The curfew cuisine diary from Sri Lanka: lockdown eats
As promised, a record of what we've been having during Lockdown, and after
It's been 72 days – yes, you read that right – since Sri Lanka started imposing curfews across the Island in a bid to stop Corvid-19. The draconian measures seem to have worked. As of today, only ten people have been lost to the pandemic, locally, while as of last night, only 1548 people have been confirmed with the dreadful disease. But this diary isn't about what the entire world is on about - it's what we made and what we ate during the lockdown. Welcome to the Curfew Diary.
Sri Lankan Stringhoppers
The Sure-Fire Test. Stringhoppers are available again!
Stringhoppers. I've never had them anywhere else in the world. (That doesn't mean they don't exist somewhere else... there are many places I've yet to see).
Stringhoppers are made by steaming rice flour, adding salt and lukewarm water, and pressing what is a type of dough through a mould. Get the recipe right and it's tough to do. Get it wrong and you'd need the forearms of a strongman to do it, if you can do it at all.
The rice flour-water-salt mixture is squeezed onto a "thachchu" – a small round device made of cane – and then steamed. Like all things simple, this whole process takes years of practice to get right.
When our curfew began, stringhoppers were the first things that weren't available. They have been available for the past week now. A sign that normality is returning.
Stringhoppers can be eaten as a 'base' with everything and anything, from jams to curries to a coconut milk based broth to my favourite – pictured here – half boiled eggs and coconut sambol.