An Auspicious Breakfast

New year’s morning in Paradise

Breakfast 1

I’d barely served myself a pristine diamond of kiribath topped with spicy lunu miris

Breakfast 2

when my neighbour arrived with a plate piled high with traditional goodies

Those who know me know I’m the least superstitious of people, but I do love learning about – and even better, participating in – others’ traditions and customs.  With red and white kiribath, and two varieties of bananas, I feel assured of an auspicious start to 2013.

I really don’t understand why bananas are a prerequisite for every celebration here in Sri Lanka – they just are, I’m told, and people go to extraordinary lengths to have their bananas just right on the day – burying them in pits, hanging them from the rafters, covering them in cloth.  To me, a banana is nature’s perfectly packaged snack food, and like life, is robust yet surprisingly delicate, and full of delicious experiences which nurture our bodies and enliven our senses.

Close your eyes and take a bite.  The first sensation os of the slightly powdery texture of the outer layer, then as you bight down on it, the flesh reveals itself to be of the consistency of a perfect panne cotte, just sweet, hint of lemon, and the faint scent of cloves ...

This is an Ana Malu banana – the king of bananas, in my opinion. Close your eyes and take a bite. The first sensation is of the slightly powdery texture of the outer layer, then, as you bite down on it, the flesh reveals itself to be the creamy consistency of a perfect panna cotta, just sweet, with a hint of lemon, and the faint scent of cloves …

May the year ahead be filled with joy and stimulation, love, happiness and above all, good health.

58 thoughts on “An Auspicious Breakfast

  1. I read this post’s title in my Inbox and rushed over. “An Auspicious Breakfast” could only mean one thing: You found cheese! Well, as you know I was wrong and, on second thought, a serving of cheese would probably fall more into the category of “Miraculous” rather than “Auspicious.”
    Perhaps the bananas will bring you luck, in the form of 450 g of fresh ricotta. Stranger things have happened. Happy New Year!

  2. Hi,
    All the food looks delicious, I also love bananas, and some people even barbeque the bananas here, very nice.
    I wish you all the very best for the New Year.

    • I don’t see why not – they’re delicious pan fried with a little brown sugar, or mashed up and made into little fritters with palm syrup (or maple syrup, i guess) but I have to admit for health, and the perfect enjoyment of every mouthful, i prefer to peel my banana and eat it slowly, savouring every delicious morsel. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you too!

  3. That sounds a bit like the Scottish tradition of First Footing. The first person – supposed to be a tall dark man – to visit on New Year’s Day arrives with a log or a lump of coal, to ensure that you would always have a fire in the hearth, a piece of shortbread, to ensure that you always have food on the table, and a bottle of whisky, to ensure………..

    • When I’m in Australia I used to try to have a banana a day – the sweet little Lady’s Fingers were my choice, but I see they’re $1.60 each these days 😦

      New Years greetings to you too 🙂

  4. Yum. When my kids get leg cramps, I tell them they need to eat more bananas. ; ) We always have some around the house… though I doubt they are as fresh or auspicious as the ones you get. We had black eyed peas, greens and cornbread as our New Year’s traditional meal. It’s a Southern thing. Prosperity and all that…

    Happy New Year! I hope the new year brings you lots of positive adventures.

  5. Bananas can be very good, or tasteless. My best were tiny ones on La Gomera in the Canaries. But please don’t offer me banoffee pie! Glad you had such a nice time.

  6. Looks delicious and enticing! I don’t know about kiribath. But do know about bananas – we produce and eat large quantities of those here in Jamaica and we have those little fat ones in the picture too – so sweet! But we don’t go to such lengths to have them just right. In the UK I used to eat semi-green ones and thought they were fine. Now I know… they are not!

    • Oh yeah, those cardboard-like things they sell in the shops – even in Australia, sometimes. I used not to be a great fan of bananas – I grew up on an irrigation area where imported fruit was banned (for decades, until it was agreed it could be fumigated) and so od’d on bananas once when we went to Sydney when I was a kid – huge allergic reaction that put me off them somewhat. But an Ana Malu banana … well that’s something else again!

      Kiribath is a sort of risotto, with the rice cooked in coconut milk, and just a touch of cinnamon. It’s luscious, especially when teamed with the hot spicy tang of lunu miris (an onion and chilli sambol), or a hot red meat curry (I prefer the lunu miris!) 🙂

  7. Oh how I miss those foods and yeah Sri Lankans have a special love affair with bananas. I love them. 🙂 Anyway hope you have a wonderful year ahead with more adventure. 🙂

  8. Bananas, kiribath and lunu miris – I would love to have all three for breakfast! It reminds me of the hearty ones I had in Indonesia from a cosy streetside eatery with low plastic stools. Bama raved about the food in Paradise when he was there, shame I couldn’t join him on that trip! The ana malu banana sounds divine – you describe it with such wonderful detail. 🙂 Best wishes for the New Year, Meredith!

    • Every time I eat an ana malu I ask myself why i enjoy it so much – what makes it different from ordinary bananas, and the only way to answer that question was to close my eyes and examine the sensations …

      Thanks James – and here’s hoping your career in travel continues to forge ahead – while still leaving time for travel, and other pursuits, of course!

  9. The Ana Malu sounds divine! There are so many varieties of bananas in the subcontinent that one’s choice is intensely personal. I love the tiny ones called ‘Elakki’ with a faint scent of cardamom, (from Mangalore of course :-D)
    Kiribath I shall have to try when I get to Paradise….soon I hope.

    • Make a mental note – kiribath and lunu miris for breakfast, your first morning in Paradise! What a shame I won’t be here to welcome you – that would have been so nice.

      Elakki – with a whiff of cardamom? Sounds heavenly – i do love cardamom 🙂

    • Poor thing … So deprived! Here and in India we don’t call our bananas after the major brands. Not for us Chikita bananas, or Dole bananas, nor even Red Tipped bananas to denote ‘organically’ grown bananas. No! Here we have dozens of varieties, all with sweet names like ladies fingers, or Ana malu … And they’re all different. Madhu told me of her favourite, a small banana with a hint of cardamom. How delicious :).

      Having said that, I must remember to add a sweet juicy apple to my list of things to look forward to back in Oz!

  10. My husband and I really want to visit Sri Lanka this year – I have only just read the above, but cannot wait to learn more about the place, people and the culture. Thank you for sharing.

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