Today, I want to bring all of you with me. I want to give you a taste of one of my favourite childhood dishes. So, without further ado, come with me as I revisit my mother’s kitchen!
I grew up on a hearty diet of home cooked traditional Sri Lankan foods, first lovingly made by my grandma and then by my mom. It was especially important to my mom to preserve the Sri Lankan recipes she grew up on and raise her family on traditional values and food.
I remember that on weekend days, we’d make jackfruit curry from scratch. The middle of the fruit is extremely sticky and as the knife cuts through it, the white sticky substance sticks to anything that touches it and is incredibly hard to get rid of. This is the reason that my grandma oiled the knife and her hands first. She’d then cut the fruit into several pieces, extract the chunks and separate the seeds and finally it was ready to cook.
Once she’d added water to it and start firing, she then started slowly adding red onion, garlic cloves, red chilli, finely chopped, cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, ground black pepper, fenugreek seeds, ground turmeric, pieces of cinnamon, curry leaves and finally the coconut milk. When the mixture started to boil was when my mouth started to water. I remember each step was a serious labour of love.
My grandmother had these rustic wood fire stoves made of clay where all the slow-cooked curries were made and when she made jackfruit curry half of the seeds would be covered with hot charcoal. What emerged nutty, slightly starchy seeds that can be tossed with a bit of salt and chilli powder and made a great tea time snack to munch on.
But of course, as time went on and our personal schedules got fuller and so it is always the memory of my mother’s beautiful curries that comes to mind whenever I come across home-made cooking. Now the cycle of life has taken me away from my mother’s jackfruit curries and now sadly no matter how hard I search, I cannot find anything even near par with my mother’s jackfruit curry. My wife like me loves jackfruit curry but I sigh with disappointment – “this isn’t good,” I say. “You haven’t had my mother’s.”