Vatalappam with pineapple salad
( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Tamara West
Vattalappam, a baked spice-flavoured coconut custard, could be classed as one of the national dishes of Sri Lanka. Though it may look unassuming, it has one of the most delicious spice flavours of any dish I know. The pineapples and cashews in Sri Lanka were magnificent and the following salad goes well with the custard. Jaggery is gooey dark, caramel-flavoured dehydratedsugar cane juice used in both India and Sri Lanka. I get it from Serandib, the Sri Lankan shop in Auckland’s Dominion Rd, which I notice has an online shop. If you can’t get jaggery, use grated dark palm sugar or dark brown sugar.
|250 g||Jaggery, soft|
|450 ml||Coconut cream, plus extra for serving|
|¾ tsp||Ground nutmeg|
|1 tsp||Ground cinnamon|
|¼ tsp||Ground cloves|
- Heat the oven to 170C. Put the jaggery and water into a saucepan and gently melt over low heat. Once the jaggery has dissolved, remove from the heat and cool to warm.
- Put the jaggery liquid, eggs, coconut cream, salt and spices into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Pour this into 6 small heatproof bowls or cups.
- Place a roasting dish in the oven and fill with enough hot water so that when the bowls of vatalappam mixture are put into the roasting dish of water, the water comes halfway up the side of the bowls.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until well set. Test by inserting a small knife into the middle —it should come out clean. Serve with extra coconut cream and the pineapple saladon the side.
- For the pineapple salad: Put everything into a serving bowl and mix well. Reserve10 minutes for the sugar to melt and gently mix again.