Cuisine - - GINNY GRANT -

Hop­pers (ap­pam) are a tra­di­tional break­fast food in Sri Lanka that can be sweet or savoury. I love them savoury with an egg, and have given recipes for three dif­fer­ent ac­com­pa­ni­ments, all of which can be made in ad­vance. You could choose to make just one or two, or serve the hop­pers with all three. I’m not go­ing to lie – they can be a lit­tle tricky to get right. Af­ter many at­tempts, I’ve gone with an adap­ta­tion of a Char­maine Solomon recipe that uses self-rais­ing flour. I make these with a hop­per pan – a small wok-like pan with a lid. You can buy non-stick ver­sions from (or at 3/875 Do­min­ion Rd in Auck­land). Oth­er­wise use a small (20cm) non-stick fry­ing pan. They need to be eaten im­me­di­ately af­ter mak­ing.


¾ cup luke­warm co­conut wa­ter or wa­ter (plus ex­tra ¼-½ cup) 2 tea­spoons ac­tive dried yeast 2 tea­spoons white sugar ¾ cup co­conut milk 60g (½ cup) rice flour 50g (⅓ cup) self-rais­ing flour 1 tea­spoon salt veg­etable oil for greas­ing the pan 6 eggs, if us­ing

Mix to­gether the co­conut wa­ter, yeast and sugar in a large bowl, stir to dis­solve and set aside for 10 min­utes or un­til it starts to froth. Add the co­conut milk, flours and salt. Whisk to a smooth bat­ter the thick­ness of lightly whipped cream. Cover loosely with plas­tic wrap and set aside for an hour or un­til the mix has dou­bled in size. It will have thick­ened – start adding a lit­tle ex­tra co­conut wa­ter to make it the con­sis­tency of a very lightly thick­ened pour­ing cream.

Use a lightly oiled pa­per towel to grease the pan and set over medium-low heat. Add a small ladle­ful of bat­ter and swirl the pan so the bat­ter coats the pan up around the side. If adding an egg, break one gen­tly into the base of the pan. Cover the hop­per with a lid and cook for 3 min­utes. Use a thin spat­ula to re­move the hop­per. Re­peat with the re­main­ing bat­ter and serve im­me­di­ately.


This chilli-spiked caramelised onion sambol keeps well in the fridge for a week or so. Ad­just the chilli flakes as you like as the heat in­creases the longer it sits.

2 ta­ble­spoons sun­flower oil 3 red onions, sliced 1 tea­spoon salt 2 sprigs curry leaves (about 20 leaves) 2 pan­dan leaves, tied in a knot (op­tional)* 1 stalk lemon­grass, finely chopped 4 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped 3cm piece gin­ger, peeled, grated ½ tea­spoon chilli flakes ½ tea­spoon ground car­damom 1 cin­na­mon stick 1-2 ta­ble­spoons ta­marind puree 2 ta­ble­spoons brown or white sugar

Heat the oil in a fry­ing pan and fry the onion gen­tly with the salt for 10 min­utes or un­til soft­ened. Add the curry leaves, pan­dan leaves, if us­ing, lemon­grass, gar­lic, gin­ger, chilli flakes, car­damom and cin­na­mon and cook slowly for 10 min­utes, cov­er­ing with a lid and stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Add the ta­marind and sugar and cook for an­other few min­utes. Ad­just sea­son­ings to taste and re­move the pan­dan. Set aside to cool.


This is also a good ad­di­tion to the corn tor­tillas on page 104. It’s based on a recipe from Mel­bourne cafe Corner­ship

½ pineap­ple, skin and core re­moved, cut into 5mm dice grated zest and juice of 1 lime ½ chilli, finely chopped ½ cup co­rian­der leaves, chopped 1½ tea­spoons sea salt

Com­bine all the in­gre­di­ents and al­low to sit for 15 min­utes. Put into a clean ster­ilised jar, push­ing down to re­move any air bub­bles. Cover with a lid and sit on the bench for 2 days to fer­ment be­fore stor­ing in the fridge un­til ready to use.


There are two ways to make this – you can soak the fenu­greek seeds overnight, drain, then make as per the recipe with­out hav­ing to leave it overnight ; or you can make it as I have done and al­low the fin­ished gravy to sit overnight be­fore us­ing. The fenu­greek will lose its bit­ter­ness and thicken the sauce, and this is my pre­ferred method. For a more sub­stan­tial gravy, add ¼ cup split red lentils when you add the co­conut milk. If it gets a lit­tle too thick, loosen with some wa­ter.

1 ta­ble­spoon sun­flower oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves gar­lic, chopped 1 tea­spoon fenu­greek seeds 1 tea­spoon turmeric 1 sprig curry leaves (about 10 leaves) 1 cin­na­mon stick 1 pan­dan leaf, tied in a knot* 400ml can co­conut milk juice of 1 lime

Heat the sun­flower oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and fry gen­tly for 5 min­utes. Add the gar­lic, fenu­greek, turmeric, curry leaves, cin­na­mon and pan­dan leaf. Fry for an­other 2-3 min­utes, then add the co­conut milk. Sim­mer very gen­tly un­til re­duced by half – around 15 min­utes. Re­move from the heat and add the lime juice. Al­low the flavours to in­fuse overnight, be­fore re­heat­ing gen­tly, ad­just­ing sea­son­ings and adding more lime juice if nec­es­sary. *Look for frozen pan­dan leaves at Asian food stores.

WINE A per­fumed, lush gewürz – go for the Saint Clair Pi­o­neer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürz­traminer 2016.

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