Monday, July 28, 2014

Sinhalese Traditional Sweets


Kokis is a deep-fried, crispy and sweet Sri Lankan dish made from rice flour and coconut milk. Although considered as a traditional Sri Lankan dish, it is believed to have come from the Dutch. This is an important dish when celebrating Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
Although kokis is considered as a traditional Sri Lankan dish, it is believed to be of Dutch origin, from the time when parts of the country were under Dutch rule during the mid-17th century to the late 18th century. Its name may have been derived from the word koekjes meaning cookies or biscuits in the Dutch language. The Swedish Rosette (cookie) & Persian Bamiyeh would be the most identical dishes for Sri Lankan Kokis.

Sinhalese people prepare and consume a number of traditional dishes, including kokis, to celebrate their new year in mid-April. These are traditionally prepared by the women of the household, usually a few days before the New Year. Nowadays however, they are made mostly by older women, as many people of the younger generation lack the time or the skill and knowledge required to make them due to their busy lifestyles.

Konda Kavum

Konda Kavum is one of the most popular traditional sweets from Sri Lanka. It needs some skill to cook konda kavum, specially to cook Konda Kavum with a nice shape. This oil cake/kavum has a top part and it is said ‘konda(in Sinhala, konda means hair and this top part is similar to a bun of hair) We Sri Lankans celebrate New Year in April. Mostly it falls around 12-14 of April each year and this is a festival we enjoy much. All the traditional dishes get highest place on festive tables and Konda Kavum is one of those sweets.

Kalu Dodol

Kalu dodol is a sweet dish, a type of dodol that is popular in Sri Lanka. The dark and sticky dish consists mainly of kithul jaggery (from the sap of the toddy palm), rice flour and coconut milk. Kalu dodol is a very difficult and time-consuming dish to prepare. The Hambanthota area is famous for the production of this dish.
The Hambanthota area in southern Sri Lanka is famous for kalu dodol, and is sometimes referred to as the kalu dodol capital. The kalu dodol industry is a major source of income for many people in the area. The kalu dodol shops in Hambanthota are frequently visited by pilgrims coming to visit the nearby holy town of Kataragama.

Kalu dodol is believed to have been introduced to Sri Lanka by Malay migrants, perhaps from Indonesia. It has also been attributed to the Portuguese, who occupied parts of the country during the 16th and 17th centuries. With the introduction of artificial ingredients in recent times, the preparation of kalu dodol has occasionally deviated from the traditional recipes.

Kalu dodol, along with other traditional sweets, is commonly prepared and consumed in celebration of the Sinhala New Year. As the process of making the dish is difficult and time consuming, nowadays most people don't make kalu dodol themselves, instead preferring to buy it from shops.

To make the dish, the kithul jaggery and thin coconut milk is mixed and boiled in a large pan until the mixture is reduced to half the original amount. The rice flour, thick coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients are then added. It is necessary to continuously stir the mixture while simmering, to prevent it from burning and sticking to the pan. The oil that floats to the surface of the mixture must also be repeatedly removed. Once the mixture becomes thick, it is poured into a tray, pressed, and left to cool.This labour-intensive process can take up to nine hours. The firm kalu dodol is cut into pieces before serving.