Jasintha's Dhal, Rice & Curry and Brinjal Salad

This recipe is really, really good but it take a bit of time. An hour and a half, to be exact. But it's so worth it because it's absolutely delicious. Who better to learn it from than from a local? Jasintha took the time to teach me how to make three Sri Lankan dishes and I was standing by the stove for nearly two hours, taking notes in the dizzying heat coming from the stove (and from the outside because we are in the tropics, mind you), sweat running down my back, tasting the food that Jasintha fed me, and smelling the exotic spices. If the language barrier turned out to be too great (although I was trying really hard to understand her Sri Lankan English), she simply shook her head and showed me in silence what needs to be done. In the end, I think I nailed it down with the recipes. Here's what you need:

100 g red dhal
1 small clove of garlic
3 green chillis
4 small tomatoes
2 small eggplants
500 g cleaned prawns
15 fresh curry leaves
1 cup of red basmati rice
unroasted curry powder
turmeric powder
coconut oil
1 cinnamon stick
black pepper, salt
1 lime
soy sauce
10 basil leaves
1 tsp sugar

1.       Boil 1,5 cup of salted water
2.       Wash the red basmati rice thoroughly with tap water, rinse it, add it to the boiling water
3.       Add half of spoon of unroasted curry powder and a pinch of turmeric powder to the boiling rice
4.       Cook for 20-30 minutes, depending how you like your rice

1.       Boil 200 ml salted water
2.       Wash 100 g of dhal with tap water, rinse it, add it to the boiling water, cook for 20-30 minutes, depending how you like your dhal
3.       Pour coconut oil into the frying pan, when hot, add ½ of the garlic clove, 5 fresh curry leaves, ¼ of the cinnamon stick, stir
4.       Add cooked dhal to the frying pan. Stir and it's ready to be served.

1.       Sprinkle half a teaspoon of turmeric on the prawns and wash them with tap water. Ideally, there should be yellow patches of turmeric left on them
2.       Heat the coconut oil in the frying pan, add ½ of the garlic clove, 10 fresh basil leaves and 10 fresh curry leaves
3.       Stir and cook until golden brown
4.       Add the prawns and stir. Cook until golden brown
5.       Add ½ spoon of curry powder, ¼ of cinnamon stick, a pinch of black pepper, a pinch of oregano, a pinch of turmeric powder
6.       Thinly slice 2 tomatoes and 3 green chillis
7.       Stir. Add salt and add the tomatoes and the chillis
8.       Cook for cca 15 minutes

Brinjal Salad:
1.       Pour quite a generous amount of coconut oil into the frying pan
2.       Thinly slice two small eggplants
3.       Fry the slices of eggplants til golden brown
4.       Thinly slice 1 small onion, 2 small tomatoes into a bowl
5.       Add ½ lime juice, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt
6.       Mix with your fingersJ
7.       Place the fried slices of eggplants onto a plate covered with a serviette and let the serviette absorb the excess coconut oil
8.       Add the eggplant slices to the salad mixture and slightly crunch them down with your fingers. Serve.

Here's what Jasintha served me in the end.

Bon apetit!

Teja xoxo

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