Koluu turns up the heat to serve up a deliciously fiery rice dish as well as a spicy salad. Ideal for lunch or dinner, these two dishes are bound to add zest to any meal.
Words Haseena Razak Photographs Menaka Aravinda
Mexican Style Spicy Rice
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup long grain white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
120g tomato sauce
120g chopped green chillies, drained
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 cups cheese (cheddar), shredded
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice. Cook and stir for five to seven minutes, until the rice is lightly browned and gives off a toasted fragrance. Stir in the chicken stock, tomato sauce, green chillies, onion, garlic, salt, cumin, and chilli powder. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes until the rice is tender, with occasional stirring. Spread the cheese on top, then replace the lid and allow the cheese to melt. This takes about five minutes more.
Peppery heat and zesty flavours define Sri Lankan dishes. Synonymous with local cuisine, rice and curry is most enjoyed among Sri Lankans when there is a sharp bite that sets off the other flavours. In the typical Sri Lankan home, curries and sambols are always flavoured with a generous helping of a variety of spices like green chillies, chilli powder, pepper or ginger that set taste buds aflame with delicious flavour.
Koluu has given this Mexican favourite a distinct Sri Lankan twist by substituting the jalapino with the green chilli, its Sri Lankan counterpart. “This delicious dish is ideal for the Lankan palette,” said Koluu. While the warmth of green chillies and chilli powder take centre-stage, the tomato sauce adds a touch of sweetness and the cheese lends a rich creaminess.
Koluu advises that the Mexican Style Spicy Rice should be given pride of place at the dining table owing to its bold flavours. Any accompanying dishes should be mild in flavour in order to complement the main dish. According to Koluu, this recipe would be best accompanied by a grilled dish such as fish or chicken and preceded by a fresh green salad.
Spicy Chicken Salad
1 large carrot, peeled
3 cups shredded cabbage, from 1 small cabbage
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, from 1 small lettuce
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves or fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced roast chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
1/2 cup slivered almonds or cashew nuts, toasted
1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1/2 cup chow mein noodles
For the salad: thinly cut the carrots and place them in a large salad bowl. Mix in the cabbage, lettuce, pepper, basil, chicken, almonds, and sesame seeds.
For the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar until the mixture is smooth. If desired season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Garnish with the chow mein noodles and serve.
Although not as fiery as the Mexican Style Spicy Rice, the red bell peppers give the Spicy Chicken Salad a bit of a kick. The fresh basil and mint leaves impart, their own distinct relish, making this simple and easy-to-make salad, robust in flavour.
The chicken, leaves, nuts and sesame seeds not only guarantee that every bite is fresh and crunchy, all these nutritious ingredients also ensure that this is a wholesome salad.
The Spicy Chicken Salad can, not only be enjoyed as a light but healthful meal, but it can also be the ideal starter during lunch or dinner. A main meal of pasta, like Noodles or Vermicelli, will complement the salad perfectly.