DIANNE BUTLER OUT OF THE BOX
NORMALLY I’m opposed to animals in outfits, unless they’re human animals, or monkeys in adorable onesies, such as the monkey at the start of My Sri Lanka tonight. It’s only a glimpse, a tantalising glimpse, but I hope we’ll meet the monkey again later.
I thought for a while that this was going to be a vanity show, heavy on nostalgia, light on actual cooking and local colour. Peter Kuruvita has returned to the country he lived in from age four to 12, and for the first six and a half minutes tells us about his parents and his childhood, and I kind of don’t care. Even though Peter could scarcely be nicer.
But he is a chef, not a travel presenter or even just a TV personality, and so before long he gets his pans out. He makes three dishes tonight. They’re all pretty easy, which they have to be for television, and also because he’s doing them just standing there out in the open.
The first one is grilled banana prawns, with a black pepper and curry leaf sauce. ‘‘ This is a sauce you have to cook down. It takes time,’’ Peter says. Uh-oh. Nobody
Nostalgic: Peter Kuruvita. wants that. Do they? Or do they? Hard to know. It’s not very difficult. The worst part’s all the chopping. Gee, Peter’s knife work is impressive.
And then he goes to see his nanny who looked after him when he was little. I know, it’s practically Brideshead Revisited. He makes a breadfruit curry with her – it looks fantastic.
And he makes a cashew curry at the end, for the full moon celebration where elephants are draped with pretty fabrics and so on. The curry is really for the priest, because cashews are expensive. Like every culture you can name, the person at the top of the religion gets the good stuff. My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita SBS ONE, 7.30pm