Category Archives: Main Courses

Mushroom Pulav with Fried Soy Chunks


Even though mushrooms are not a delicacy in Sri Lanka, I thought to try this dish in combination with the soy chunks.  I used the same spices that I would use for any other vegetable pulav.


  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4-5 whole black pepper
  • 2 -1 inch piece cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon each cumin seeds and coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup finely chopped tomato
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup dry soy chunks
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts



  • Grind ½ teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon coriander and set aside
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil to a skillet and when hot add onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté until onion turns transparent.
  • Add whole cumin, cardamom pods, cinnamon, black pepper, chili powder, garam masala powder, ground cumin-coriander powder to the skillet and sauté for another 2 minutes
  • Add chopped tomato and cook on low flame until tomato is cooked to the consistency of sauce
  • Now add sliced mushrooms, corn and salt and cook further 3-4 minutes
  • Wash rice and add the cooked vegetables into the rice and mix well.
  • Add 2 cups of water to the rice and cook in rice cooker.
  • In the meantime add boiling water to the soy chunks and cover and leave for 10 minutes
  • Once the soy chunks are soft, squeeze out the water by squeezing them between your palms
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet and when hot add soy chunks to the skillet and fry on low flame until they are      crispy and lightly browned.
  • Lightly sauté the cashew nuts in a little oil
  • Once rice is done, let stand covered for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Now add fried soy chunks and cashew nuts and mix well and season with salt
  • Serve warm

Rice with Kidney Beans and Veggies



  • ¾ cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup dried kidney beans
  • ½ cup Brussels sprout
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup string beans sliced
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 green chilies split lengthwise
  • 2-3 dried red chilies broken into 2-3 pieces
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder



  • Cook rice and keep in warm (if using rice cooker)
  • Cook kidney beans until tender and drain (you can cook in a pressure cooker which would take only about 10 minutes or cook on a stove with enough water until tender)
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Halve tomatoes and remove seeds and middle portion (do not throw the seeds or the middle portion)
  • Thinly slice the onion
  • Place tomatoes, onion, and garlic on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle and toss olive oil to completely coat the vegetables
  • Bake for about 15 minutes.  Let cool
  • In the meantime slit string beans lengthwise and then cut diagonally into about 1 inch pieces.
  • Chop carrots into small cubes (about 1 cm)
  • Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to a large saucepan.  Add carrots and green beans and sauté for about 8-10 minutes.  Sprinkle little water at a time and cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add Brussels sprouts and tomato seeds and cook further 2 minutes
  • Now add the kidney beans and mix thoroughly and set aside.
  • In a food processor add roasted onion, garlic, tomatoes and chili powder and puree until it becomes a sauce consistency.  Add 1 tablespoon water if needed.
  •  In a small skillet heat the rest of the canola oil and once hot add green chilies and fry for about 30 seconds.  Add broken red chilies and fennel seeds and fry for another 30 seconds on a very low flame.
  • To make the pulav, mix in the tomato puree to the cooked vegetables and transfer the cooked rice with the vegetables and mix well.  Turn on the flame and mix and cook on a very low flame until all the water is absorbed and fluffy.
  • Pour over the fried chili mix and combine well
  • Serve with Papad, curd chili or even with Yogurt
  • Serves about 2 as a main dish.

Vegetable Rotis



  • 1 cup shredded leeks + carrots
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 green chili
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Water to mix dough


  • Shred carrots and chop leeks into fine pieces
  • Chop green chilies into small pieces (rounds)

  • Add oil to a skillet and when hot add chopped onion and sauté until transparent.
  • Add carrot, leek, and green chili and sauté on low flame until cooked
  • Season with salt and let cool
  • to make the dough, mix flour salt and oil and add the cooked vegetables
  • add enough water to make the dough
  • transfer dough to a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about ½ hour.
  • To make the roti, divide dough into 10 portions.
  • Take a portion and place on a board and sprinkle a little flour and roll out with a rolling pin into thin rotis

  • Cook rotis on a skillet on both sides until done.
  • Serve warm with chickpea curry or any other curry

Variation:  You can add other vegetables like cauliflower, green beans etc.  But make sure you cut them into very fine pieces.

Sesame Rice (Ellu Satham)

I had some left over rice and was wondering what to do.  I wanted to do some thing quick and simple.  Making fried rice or vegetable biryani will take a lot of time.  So I settled with the sesame rice which is easy and quick to make.  I mixed white and black sesame seed for this recipe.  Black sesame seed has high nutritional value since it has the skin.  Also black sesame seed has a much stronger taste and flavor.  But you can completely replace the black sesame seed with white one.


  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seed
  • 1 teaspoon shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon urad dhal
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 strand curry leaves


  • Dry roast sesame seeds until they start splattering
  • Dry roast one red chili and coconut until coconut is quite dry (lightly golden).  If not using coconut, just dry roast chili for a few seconds (make sure it does not get burned and start smoking)
  • Add sesame seed oil to a saucepan and add mustard seed
  • When they start splattering, add urad dhal and fry for about 25-30 seconds in low flame
  • Now add cumin seed, curry leaves and the rest of the dried red chilies (bread the red chilies into 3-4 small pieces) and sauté for about 30 seconds
  • Add rice, ground sesame seed mixture and salt to the saucepan and cook on low flame for about a minute.  Sprinkle just a little bit water and cover the saucepan.  This is to keep the rice moist and soft
  • Serve warm with appalam or moar milagai (curd chili)

Potato Stuffed Roti (Kilangu Roti)



For Roti:

  • ½ teaspoon dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

For Stuffing:

  • ½ lb potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 green chilies chopped
  • ¼ cup green peas (thawed if frozen)
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Strand of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Make the dough:

  • Add yeast to a bowl and dissolve in warm water
  • Let stand for a few minutes
  • Mix flour and salt and add to the yeast mixture
  • Stir with wooden spoon until smooth (you may have to use hand since it might be too sticky and tight to stir with a spoon)
  • Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes
  • Shape the dough into a ball and add to the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap
  • Leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes
  • Uncover and knead again for about 5 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4 portions and shape them into balls

  • Lightly coat the balls with cooking spray and cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes

Make the stuffing

  • Boil potatoes with skin until ¾ done
  • Drain and let cool.  Peel the skin off and chop them roughly into small pieces
  • Heat a skillet with oil and add mustard seeds.
  • When the mustard seeds start splattering, add onion and sauté until lightly golden
  • Add green chili, cumin seeds and green peas and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, chili powder, salt, and curry leaves and cook on low flame until potatoes are done and soft.  If needed sprinkle with water about 1 tablespoon at a time

Make the Roti:

  • Working with one dough (ball) at a time, carefully flatten the dough on a board (I added a plastic wrap sheet to the board to prevent sticking.  Plastic wrap sheet works better than a floured board, also add a little bit of oil to hands)

  • Add a spoonful of the curry mix in the middle of the flattened dough.

  • Bring the edges together and seal it.  Now slowly flatten again and make sure the curry does not come out
  • Spray a little oil to a skillet.  When the skillet becomes hot, add the rotis and cook on both sides until done
  • Serve warm.  Makes 4 rotis.

Iddly Upma (Iddly Uppuma)



Whenever I have left over iddlies I make this simple dish which is really delicious and quite easy to make

  • 8 left over Iddlies
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 dried red chilies broken into 2 – 3 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 inch piece ginger grated
  • Strand of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste



  • Crumble iddlies with your hand or using a food processor
  • Slit carrots lengthwise and then cut them diagonally into thin slices
  • Chop onion and green chilies into small pieces
  • To a skillet add sesame seed oil and when it’s hot add mustard seeds
  • When the mustard seed start cracking, add onion and carrot and fry until golden brown
  • Add grated ginger, dried red chilies, and curry leaves and fry for another minutes
  • Add crumbled iddlies and mix well
  • Season with salt.



Adai is not that common in the Jaffna Tamil cooking.  It’s healthier than normal Dosai since different kinds of lentils are used. This is quicker in comparison to dosai because this does not need fermentation.


  • ½ cup long grain rice
  • ½ cup urud dhal (lentil)
  • ¼ cup chana dhal (lentil)
  • ¼ cup toor dhal (lentil)
  • ¼ cup mung beans (split mung beans – dhal)
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • Couple of curry leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 small green chili finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for skillet
  • Sesame seed oil or butter or ghee (clarified butter)



  • Wash the rice and lentils and soak in water together for about 4 – 5 hours
  • Add rice, lentils and red chili to a grinder/liquidizer and add 1 cup of water and grind coarsely (the batter should be thick – not like the dosai batter).  If the batter is too thick and difficult to grind, add little water at time and grind
  • Transfer the batter to a bowl and add chopped onion, green chili and salt and mix well
  • Heat a skillet or tava and with a paper towel spread some oil on the skillet

  • Add a spoonful of batter to the skillet and add about ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil or ¼ teaspoon butter and cover and cook.
  • Lift the dosai slightly to check whether the bottom is nicely browned.

  • Turn over the dosai and cook the other side until golden brown
  • Serve warm with sambar or coconut chutney
  • Makes about 8 adai