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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Colours of Sri Lanka

Not many places serve authentic Sri Lankan dishes. Makan Kitchen at DoubleTree by Hilton is running 'Colours of Sri Lanka' with 2 guest chefs flown in from Hilton Colombo Residence, Sri Lanka.

Chef Ajith Hewa Bandula and Chef Harsha Wijesinghe will be preparing a selection of traditional specialties from their own passed down recipes. Set in a buffet style, diners can enjoy traditional dishes including fish ambul thiyal, which is Sri Lankan’s famed sour fish curry, Negombo tempered prawns, beef baduma (tender beef marinated with crushed black pepper), mutton black curry, polos ambul (young jack fruit curry), pol rotti with katta sambol (coconut flat bread with spicy gravy), battered fried chili mushroom, Sri Lankan hoppers and sweet Sri Lankan desserts. 

When we visited last Thursday, we were treated to a spectacular gastronomic adventure. For me, the greatest highlight was perhaps being able to catch the 2 chefs in action cooking Negombo Tempered Prawn and Traditional Sri Lankan Chicken Curry before us. I will be sharing both recipes next week. Meanwhile, here's the pics from last Thursday!
Chef Ajith Hewa Bandula and Chef Harsha Wijesinghe who have a combined culinary experience of more than 25 years in Sri Lankan cuisine cooked 2 dishes before our very eyes. Must say that the smell of the spices certainly made my tummy rumble. 
Negombo Tempered Prawns is certainly one of my favourite dish for the night. Each prawn is thoroughly coated with aromatic herbs and spices including mustard, lemongrass, drumstick leaves, cinnamon, cardamon and lime.
Traditional Sri Lankan Chicken Curry is also known as Chicken Black Curry. Nothing is instant here as the Chefs made the curry powder from scratch on their own. The roasted curry powder is made of cumin, coriander, sweet cumin, cardamon, cloves, turmeric and fenugreek. Even though this dish contains coconut milk, it is not overly rich. It was a perfect balance of flavours and I reckon its a the beautiful mix of ingredients including rampe also known as Pandan leaves or Screwpine leaves.
Ala Thel Dala or Potato Tempered - This spicy mouth watering dish may be a tad spicy for some at first bite. But upon chewing this dish is actually a perfect blend of spicy and sweet. The sweetness I learned actually comes from the type of potato being used.
Sri Lankan Dhal Curry is certainly different from the usual dhal that we are accustomed to in Malaysia. This is a lovely thick dish and it does seem like its a lentil mash which had me having some urges to banjir (drown) my rice with this lovely curry.
Fish Ambhutiyal is a famous Sri Lankan dish made of tuna fishes. Traditionally cooked in claypot, this dish has a unique salty and sour taste with a mild banana leaf scent to it. 
Sri Lankan Style Mutton Stew with its tender pieces of mutton and lovely rich gravy was the obvious favourite with the dining buddies on my table. Lots of ooohs and aaahhhs. 
Mango Ambula or mango curry was my obvious favourite. Spicy and sour from the lovely mangoes and tamarind. I confess that because of this dish, I actually requested for extra rice!
Sri Lankan Curry Noodles tasted a tad bland to me. I couldn't quite taste the curry but it was yummy when I added the Mango Ambula to it!
Hean Batha – Sri Lankan Special Rice with Seeds is a lovely mix of red rice with assorted seeds. What impressed me is that the brown rice is fluffy unlike many places that serve brown rice mushy or too hard. I wanted to ask the chefs how did they cook it but had totally forgotten:P
Tempered vegetable curry. Similar to the curry noodle, this seemed a mild dish but it was definitely tasty with flavours from the various spices and coconut milk.
Vegetable Drumstick Soup is totally comforting! Creamy, thick and flavourful, I was rather surprised that the hubster was looking out for more of this lovely soup!
And I present to you drumstick leaves! The drumstick that you have in mind isn't quite what you think it is:P This is largely used in Sri Lankan cooking for its taste and health properties.
Traditional Sri Lankan Hoppers. A little similar to our local appam but this is served with a condiment of sweet sambal though I preferred it as is. One can opt for plain hoppers or with egg which is topped with soem chili flakes. This is made upon request from the action counter.
Soothe the tummy with your choice of lassi. Yoghurt blended with your choice of fruits including apples, starfruit or strawberries.
Sri Lankan desserts are sweet...but I surprisingly found them lovely. The chefs had not adjusted the sweetness to our local tastebuds but it was still lovely. Choose from Vatallapan, Bibi khan, Kalu Dodol, and Kiri Toffee. 
Not a fan of dodol in general but I was totally smitten with the Kalu Dodol made of coconut milk, rice flour, sugar cardamon and nuts. Had quite a few slices of it washed down with a cup of hot tea:D
And if you love fruit cakes, then Bibi khan is a must!

The Colours of Sri Lanka promotion will be available until 29th March 2013. Pricing is as follows:
• Weekday lunch @ RM62++ per adult 
• Weekday dinner @ RM85++ per adult 
• Weekendhigh tea at RM55++ per adult. 
• Children below the age of 12 years will be charged at half price for the buffet. 
Note that CIMB credit card holders who spend a minimum of RM250 on nett bill will be entitled to participate in the ‘Win a Trip to Sri Lanka’ contest for two persons inclusive of air flight tickets and a 4 days/ 3 nights stay at Hilton Colombo Residences.

And when you dine in you can also check out the other offerings from Makan Kitchen including Chinese, Malaya and Nyonya!
Chef Ajith Hewa Bandula and Chef Harsha Wijesinghe from Hilton Colombo Residence, Sri Lanka

Makan Kitchen
Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur
T: +603 2172 7272 / 7680
Online reservation: www.makan-kitchen.com


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