For some reason there seem to be a lot of “K” words in Sinhala, especially when it comes to vegetables.
Food is an important part of the culture of Sri Lanka, and discovering some of the more exotic fruits and vegetables and how they are prepared has been a joyful experience I’ve shared with my friends – and sundry farmers and stallholders – these last twenty years.
Since I became a blogger, my cataloging has become more methodical and a while ago I was surprised to find I had a little collection of “K” vegetables which I put aside to make into a post when Frizz’s Flickr Comments reached Tagged “K”. What to do? This week I’m supposed to be finalising the ‘for sale’ lists and taking measurements and photographs, deciding how much I can ask for the sofas and the lovely old Jaffna Chest that I can’t take out of the country because of its’ ebony inlay … but I can’t forsake the “K” veggies!
Kessel Muwa – the flower pod of the banana – always treated as a vegetable
Karapincha – a pretty small tree of the Murraya family than which there is no smell more redolent of the Sri Lankan kitchen – especially of it being roasted, or flash fried to be served as a crispy accompaniment, as one might do parsley.
Karawila – bitter gourd, an acquired taste perhaps, but absolutely delicious fried and made into a tangy symbol with sweet red onions and tomatoes … the hairy little green balls of the header shot are a different variety of karawila called Thumba.
Kohila Ala – a water-loving root vegetable with spectacular spear-shaped leaves on softly barbed stems, and large tuberous roots.
Kathuramurunga Mal – The large fleshy white flowers of the kataramurunga tree (the leaves of which are famously used in Jaffna prawn curry, or Mo’s kakuluwo (crabs) curry
Kadju – fresh, crunchy cashew nuts have a slightly milky flavour and are refreshing to eat, as is, if you see a woman shucking them at the flower market, but really, they make the king of vegetable curries – a white curry of kadju with fresh green peas.
Kankung – Ipomea aquatica – water spinach, morning glory – absolutely delicious as a stir fry, no matter what name you give it!
and last, but not least, the green rice and garlic soup known as Kola Kanda – green eats, traditionally served at breakfast (or pre-dawn at the monasteries) can be prepared from any number of greens. A little like the Italians, Sri Lankan housewives love to collect fresh herbs and grasses from the veggie patch to prepare this delicious soup.