2006 – Exactly 10 years ago I visited Sri Lanka, Colombo and then Beruwala. Long before Peter Kuruvita made it a ‘fashionable’ destination to visit, through his culinary series on TLC.
Shattering of pre-conceived notions- that is how I would define my visit to Sri Lanka. You go into it thinking of it as a poor cousin, one of the low profile countries in South Asia without the staggering growth rate of India. You go into it knowing that you will be the “foreign” tourist there and expecting attention.But let me tell you that, if you go in with the same notions I did, it is likely to blow up in your face, like it did for me 🙂
Of course – the local people are extremely welcoming and warm. But, gorgeous does not even begin to describe the little island country – starting with Colombo. The pebbled roads in parts of the city, the drive overlooking the Indian Ocean on one side, the by-lanes that are filled with shops selling the indigenous Sri Lankan tea to the clothes of all foreign brands !
And then the visit to Beruwala – The beauty of the pristine beaches can just take your breath away as does the kind of resilience that people were going on with despite the fact that a lot of the beach resort-fronts had been destroyed by the Tsunami.
So what I have tried to do here is recreate a little bit from the place I truly loved and felt the urge to visit, again and again.
This bake here has its roots in Sri Lanka in terms of its flavours – It is a Coconut Milk & Coconut Sugar based Creme Caramel inspired from Watalappam which is a coconut custard pudding made of coconut milk, spices and jaggery. The drizzle is from organic liquid Jaggery. It has no flour or butter or oil 🙂 The coconut-jaggery combination totally shines through in bites.
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 coconut sugar
1/3 cup water
400ml coconut milk
1 1/2 cups regular milk
5 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup brown or white sugar whatever you prefer
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
Preheat oven to 175°C. Combine the white sugar, coconut sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until the sugars dissolve. Continue to cook and let it come to a boil. Do not stir or mix it with a spoon. Pour the caramel mixture evenly among the number of ramekins you have and set them aside.
Whisk together the coconut milk, milk, eggs, brown sugar, cardamom powder together really well so that there are no lumps.
Pour over the caramel mixture in the ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a large deep baking dish and pour enough boiling water which reaches upto half the height of the ramekins. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until the custards are just set. Let it cool off for an hour. You can chill them overnight or for some hours in the fridge.
Run a flat palette knife around the inside edge of the ramekins and slowly turn onto serving plates. Drizzle the liquid jaggery and serve.