As soon as the “Sinhalese Cuisine” theme was declared in the Blogging Marathon #84, the first and foremost recipe I wanted to make was the Watalappam, come what may! As I was chatting with Rizna for ideas for Sri Lankan food and I mentioned this one, she told me, “But that’s not Sinhalese?” Like I mentioned in the Kukul Mass Curry recipe, influences do make recipes not 100% “Sinhalese”. When Valli assured that we can do recipes that are prepared in Sri Lanka irrespective of ethnicity, my breath fell in place. Alhamdulillah, I could make the Watalappam finally! 😉
Watalappam or Watalappan is a steamed jaggery pudding, which sounds so similar to the kinnathappam made in our place, with the only difference being that the latter doesn’t use the coconut milk. It is believed to have originated from the Malays, who came to the country during Dutch rule. This dessert is also called as “Sirikaya” by the minority Sri Lankan Malaya community. Interesting, “kaya” is a Malaysian dish made of coconut and eggs, which are a part of this dessert too! The dessert is very famously prepared by the Sri Lankan Muslim community during Eid and also served by the Sri Lankans during their weddings or house warming functions. Reading a bit of the history does make me feel that our kinnathappam may also have Malay origins, since we do have a lot of ex-Malay expats and also many who have families there! Not lingering around that though… 🙂
The main ingredient in this dish is the jaggery. The Sri Lankans use a variety called “kitul” which is palm jaggery, and coincidentally, used in South India as karupetti. I was so lucky to have umma bring me two blocks of it while she came from home last month. It is tough to get this variety here, it’s either the light brown jaggery or the literal white ones, that are shame to the name jaggery! 😕 The other ingredient is definitely the eggs. The more, the merrier! All you need to do is to whisk all the ingredients together till it is smooth, pour and steam, that’s it. Do not beat the heck out of the eggs, or else you would have a disastrous texture (lesson learned from the kinnathappam!). The spice used mainly is crushed cardamom, though you will see versions which have cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and even vanilla apart from it! I believe that it is best to keep it simple and what more than cardamom, so I stuck to it.
What should I say? I steamed it and the whole pan disappeared post lunch! My cousin who loves kinnathappam gulped down majority of what was in the tray and another cousin has already told me that he wants it made when he visits next time. Hehe… I told him it wasn’t our kinnathappam, but the Sri Lankan cousin of it! 😉 I am sure I will make this again and again when I have karupatti to use up… Believe me, nothing makes it taste amazing that this deep brown jaggery heaven! Before I end this post, a little thank you to a Sri Lankan follower on IG, Yumna who shared the recipe from her cookbook. I made a little less than what she shared, but later I did think, I should have made the whole recipe! Off to the way I made it…
- 6 large eggs
- 400 gm palm jaggery, melted in 2 tbsp water
- ¾ cup thick coconut milk
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 10-15 roasted cashewnuts
- Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat till smooth using a hand whisk.
- Add in the melted jaggery, coconut milk and cardamom powder and whisk till the mixture gets completely incorporated.
- Oil an 8 inch pan well and pour the mixture into it.
- Steam it for 15-20 minutes till set. Through the halfway stage, drop in the cashewnuts on top and continue till done. When touched, the top portion will be non-sticky.
- Allow to cool in the pan, cut and serve. It can be served hot or cold.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing this BM#84