if the beans are broken instead of cut, the curry tastes better.

Another person told me when you break the beans with your hand, due to the force the seeds tend to fly/come out of the beans and when cooked the curry taste very good

Another answer I got was, there was a story that these beans may have some kind of caterpillar growing inside them.  So when it is broken, these caterpillars just fly out due to the force of breaking.

Anyway, these are the stories I got.  So if anyone has any other information regarding why the beans are broken instead of cut, please let me know and I will add to this list.

Also this curry is normally cooked quite spicy.  So here I have used 2 teaspoon chili powder.  But depending on taste, this can be adjusted.


  • 12 oz yard long beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 2  teaspoons Sri Lankan chili powder
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (thick milk tastes very good in this curry)
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 dried red chilies broken into 2 – 3 pieces
  • 1 strand curry leaves


  • Wash and break the beans into 1 inch pieces

  • Grind cumin and black pepper coarsely and set aside (do not roast them)
  • In a covered saucepan add beans, water, coconut milk, chili powder and salt and cover and cook for about 15 minutes
  • Add the ground cumin mixture and cover and cook until gravy thickens.  Make sure there is gravy left (do not cook too long or until the gravy is almost absorbed. The reason is when this curry is left to cool the gravy tends to dry out and get absorbed by the beans – It took me couple of trials to get the right consistency)
  • In a skillet add oil and add onion and garlic and sauté until they are lightly browned.
  • Add broken chili, curry leaves and fry for another 2 minutes
  • Transfer this fried mixture into the curry and mix well

Sautéed Escarole


  • 1 medium bunch escarole (about 8 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 10 – 12 garlic cloves sliced
  • Crushed red chili pepper
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash escarole and separate them into individual leaves
  • Cut the leaves into 2 pieces separating the bottom thick stems from the top leaves
  • Add canola oil to a skillet and add garlic and fry until garlic turns light golden brown
  • Add escarole bottoms and sauté for about 3 minutes
  • Now add the rest of the leaves, salt and sauté for about 5 minutes or escarole is wilted and cooked
  • Add crushed red chili and sauté  for another 1 minute
  • Serves 2

kale Fry (Kale Varai)

This is a very quick and easy side dish.  The only time consuming thing is washing and chopping the kale.  To make this quick, chopped bagged kale can be used.  If using frozen chopped kale, reduce the water to ½ cup.


  • 1 lb kale
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon Sri Lankan chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 dried chilies broken into 2 – 3 pieces


  • Wash kale and chop them into very small pieces (looks like shredded)
  • In a covered saucepan add kale, water, chili powder, salt and cook until all the water is absorbed and the kale looks dry
  • Add coconut and mix well and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes
  • In a skillet add oil and add onion and garlic and fry until onion is golden brown
  • Add broken red chilies and fry for another minute
  • Transfer this fried mixture into cooked kale and mix well

Banana-Orange Crepes


For the Banana Topping:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • Orange peel from one orange
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts toasted and broken into small pieces

For the pancake

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • Butter for skillet


To make the topping

  • Cut bananas diagonally into thick slices
  • In a non stick pan add butter and let it melt
  • Add brown sugar, orange peel, orange juice and boil until sauce thickens
  • Add bananas and mix well and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes in low flame
  • Set aside

To make the pancake:

  • Beat egg whites lightly and add oil, milk and mix well
  • Add flour slowly and mix well until free of lumps
  • Add salt and coconut flakes and mix well
  • In a non stick skillet add a little bit of butter and let sizzle
  • Add a spoon full of crepe mix and cook on both sides until brown spots are formed
  • Make all the crepes
  • Divide topping into 3
  • To serve fold about 3 crepes and place on a plate and add the topping
  • Makes about 9 pancakes and serves 3

Spicy Pasta with Escarole


  • 4 oz pasta (rotini, penne etc)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 7 – 8 cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • 5 oz escarole
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup canned small white beans drained
  • 3 teaspoons goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts toasted
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil for sprinkling


  • Cook pasta and drain
  • In a skillet add oil and once its heated add garlic and sauté until light brown
  • Discard the thick stem of escarole leaves and tear them into small pieces
  • Add escarole to skillet and sauté until lightly wilted
  • Now add sliced mushrooms and sauté until mushroom is cooked
  • Add crushed red pepper, salt and white beans and cook for about 4 – 5 minutes
  • Add pasta, goat cheese and mix well (keep on low flame)
  • Mix in pine nuts
  • If needed sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil

Fried Soy Chunks (Soy Meat)


Soy chunks are called “Soya Meat” in Sri Lanka.  These soy chunks come in different sizes and color.  Some are darker and others are lighter in color.  Size also varies form small bead size to big as a marble size.   For the frying, the bigger soy chunks should be used.  I used the biggest one available in Sri Lankan stores.    The soy chunks should be soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes.  If its longer than that, when fried they will be soft and chewy.  But if its not soaked or soaked only for a few minutes, they will be quite crispy and hard. 

Soy chunks are high in protein and can be used in many dishes.  The most common dish cooked in Sri Lanka is the soy meat curry.  They can also be mixed in pulavs.


  • 1 cup dried soy chunks (use the big ones)

  • Hot water to soak soy chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Sri Lankan chili powder
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons sesame seed oil (Indian/Sri Lankan one)


  • Soak soy chunks in hot water for about 10 – 15 minutes 
  • After soaking squeeze water completely
  • Add chili powder, salt and mix well and leave for about 5 – 6 minutes
  • Heat oil in a skillet/kadai and shallow fry until soy chunks are golden and crisply