Spicy and fully capable of making food connoisseurs swoon at the merest mention of its name, the Jaffna Style Crab Curry is simply a heavenly treat. Originating in the Northern parts of Sri Lanka where there’s an ample supply of Fresh Sea Crab all year-round, this is one dish Sri Lankans say you should be ashamed of for not trying at least once.
As noted on the always-superb blog “Serious Eats”:
“”Is it like Indian food?” That’s the first question most people ask about Sri Lankan cuisine—if they know where the tiny island nation is, which is rare. (It’s just southeast of the southern tip of India).
My stock answer? “Sort of.”
There are some common elements, to be sure. But the “rice and curry” spreads that make up most Sri Lankan meals are pretty different from the northern saag paneer or Goan vindaloo at your local lunch buffet. Sri Lankan food offers a vivid array of flavor combinations: sweet caramelized onion relishes, bitter melon, spicy scraped coconut, and the burn of curry tamed by mild rice, and palm sugar sweetened desserts.
Samosas and dhal (lentil curry) look familiar, but upon closer inspection, these, too, have a definitively Sri Lankan spin: these thinner curries tend to be more heavily spiced than many Indian versions, and the cuisine is more inclusive of non-native ingredients, brought by international trade moving through the island.
Sri Lankan food is not for the timid eater: the fiery curries, sweet caramelized onion in seeni sambal (onion relish), and sour lime pickle are all dominant, powerful flavors that startle awake senses dulled by the thick, hot island air. While visitors to the island—or those eating in Sri Lankan restaurants outside the country—may find watered down versions, most Sri Lankan cooking is unapologetically, punch-you-in-the-face, get-the-adrenaline-pumping flavored.
Deep red “Jaffna curry,” usually Tamil-style versions from the northern part of the island, is most often made with goat and with seafood.
I use my own blend of the unique Jaffna curry powder and have made this dish as only TFD can!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
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