Let’s take a dive into Sri Lankan cuisine which is rich in flavours and spices. This exotic land is made up of mostly tropical islands and it is reflected in their food. One such dish, Kool is made out of nutritious seafood.
Originating from Jaffna, Kool is pronounced ‘Koozh’. The dish has been passed down through generations with a significant story attached to it. Those who grew up with grandparents who were from this region would know that Kool was a staple food for farmers. As they could not afford good food every day, they had to use whatever ingredients which were available to them. Some of these include small fish, crabs and prawns found in the paddy fields or nearby rivers, which were eaten with rice.
As seafood is considered to be heaty, palmyra flour is added to balance it out as it brings a cooling effect of the dish! The combination of ingredients in this dish makes Kool very filling and nutritionally supercharged.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the ingredients to prepare this dish.
- Fish – 1.5kg
- Cuttlefish/Squid – 250g
- Prawn/Shrimp – 250g
- Crab – 500g
- Long beans – 100g
- Tapioca – 350g
- Jackfruit seeds – 200g
- Palmyra tuber flour/Odiyal flour (The flour can be bought at most flour mills in Brickfields) – 75g
- Brown rice – 100g
- Red chili flakes – 75g
- Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – As you need
- Thin tamarind juice – 600ml
- Water – 2000ml
How to prepare Jaffna Odiyal Kool at home
- Wash the brown rice thoroughly.
- Boil the brown rice and keep it aside for final preparation.
- Clean, rinse, and cut the fish, cuttlefish/squid, prawns/shrimps, and crabs. Rinse and cut the jackfruit seeds, long beans, and tapioca.
- Wash the Odiyal flour 2 or 3 times thoroughly before mixing it to the Jaffna Odiyal Kool.
- Grind the dried red chilies into flakes.
- Once you are done with all the preparations, place a large cooking pot over the stove.
- Add the fish, squid/cuttlefish, prawns/shrimps, and crabs.
- Now add turmeric powder and salt. Then, add all the water and mix everything well.
- Now switch on the flame. Cook covered under the high flame for 15 minutes.
- Take off the lid and mix everything well. Add the slices of tapioca and jackfruit seeds. Mix and cook covered again under the high flame for 15 minutes.
- Take off the lid and mash everything a little using a spoon especially the fish pieces. Cook uncovered under the high flame for 5 minutes.
- Now add long beans pieces and cook uncovered under the high flame for 2 minutes.
- Add the red chili flakes and thin tamarind juice.
- Then add washed Odiyal flour. Once you add Odiyal flour, you should mix everything as soon as possible. If not the Odiyal flour won’t mix up easily.
- Finally, add the boiled brown rice and mix everything well and cook uncovered under medium flame for 5 minutes.
- Taste it and adjust salt, red chili flakes, tamarind juice if needed. And finally, serve it and enjoy this delicious spicy Jaffna Odiyal Kool or seafood soup in Sri Lankan style!
The dish is incredibly tasty in a very unusual way. So, make sure you give it a try at home and share with us your experiences and thoughts about it!