Skip to main content

Table 2 Popular traditional sweetmeats; ingredients, method of preparation and the variations

From: Indigenous and traditional foods of Sri Lanka

Name of the food Main ingredients Method of preparation Remarks
Aggala (Fig. 5a) Roasted rice coarsely ground into flour, coconut or Kithul treacle, roasted and cracked mung bean, grated coconut, cashew, sesame, ground black pepper. - Mixture of rice flour and ingredients is thickened with heat.
- Form small balls of the paste and dusted with roasted flour.
- Ground cinnamon, black pepper and cashew pieces enhance taste.
- Sesame seeds can be used for the coating.
- Variations come from the flour source: left-over cooked rice dried, roasted and ground, roasted jack fruit seeds, or roasted maize seeds.
Kewum/oil cakes (Fig. 5b) Unroasted rice flour, coconut or Kithul treacle, salt, cumin (optional). - Mixture of rice flour-liquid sweetener is portioned into boiling oil.
- Deep fry till a brown skin is formed.
- Mixture of flour and sweetener without any preheating makes a soft-spongy cake in the middle.
- Cooking of flour and liquid sweetener makes a denser middle structure and creates a product variation.
- Variations are as konda kevum (Fig 5b), hendi kevum and athirasa.
- Non-heat-treated rice flour mixed with liquid sweetener creates a soft, spongy texture with air holes in the middle of hendi- and konda kevum. The skilled cook can raise the middle of the cake like a hair knot during cooking and makes konda kevum.
- Portions of heated mixture of flour and sweetener is made into flat circles and deep fried until brown skin is formed makes athirasa.
Mung kewum (Fig. 5c) Unroasted rice flour, flour of roasted mung bean, coconut or Kithul treacle, turmeric. - Rice and mung bean flour mixed with liquid sweetener to a thick but pliable paste.
- Flattened paste is cut into shapes or made into balls, batter coated (made of rice flour and turmeric) and deep fried.
- Horse gram flour can replace mung bean.
- Variations: Nāran kewum (Fig. 5d)
- Coarse pieces of roasted mung bean, cashew, with sweetened scraped coconut mixture made into balls, batter coated and deep fried.
- Pittu cooked in liquid sweetener until hold together to form balls and batter coated and deep fried.
Undu walalu (Fig. 5f) Black gram (skin removed) flour, unroasted rice flour, coconut milk, sugar syrup or Kithul treacle, salt. - Mixture of black gram and rice flour poured as a single strand through a small opening into boiling oil making a circular/coil shape structure.
- When cooked soak in a sugar syrup.
- Polysaccharides of black gram creates thick viscous consistency of the mixture.
- Wheat flour can replace some amount of rice flour but creates a denser texture.
Ásmi (Fig. 5g) Unroasted rice flour with fine particles, water and coconut milk extract of Neolitsea involucrate (Dawul kurundu leaves), salt. - Mixture of rice flour and the slimy leaf extract is directly poured into a wok of boiling oil using a strainer (a coconut shell with tiny holes drilled in the bottom) to make a circular shape structure and fold-in-half during cooking.
- A second deep frying of the product after 1–2 day of storage.
- Decorate the top of the product with condensed sugar syrup (can add food coloring) before consumption.
- Mucilage-rich leaf extract provides continuous flour mixture strands during pouring and keeps structure pliability to fold into a semi-circular shaped product while frying.
- A second frying gives the pure white color, delicately soft but crunchy texture.
- Colored sugar syrup enhances taste and appearance.
Kokis (Fig. 5h) Unroasted rice flour coconut milk, salt, turmeric, eggs (optional). - A special heated mold is dipped into the slightly thick flour batter.
- The mold with batter coating is deep fried until the batter turns golden brown.
- Use a skewer to release the crispy product from the mold.
- Brass mold (kokis achchuwa) comes in different shapes e.g., flowers, butterflies, stars, etc. and has a long handle.
- Complex interactions of starch, protein and oil of the batter makes crispy yellow-brown product.
Aluvā (Fig. 5i) Roasted rice flour, coconut or Kithul treacle, salt. - Cook rice flour-sweetener syrup mixture till a thick paste is formed.
- Flattened the paste, cut into pieces and dust with roasted flour to prevent sticking.
- Cashew, sesame seeds, roasted shredded coconut, ground black pepper and ground dry ginger enhance, taste and flavor of the product.
Kalu dodol/glutinous rice cake (Fig. 5j) Unroasted rice flour, coconut milk, coconut or Kithul treacle or jaggery, cashew, cardamom, salt. - Rice flour, coconut milk and sweeteners together are cooked and simmer till oil separate out.
- Cooked flour mixture becomes a thick soft jelly that holds together.
- Oil is spooned out and the soft gel is either transferred to a tray or folded in a cleaned wide base part of the arica nut tree.
- Serve as cut pieces.
- Spices and cashews enhance taste.
- Sago beads can be used.
- Through oil removal extends product shelf life.
- Complex changes occur with the protein, starch and lipids of the ingredients; Maillard reaction, lipid-protein interaction and polymerization, browning, etc.
Welithalapa/Sowdodol (Fig. 5) Unroasted rice flour, scraped coconut, cardamom, coconut or Kithul treacle, salt. - Granules of pittu is made first then cooked in sweetened sugar syrup with flavorings until granules hold together.
- Cooked mixture is flattened and cut into pieces.
- Smaller and uniform pittu granules are preferred.
- Variation: the mixture can be formed into small balls, batter coated and deep fried to make Nāran kevum.
Helapa (Fig. 5l) Unroasted rice flour, finger millet flour, scraped coconut, coconut or kithul treacle, leaves of Macaranga peltata. - Mixture of rice and finger millet flour with sweetened coconut (peni pol) is portioned and flattened between folded leaves of Macaranga peltata or banana.
- Products are steamed until the flour mixture becomes a completely gelatinized mass.
- Moist heat gelatinizes starch and denatures protein and infuses unique leafy flavor notes to the product.
- Supplementing the flour with ground dry flowers of Madhuca langlifolia, seeds of Shorea megistophylla or de-bittered seeds of Vateria copallifera depending on the availability improves health benefits of the product.