Saturday, June 23, 2012

a Sri Lankan dessert


In our last World Vegetarian Cooking class for the term we made a very fine dessert to go with our meal. You can find the recipes for the delicious, VARAI, BEETRROT CURRY AND LENTIL DHAL in my previous post about Sri Lankan cuisine.

But here is the recipe for the sumptuous and silky WATTALAPAN, a spiced coconut custard served with chopped toasted cashews and palm sugar syrup. I based this recipe on one published by Peter Kuravita of Sydney’s Flying Fish.

Making Wattalapan

These dariole moulds are only filled halfway, you go ahead and fill yours as much as you like, it’s quite a rich dessert!

So that’s it for Term 2, next classes start on the 24th July, you can enrol online if you are interested.

I’m also teaching a one day Vegetarian Essentials class on Saturday 11th August at Rose Bay Secondary school. Enquire here for more information.


Sri Lankan Spiced Coconut Custard

Serves: 6 as part of a meal

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

+ 2hrs refrigeration

Equipment: Set oven to 150°C, saucepan, small measuring jug, whisk, 6 dariole moulds, wooden skewer


180g (⅔ cup) jaggery or palm sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 green cardamom seeds, crushed with a heavy knife
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cinnamon quill, broken in half
6 eggs, lightly beaten
300ml coconut milk
Oil, to grease
Chopped roasted cashew nuts

palm syrup (kitul treacle)*, to serve


1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Place jaggery (or palm sugar), 100ml water and spices in a saucepan over low to medium heat and stir for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool for 5 minutes. If time allows let mix infuse for about an hour.

2. Whisk together eggs and jaggery mixture, then gradually whisk in coconut milk until mixture is pale and slightly thickened. Strain into a jug and discard solids.

3. Grease 8 x 125ml dariole moulds and place in a large roasting pan. Divide watalappan mixture between moulds and fill roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of moulds.

4. Cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool slightly, then refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled. If you are in a hurry you may be able to speed up the chilling process in the freezer but watch you don’t freeze the custard or you’ll have spiced coconut parfait!

To serve Carefully run a small sharp knife around the edge of the dariole moulds. Using a short sharp movement turn out watalappans onto serving plates. Scatter with cashews and drizzle over palm syrup.

* Jaggery, is available from Indian or Asian food shops, it is an unrefined sugar typically made from sugarcane or date palm sap. It is often used in Indian and Sri Lankan recipes. Substitute grated dark palm sugar if you cannot find some.

· To make palm sugar syrup: place equal quantities palm sugar and water in a saucepan, heat gently until dissolved. Cool.