Rifling through the pages where I had also written down the recipes for dhal, aubergine curry, pineapple chutney and plantain sambal, I was transported back to that time long ago when we travelled with our 20 month old son and fell in love with Sri Lanka, its cuisine and its generous people.
If, like me, you are hankering for something seriously garlicky, then check out the recipe below. Done correctly, the garlic should be melt-in-your-mouth soft and is perfect served with fluffy Sri Lankan rice with some sambal as a side.
100 cloves of garlic (you can buy these pre-peeled in supermarkets)
Pinch of fennugreek
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of tumeric
1 tin coconut cream
1 tablespoon tamarind (or lime or vinegar)
Fry onion and garlic lightly. Add a pinch of fennugreek and the mustard seeds and continue frying until onion is soft. Add half a tin of coconut cream, watered down. Add salt to taste and simmer to reduce liquid (takes around 45 minutes), adding the tumeric part way through.
Once reduced, add the tamarind and the remaining coconut cream. Stir and bring back to a simmer.
Serve with rice and sambal.