Anthony, Catherine, Rosy, and I landed in Colombo about midnight and hopped in a cab to Galle (a good two hours away). Assured by our friends in Singapore that Sri Lanka is heaven, we braved the road with our clearly insane driver. It turns out he is in excellent company; a large portion of drivers have little interest in road signs, speed limits, or random villagers walking alongside.
We finally reached Galle under the cover of darkness and proceeded to sleep in two rooms at the villa (I had only booked one) only to be awoken by a tour group at four am. Oh goodness… not a great start but the excellent news follows: Galle is indeed a magical colonial forted town, complete with exquisite hotels (google Amangalla), shops, and tasty sit-downs. We spent our first meal at a rooftop restaurant eating spicy fish curries (Sri Lankans LOVE a chili) and drinking large local beers. The next two days were spent eating spicy curries and condiments on the beach in Mirissa (note the consistency).
We all left equally obsessed with the place and disheartened that it is destined to turn in to another Bali (covered in Marriotts, Hiltons, and the like). Before this happens, I would love to return and take the train to the mountains for a romp around the tea plantations.
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
6 curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 green chillis, chopped
½ cinnamon stick
200 ml/7 fl oz coconut milk
100ml/3.5 fl oz crushed tomato
450g/16fl oz raw, peeled shrimp/prawns
8 okra (lady fingers), sliced
Coriander (cilantro) and lime wedges, to dress
Toast the fenugreek, mustard, coriander and fennel seeds in k a dry frying pan over a low heat until they release their aroma. Tip them into a mortar and roughly grind with a pestle.
Place the ground spices and all the remaining ingredients (including okra) except for the shrimp into a large saucepan. Pour in 200 ml/7 fl oz coconut milk and 100ml/3.5 fl oz crushed tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes then season.
Add the shrimp and simmer for another 5 min until they are just cooked through. Dress with coriander (cilantro) and lime
The easiest way to make coconut rice is to boil jasmine rice with water, combined with coconut water (half and half). Rinse rice in cold water before you start and fluff when finished.