Hilton Chennai's Sri Lankan food festival is what you need to feast on right away
Just like picturesque landscapes of the land, The Hilton’s Flavours of Sri Lanka festival paints myriad colours on the menu. “Authentic Sri Lankan food is all about the spices, used in the right proportions,” Chef Thulitha Neranjana, the travelling Chef de Cuisine from Hilton Colombo Residences, tells us. What set the dishes apart are locally grown Sri Lankan spices like cinnamon (unlike commonly used cassia bark), cardamom and clove.
While Sri Lankans usually do not like to experiment with their cuisine, Chef Neranjana takes the liberty to work around it with flavours inspired by Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. The first to arrive are Banana Blossom Spring Rolls — a twist to the Chinese classic, as a raw powder and coconut milk mix in banana leaves lends a flavour we relish. Tuna Cutlets come next, with hints of pepper and cardamom. Sri Lankan food is divided into three different curries — red, black and yellow and all three are laid out for us. We start with turmeric-flavoured rice garnished with raisins and cashewnuts accompanied with Fish Ambuthiya ,and instantly fall in love. The secret ingredient is a local dried berry called Goraka, used as a meat tenderiser, which when mixed with black masala of pepper and berry, makes for a peppery sour flavoured dish. Even though Chicken Red Curry uses red chilli powder, the meaty chunks of chicken are kept mildly spicy with the help of a raw curry powder to balance the flavours. Raw curry powder is made from a variety of spices, used in proportions only known to Sri Lankan households.
Green gram + toffee
As for vegetarian options like Potato Yellow Curry, most of the gravies are coconut-based. Add a dash of local mustard cream, and you’ve got a rich, albeit comforting accompaniment with rice. In contrast, the Beetroot Dry Curry, is spicy with a hint of sweetness from julienned beetroots, balanced perfectly with coconut milk. All dishes are accompanied with a tangy Mango chutney, a sweet Sinhala Acharu and four varieties of dried fish preparations — Sprat fish Tempered, Kooni (shrimp) Malluma, Dry Fish Baduma and the dry spicy Moldive Fish Sambol.
Dessert is a platter of Coconut Toffee and Kiri Toffee. The sweet signature Kalu Dodol is made from coconut milk, rice flour and spices as we end our lavish meal with a fried dessert Mumkawn, which is stuffed with a green gram and coconut milk mix.
On till July 24
Price: Rs 1,845 + taxes per person