Lampries

Lampries

Curry parcels

By
From
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Serves
16-18
Photographer
Alan Benson

Just as biriani is the ultimate in festival meals in India, lampries is the ‘special occasion’ dish in Sri Lanka. If you are invited to a meal in a Sri Lankan home and lampries are served, you are being honoured. The name comes from the Dutch word, 'lomprijst', and it is a fascinating combination of rice cooked in stock, Dutch-style forcemeat balls, Sinhalese curries and sambols, all wrapped in banana leaves and baked. Each component recipe can be made ahead, some may even be frozen, to make ‘lampries wrapping day’ as easy as possible.

On a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I was treated to a lampries lunch. On opening the parcel, I was reminded of the type of rice traditionally used in this festive dish, the small, pearly grains of 'muttu samba'. This rice is highly regarded in that country, but my husband did not like it because it is parboiled, giving it a distinct flavour which was not to his taste. Without apologies I have therefore used basmati rice.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
banana leaves
3 quantities Ghee rice
1 quantity Lampries curry
1 quantity Frikkadels
1 quantity Vambotu pahi
1 quantity Seeni sambola
1 quantity Prawn blacan
thick coconut milk

Method

  1. Using large, wide banana leaves, strip them from the centre rib and cut into pieces, approximately 30–40 cm long. Wash and dry with a clean tea towel and heat over a gas flame for a few seconds on each side to make them pliable so they will fold without splitting. Alternatively, put the banana leaves in a large basin or sink and pour boiling water over the top.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  3. On each banana leaf, place 1 cup firmly-packed ghee rice and arrange 2 tablespoons lampries curry, 2 frikkadels, 2 teaspoons eggplant pickle, 1 teaspoon chilli sambol and 1 heaped teaspoon prawn blacan around the rice. Pour 2 tablespoons thick coconut milk over the rice. Fold the banana leaf over and fasten with short bamboo skewers or fold over the foil to make a neat oblong package. Some people prefer to enclose leaf parcels in foil as well — this is a good idea in case the leaf splits while heating or serving.
  4. Heat the lampries for about 20–25 minutes, then remove from the oven and arrange on a large serving tray. When the lampries are opened, the fragrance of the food is unbelievably appetising. Allow 1–2 lampries for each guest. A bowl of chilled cucumber sambol can be served alongside.

Note

  • It is practical to make a large number of lampries, as they are ideal for parties. They freeze well and can be kept frozen for 2 months. Heat in a moderate oven from frozen state for 40 minutes, or 20 minutes if first thawed in the refrigerator. If you can't get banana leaves, use 40 cm squares of foil instead.
Tags:
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Charmaine
Solomon
Asian
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