I've always loved cooking and eating seafood, but getting the freshest seafood has always been a challenge... until moving to Sri Lanka.
I think it's "an absolute must" to make the most of what's readily available where you live. Here in Colombo (or along much of the coast of Sri Lanka) you can easily purchase fresh seafood - a variety of fish, prawns, squid or cuttlefish, shark, crab and more.
If you live near the beaches where the fishermen take their boats out, it's possible to buy seafood right off the boat directly from the fishermen every morning. Or, in the mornings around those same neighborhoods, you can hear the shouts of "malu malu" as sellers carry their daily catches on a weighing device on their shoulders from street-to-street.
Sometimes, you also see sellers or touts holding up crabs and other seafood for sale along Marine Drive, which runs parallel to Galle Road in Colombo. This is quite a sight! Not a great one, if you're allergic to seafood
You can also buy seafood at the supermarket, but freshness is not always guaranteed depending on location. And there are fishmongers scattered in various locations. You have to check them out for freshness, variety, hygiene and price competitiveness.
Now, for the recipe...
Serves 4 people
2 cups of rice
1 large spanish onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 whole leek
4 large carrots
200 grams snake beans (or runner beans)
200 grams peas
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemongrass (optional)
chilli flakes (optional)
300 grams squid (or cuttlefish)
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chilli powder (or according to your preference)
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soya sauce
1 cup chick pea flour (also known as gram flour)
olive oil or vegetable oil (for deep frying squid)
*You can add other seafood to this recipe. Prawns or fish also work well with the recipe.
Wash the two cups of rice, add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook rice. Once cooked, keep warm for later.
Clean the squid and cut into squid rings. Marinate the squid with the crushed garlic, chilli powder, ginger powder, worcestershire sauce and soya sauce. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
Prepare and wash the vegetables. Slice and finely chop the onion. Peel the garlic and crush. Finely chop the lemongrass (optional).
Place in the frypan and fry with olive oil for a few minutes.
Add the sliced and chopped vegetables to the onion and garlic. Stir fry for a few minutes till tender. Add the soya sauce, salt and pepper.
Add the cooked rice gradually to the stir-fried vegetables and gently mix over the heat. Add chilli flakes (optional).
Fry the fried rice till rice and vegetables are well cooked together (approximately 5-10 minutes). Set aside.
Heat the oil for deep frying in a pot. Beat the egg. Coat the marinated squid rings with the beaten egg mixture. Then coat the squid rings with chickpea flour and deep fry in the heated oil for a few minutes. Once cooked, remove the fried squid rings from oil and rest on newspaper or something to absorb any excess oil.
Note - squid does not take very long to cook. Usually I deep fry till golden color.
You can keep the squid rings as they are and add to the fried rice, but I've found that chopping them into smaller pieces makes for a better dish. The main reason is because almost every mouthful of fried rice ends up having spicy squid.
After chopping the spicy squid into smaller pieces, stir into the fried rice and mix well.
I usually save a few squid rings for presentation when serving the dish!
For more food writing on Sri Lanka:
- Tuesday's Tasty Morsel: Bitter Gourd
- Tuesday's Tasty Morsel: Kurakkan
- My Sri Lankan Food Diary: Just an average week of eating
- Second instalment of "My Sri Lankan Food Diary": Just another average week of eating