The Sinhalese and Tamil New Year is an annual cultural celebration I partake in because of my Sri Lankan heritage. It is a time we prepare traditional meals and sweetmeats and exchange gifts. For my Theravadha Buddhist family, a season with the spirit of Christmas falls during this week of April. There are New Year customs to adhere, New Year prince and princess pageants and some traditional games. These include feats such as the ones below:
Lissana Gaha (Slippery Pole)
Kotta Pora (Pillow Fight)
Kana Mutti (Blindman’s Pots)
Households that celebrate the Sinhala & Tamil New Year follow various types of traditions and rituals from the past. A fire is lit and milk is boiled according to an auspicious time predicted by an astrologer. Bananas along with traditional food items such as kiribath (milk rice), kavum (an oil fried flour cake) and kokis (crunchy rice flour wheel) are prepared and served out by most households since families visit relatives and friends at this time.
My mum and I prepared Kokis this weekend. You’ll find the recipe below.
1. First of all, you need a kokis mould. It should look like the thing circled in red:
2. It is also better to have a fry pan with a curved round bottom. Basically we used a pan akin to a mini wok but you can use a larger one. It could be similar to this:
3. You might also need a wooden scraping stick shaped like a bamboo skewer. I think a wooden toothpick would work just as well.
Tip: Have some oil absorbent paper handy to drain excess oil from the kokis once prepared.
Now the equipment issues are out of the way, here are the ingredients:
- 500g Rice Flour
- 2 Eggs (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 litre of Vegetable Oil
- 2 teacups of Coconut Milk
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
If you have access to all those, here is how to make it:
Step 1: Beat the egg yolk.
Step 2: Mix the rice flour, egg yolk and 1 teacup of coconut milk. You can also use coconut cream but you might have to add some water to get the desired batter consistency. Add the turmeric for the deep yellow shade and then the salt and rest of the coconut milk.The batter should be thick as pancake batter.
Step 3: Pour the oil into the wok pan and heat it until it begins to boil.
Step 4: When the oil starts to show bubbles, dip the kokis mould into the batter but without dipping it in completely (if you do, it will be hard to remove once it hardens).
Step 5: Remove the mould from the batter and dip it into the hot oil. Then the batter will detach from the mould but will keep its shape while it is deep-fried. If it sticks to the mould without separating, use the skewer/toothpick to ease it out.
Step 6: As they turn brown and harden, remove the kokis using a spoon. We used a large sieve spoon as it stopped us from scooping up excess oil. Put into a bowl lined with oil absorbent paper.
Step 7: Repeat 4-6 until you finish your batter.
Your finished product should taste crunchy and look like:
Post Preparation Tip: If the crunchiness fades after a day or so, heat them up in the oven.