'The Bridge on the River Kwai' Sri Lankan Menu

by Celeste Heiter, Jan 30, 2008 | Destinations: Sri Lanka
Spicy Vinegared Shrimp

Spicy Vinegared Shrimp

Spicy Vinegared Shrimp
Fish Curry
Curried Ribs
Spiced Rice
This richly spicy Sri Lankan-inspired menu features Sinhalese Pickled Vegetables, Spicy Vinegared Shrimp, Curried Ribs, Fish Curry, Spiced Rice, Cucumber and Tomatoes in Yogurt, and Spirited Tropical Fruit Salad.  
Sinhalese Pickled Vegetables
1 knob ginger root, finely shredded
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 cups vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1" pieces
24 pearl onions, whole
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Grind the mustard seed and 1 teaspoon of the vinegar to a paste with a pestle and set aside. Pour remaining vinegar into a pan. Add sugar, ginger, garlic, mustard paste, turmeric and salt and stir to blend. Bring to a boil, add the onions, carrots, beans, and chile pepper, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate overnight to marry flavors. Sinhalese pickles may also be whirred in the food processor to make a tasty relish.
Sri Lankan Vinegared Shrimp
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
knob ginger root, finely shreded.
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup vinegar
In a large bowl, combine shrimp, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds, jalapeno and salt. Stir gently to evenly coat the shrimp with spices and allow to marinate for 1 hour. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add shallot and stir-fry until tender. Add marinated shrimp and stir-fry until shrimp are just pink. Add vinegar, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 3 minutes. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4.
Sri Lankan Curried Ribs
4 pounds short ribs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 knob ginger root, finely shredded
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 tablespoon Sri Lankan curry powder (see recipe)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 large can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and garlic and stir-fry until tender and golden. Add ginger, jalapeno pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt, and  continue stir-frying for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, water, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until thickened.
Remove from heat, and set aside to cool. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until thoroughly blended. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until time to cook the ribs.
Fill a large kettle with water and bring to a boil. Add ribs, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Remove ribs from water and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Brush both sides of ribs with barbeque sauce and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake ribs for about 1 hour, turning and basting with sauce every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Sri Lanka Curry Powder
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1  cinnamon stick
6  green cardamoms
3 cloves
  curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add corriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, and heat, stirring frequently, until they turn brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer toasted spices to a spice grinder or blender. Add curry leaves and cayenne and grind to a fine powder. Use immediately, or store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.

Sri Lankan Fish Curry
1 pound firm fish filets (tuna, halibut, catfish, etc.), cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
knob ginger root, finely shredded
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/2 cup water
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic to the pan and stir-fry until tender. Add fish and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add ginger, tomatoes, turmeric, lime juice, fish sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Return fish to the pan, reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until sauce is thickened and fish is tender. Serve with rice.
Sri Lankan Spiced Rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups basmati rice
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 knob ginger root, finely shredded
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups water
1 stick whole cinnamon
6 whole cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup cashew nuts, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pan or baking dish with a tight-fitting lid. Add rice, onions and garlic and stir-fry until onion is tender and rice is opaque. Stir in ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and raisins. Add water, bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove rice from the oven. Stir in cashews. Serves 4 to 6.
Tropical Fruit Salad
1 mango
1 pineapple
1 banana
1 mandarin orange
2 ounces rum
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Peel all fruits and cut into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. add lime juice, sugar, vanilla and rum and stir gently to blend. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Serves 4 to 6