Sri Lankan New Year
Everything’s in bloom! With the approach of April and the dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, it seems as though nature itself is preparing to welcome the festive season. Avurudu falls on the 14th April this year (as with most years) and as most celebrations in Sri Lanka, Sinhala New Year is characterized by the many traditional Avurudu Food prepared for the occasion. And these treats inevitably have their own place in the Sri Lankan food scene.
The smell of cooking, frying, baking and the hustle and bustle that is characteristic of the season hasn’t started as of yet. However, time is right for us to get pounding, grinding, sifting, seeping all those amazing little treats for the Sri Lankan New Year. In the spirit of the season, I’m going to share with you a few Avurudu recipes that I have in my repertoire.
A true Sri Lankan classic, “Kiribath” or Milk Rice as the Westerners call it, is a traditional breakfast dish as well as a celebratory treat for special occasions. In some Asian cultures including Sri Lanka, milk and rice is a significant symbol of prosperity, luck and happiness in abundance. Milk Rice is mainly cooked during the Sinhalese New Year and various festive and auspicious occasions, while locals also have the tradition of cooking this creamy mild flavoured rice cake on the first day of every month.
Kevum, or oil cakes are considered as a bit tricky to make but once you’ve mastered the art, you will be churning these babies out at double the speed. With a crispy skin on the outside and a moist and doughy inside, this delicacy is made up of kithul treacle, rice flour and coconut milk.
Deep fried urad dhal batter is immersed in a thick, sweet and spiced syrup to create this juicy wonder. While pani walalu remains a thorough favorite among Sri Lankans, only a few can make it perfectly. And I have never come across any pani walalu any where in the country as good as my mother makes them.
A unique sweetmeat in Sri Lanka, Mung Kevum is a crowd pleaser during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year as well as any other auspicious occasion. You may think it is an arduous task, but on the contrary. You can enjoy a bit of Sri Lankan flavours while at it.
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).
There are two ways to make Sri Lankan muscat. One with coconut milk and coconut oil, and the other with ghee and vegetable oil. Note that sometimes it is spelled Muscat and Musket, depending on each one's preference. I have not been able to verify which is correct, but since my old recipe books spell it as 'Muscat', I have opted for that.
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.
In the new year season, we make a lot of sweets. Among them, as per the new tradition Pol toffee holds a special place. A lot of people buy Pol toffees from sweet shops for the new year season. Do you know it is very easy to make pol toffee at home? This is the recipe for very tasty pol toffee.
Enjoyed especially during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, this nutty sweetmeat which is also known as the Sri Lankan cashews slice is a simple dessert to prepare. You will be able to taste the roasted rice flour, a little bit of fragrance from the cardamom and also the nuttiness of the cashew once you bite into the gooey goodness. A traditional New Year sweet, the Aluwa can be enjoyed any time during the year if you can get your hands on the ingredients. We have provided you with an easy recipe that Sri Lankans follow.
Mung Guli is a traditional Sri Lankan sweet which is almost similar to Mung Kavum. Both are almost similar, mung kavum is diamond in shape where mung guli shape is a ball. In April we celebrate New Year in Sri Lanka and this is the time where most of the authentic sweets come into the dining table. Among many other sweets, Mung guli is one of the easiest sweets which anyone can try at home. Chances are very low for a failed cooking attempt. Mung guli is basically cooked with rice flour and mung beans flour, so the taste includes flavors of mung beans. The outer layer is bit hard or crispy where inside is like melting in the mouth.
Naran Kavum is an easy, tasty alternative if you're not in the mood for Konda Kavum new year season. Naran Kavum is a sweet dish which mainly had coconut, sugar and rice flour as ingredients. It very much resembles our sukiyan in appearance and taste. We generally use jaggery as the sweetener in sukhiyan but lankan use sugar for sweetening.
Athirasa is a very delicious new year sweets in Sri Lanka. Almost all household prepared Athirasa for Sinhala and Tamil new year. Preparing Athirasa is not a difficult thing if you follow correct steps.
Aasmi is a traditional Sri Lankan deep-fried sweet snack, which is served on Aluth Avurudda/Puthandu (the Sinhalese/Tamil New Years), weddings and birthdays. It is made with a combination rice flour and coconut milk, which is mixed with juice extracted from davul kurundu leaves (cinnamon leaves) and then deep fried in coconut oil. Okra juice is often used as a substitute for kurundu. It is then rested for a few days before deep fried again and topped with sugar syrup mixed with food colouring.