- Photo credit – Nadeesha Amaratunge
Sri Lankan traditional food such as Finger Millet (Kurakkan) is packed with wholesome goodness and nutritional benefits.
They are an ideal choice of wholesome carbs for vegans – and just about everyone else.
Finger millet balls ( kurakkan thalapa ) is one such great choice that has stood the test of time.
Finger millet on its own boasts of great low GI capability that renders it a super choice for vegans and those looking to lower their carb intake.
It can be used to make pancakes and porridge and is a favorite choice in Sri Lanka.
Finger millet balls are a distinctive part of Sri Lankan cuisine.
It is often credited as the food of the Deep South of the country.
It is typically made by slowly adding finger millet flour to hot water until it becomes hardened – slowly taken out of the water, it is formed into a ball-shaped and cooled.
This is served with traditional vegetarian curries.
The typical finger millet ball meal with curry –
The typical accompanying curries are either meat-based or vegetable-based.
In the case of vegetable-based, popular choices are mung bean (green gram) aanama (curry), or mustard curry.
The curry is made firstly by lightly roasting the split green gram to which scraped coconut is sometimes added.
The curry can be made with kollu (horse gram ) as well.
A sambol made with chilies, with plenty of lime is made to accompany the meal.
There is a focus on balancing the flavors, as all traditional Sri Lankan meals are.
It is also accompanied by a dry fish curry in addition to the vegetable curry.
Particularly in the South, where this dish used to be a staple, the adding of fish or dry fish was normal, given the rich marine resources of the coastline.
A healthy breakfast choice –
The finger millet balls have been a popular choice among farmers in the Deep South.
The best of Sri Lankan traditional food choices often came from the humble abodes of the farmers.
The fact that it can be made and kept without going bad, has contributed towards its popularity.
Also relevant was the factor that as a wholemeal option, finger millet digests well and also fills the stomach soon, ensuring you eat less.
Re-discovering the food heritage of Sri Lanka –
Sri Lankan traditional food is slowly being rediscovered for its tremendous benefits.
For those of us keen to re-discover the healthy traditional foods of Sri Lanka, the finger millet balls is only the tip of the iceberg.
There are plenty of healthy choices that were everyday staples for Sri Lankans back when Non-communicable Diseases were unheard of.
It is widely believed that ancient Sri Lankans were considerably healthier than the generations of today.
Not just the stress of modern life, but healthy food that included choices like the finger millet balls, plenty of vegetables and fish, greens, and wholegrain choices, contributed to the wellbeing of our ancestors.
The active lifestyle of the ancients –
Add to that was the fact that they led active lives.
Farming, cultivating paddy and other grains, walking miles to bathe in the stream, going in search of firewood into the forest.
These were very natural expeditions for the village folk.
Such an active lifestyle naturally kept them healthy.