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Exotic Tastes Of Sri Lanka [Hardcover]

Suharshini Seneviratne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2003
The breathtaking island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, separated from southeastern India by a mere 30-mile chain of shoals. This proximity to India has had an inevitable effect on Sri Lanka's cuisine, as did the successive Portuguese, Dutch, and British occupations. However, over the centuries the majority of these dishes have been modified to suit the local palate. Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka highlights the gamut of flavors of this cuisine, which runs from hot and spicy to comforting and mild.

The chapters of Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka are devoted to short eats (appetizers), salads, staples, vegetarian dishes, poultry, meat and egg recipes, seafood preparations, desserts, and sweetmeats (treats). An array of exotic ingredients that is key and integral to Sri Lankan cuisine enhances the dishes. For instance, gambooge, with its uniquely sour flavor, is often used in traditional seafood preparations like Fish Ambul Thiyal, while either grated coconut or coconut milk intensify most recipes, including Pumpkin Kalu Pol Curry. Local staples are delectable works of art, such as exquisite Stringhoppers, Hoppers, and Pittu.

Since the entrées revolve around the nation's favorite ingredient, rice, the loosely coined term "rice and curry" best describes Sri Lankan cuisine. Other staple ingredients include coconut (milk, oil, grated), as well as aromatic herbs and spices such as curry leaves, mint, coriander and fennel seeds, and cloves. Sri Lanka offers a particularly impressive repertoire of vegetarian and seafood preparations.

Sample menus, explanations of spice uses and availability, typical cooking techniques, and descriptions of traditional utensils complement the 157 recipes, all adapted for home cooks.


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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Sri Lankan cooking made easy Jan. 9 2004
By Reader
Format:Hardcover
This book is a must have cookbook for those craving for traditional Sri Lankan food. For someone like myself who was intimidated by traditional cooking, this book has made it simple. It has numerous Sinhala and Tamil recipes that are well described in step-by-step process. This book contains sample menus (wonderful idea), explanations on spices, utensils and measurements, which are of great help for a novice.
Traditional thosai, pittu, idly, yellow rice, dhal curry (parippu), cabbage mallum, kale mallum, crunchy carrot salad, spicy chicken curry and vara (fish), are all included in my meal rotation (delicious recipes). There are many more recipes to try out...and I am getting there!!!!. :)
Read the recipe till the end before beginning to cook. There are hints and alternatives that may save you time.
A must have book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka Nov. 26 2003
Format:Hardcover
A lot of recipes for the price. I have already tried out two of the dishes (yellow rice and capsicum badun) and they came out excellent!! - had a lot of praise from friends who enjoyed it. There is a wide selection of rice dishes, curries, appetizers and desserts. Also recipes for a lot of "village" dishes for which the ingredients can be bought at an Asian Store. Excellent book for Srilankan cooking that is easy for even the amatuer cook.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The easy recipes don't need much embellishment Nov. 14 2003
Format:Hardcover
Suharshini Sene Viratne's Exotic Tastes Of Sri Lanka presents exotic dishes ranging from Traditional Hoppers (coconut-infused crepes) to Ash Plaintain Curry and Mango Fantasy. It doesn't hold much in the way of pictures, but the easy recipes don't need much embellishment and the coverages are welcomed rarities in a cookbook genre which holds surprisingly little in either area.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EASY, Easy, easy and delicious recipes Oct. 4 2009
Format:Hardcover
Easy and delicious recipies. Lots of explanations and easy to follow. Put away Charmaine's book and find out how easily you can cook your own Sri Lanka dishes. You don't need help from servants! Also includes Tamil and regional recipes. A nice variety of dishes and a wonderful book!!! This book is not only interesting to read but has easy to follow recipes that taste great.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Sri Lankan cooking made easy Jan. 9 2004
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is a must have cookbook for those craving for traditional Sri Lankan food. For someone like myself who was intimidated by traditional cooking, this book has made it simple. It has numerous Sinhala and Tamil recipes that are well described in step-by-step process. This book contains sample menus (wonderful idea), explanations on spices, utensils and measurements, which are of great help for a novice.
Traditional thosai, pittu, idly, yellow rice, dhal curry (parippu), cabbage mallum, kale mallum, crunchy carrot salad, spicy chicken curry and vara (fish), are all included in my meal rotation (delicious recipes). There are many more recipes to try out...and I am getting there!!!!. :)
Read the recipe till the end before beginning to cook. There are hints and alternatives that may save you time.
A must have book.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an "okay" cookbook on Sri Lankan food Sept. 22 2009
By Brett Borders - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While this is not a bad book, I think most of the other reviews here are overly generous. This is an eclectic and not-so-polished cookbook. The descriptions of each dish... made to make them seem enticing...are written in bizarre Sri Lankan English with lots of hyperbole and unintended absurdity. However, the recipes themselves are clear and straightforward. However, THERE ARE NO PICTURES of the DISHES - nor is the writing detailed or descriptive on how to cook them - but it is generally SUFFICIENT / ADEQUATE.

The table of contents is far from comprehensive. The recipes are reasonably clear - but the ingredient lists are not separated for the different components of each dish (i.e.,for the stuffing, for the sauce) - and they can be long and hard to manage.

However, it does have a LOT of recipes - both Singalese and Tamil - and some unusual ones that don't show up in the other cookbooks. It really shines with some unusual desserts I haven't seen recipes for anywhere else.

It is recommended if you are a hardcore Sri Lankophile or you know how to make Sri Lankan curry already and want expand your horizons - but it is NOT the best introduction to the subject.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The easy recipes don't need much embellishment Nov. 14 2003
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Suharshini Sene Viratne's Exotic Tastes Of Sri Lanka presents exotic dishes ranging from Traditional Hoppers (coconut-infused crepes) to Ash Plaintain Curry and Mango Fantasy. It doesn't hold much in the way of pictures, but the easy recipes don't need much embellishment and the coverages are welcomed rarities in a cookbook genre which holds surprisingly little in either area.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Authentic Recipes Oct. 21 2012
By A.S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is true, as one reviewer commented, that the introductory notes to the recipes are unsophisticated to say the least. But if you allow yourself to be put off by the introductory notes and fail to try the recipes, you will be depriving yourself of the some the best tasting Sri Lankan food that can be made in home kitchens inside or outside Sri Lanka.

I am Sri Lankan born and bred now living abroad. I am also a dedicated home cook, and being Sri Lankan, that country's cuisine is obviously my favorite and the one I am most knowledgeable about. I am also an avid collector of cookbooks and it is not an exaggeration to say that I own or have cooked from virtually every Sri Lankan cookbook, including books that contain Sri Lankan recipes among others, for example books by Charmaine Solomon, Madhur Jaffrey, Priya Wickremesinghe and Rick Stein to name a few. These are all excellent books but Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka tops them all. Until I started cooking from Exotic Tastes I could never replicate that certain je ne sais quoi, that exquisite but elusive flavor that is present in the food of very traditional Sri Lankan cooks. Some of it of course comes from the wood fires and the well seasoned clay pots that are used in traditional cooking and can never be replicated outside that environment (sadly becoming more and more rare these days), but Ms. Seneviratne's recipes bring you very close. Sometimes the precision of her recipes makes me smile (she will tell you the exact number of fenugreek seeds or peppercorns to use) but I belong to that school that believes that a recipe should be followed precisely as written the first time it is used with the cook being free to deviate thereafter. With Ms. Seneviratne's recipes, however, I am never tempted to deviate.

This book has served me better than either the old stalwarts our mothers and grandmothers used, that are still in print but not available outside Sri Lanka (e.g., The Daily News Cookery Book, Chandra Dissanayake, Doreen Pieris), or the more recent books by, for example, Peter Kuruvita or S.H. Fernando, Jr., among others. Ms. Seneviratne appears to be a highly experienced Sri Lankan cook who not only understands the nuances and subtleties of the cuisine but is able to convey them to the cook following her recipes, despite her sometimes quaint English. I recommend this book without reservation, particularly to my fellow expatriate Sri Lankans.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka Nov. 26 2003
By "hemson" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A lot of recipes for the price. I have already tried out two of the dishes (yellow rice and capsicum badun) and they came out excellent!! - had a lot of praise from friends who enjoyed it. There is a wide selection of rice dishes, curries, appetizers and desserts. Also recipes for a lot of "village" dishes for which the ingredients can be bought at an Asian Store. Excellent book for Srilankan cooking that is easy for even the amatuer cook.
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