Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Cuisine from the pearl of the Indian Ocean

Posted by Kimberly on March 11, 2008

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
March 11 2008 (710 words)

The Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) yesterday began their week of promoting Sri Lankan food, which will continue until Friday.
IFT have brought over two chefs from Sri Lanka, Dhanuska Kumara and Romuald Machado, from the Sri Lankan Institute of Tourism Management, to not only entice locals to visit during this week and sample their country’s cuisine, but also to show IFT’s own student chefs their secrets.
“We will be showing specific techniques on how to retain the aromas and flavours,” said chef Machado.
The selection consist of about 25 dishes which will be varied across the days of the promotion and include such regional favourites as fish fricadell, pork black curry and fish ambulthiyal. The half a dozen desserts include weli thalopa and bibikkan.
Asked what made Sri Lankan food different to that of its neighbour India, head chef Chandrisari Tennakoon stressed that his country’s cuisine was closest to that of the south of India, Kerala in using coconut oil with which to cook. As well, while Sri Lankan food focuses on chilli powder, spices and rice, he felt that Indian food was more geared towards breads such as chapatti and paratha, and “other preparatory ingredients.”
He added that they strongly believed in coconut oil and its ability to reduce cholesterol and the flavours it gives off.
The curries that have been prepared have been done so within a “food pyramid” consisting of the hottest, such as the tempered potatoes, before leaning towards the more mild flavours including the vegetable curries.
In total, five staff took about one and a half days to prepare the food, with most of the ingredients sourced locally, except for the curry products.
The chefs believed that if one was used to spice, they could enjoy Sri Lankan food but chef Machado recommended drinking either a hot cup of tea with a bit of ginger or some hot water, to reduce the burning sensation in the mouth.
The only real preparation they were required to do prior to coming to Macau was checking what ingredients were available here, in order to adapt the recipes to the taste.
Asked whether it was easy to cook such cuisine, chef Machado agreed that it was not a matter of exact measurements, but a process that required several attempts to perfect.
In addition, to the chef’s food demonstration on March 12 and 13, which will be conducted by head chef Tennakoon which is open to local chefs and IFT students, providing a valuable experience for those curious to learn about the unique tastes of the Indian Ocean. Both this the tea demonstration by Sri Lankan tea sommelier and Asia Pacific champion, Jiwanthi Adhikari.
Jiwanthi will be demonstrating on March 13, how to create a few new and some traditional methods of tea making, as well as preparing her award-winning cocktails and mocktails, using Sri Lankan export, Dilmah teas. A wide variety of fusion and herbal teas will also be available for tasting.
An example of her cocktail and mocktail include ‘mango rum delight’ and ‘fizzy peach tea cooler.’
Asked exactly what a tea sommelier was, Jiwanthi explained that one had to be able to match each tea with particular ingredients and understand what the flavours were and with what they could go.
“My favourite one is the mango rum delight because I like the flavour of mango and it goes very well with rum,” she said.
Having begun with cocktails in 2005, a year later saw Jiwanthi move on to tea after beginning work with Dilmah where she began learning to make cocktails using the ingredient.
“There are some fruits that don’t go with particular spirits,” she explained, adding that mango, for example, didn’t match with whisky.
The 26-year-old’s advice to potential sommeliers was that “you want to get the tea taste so you shouldn’t make it so complicated.”
Meanwhile, on March 17 and 18, IFT will be hosting a two day executive development program on ‘revenue management’ by Professor Sheryl Kimes from Cornell University in the US.
The program fee will be MOP10,650 including materials, handouts and lunches, while Macau ID card holders enjoy a special program fee of MOP6,150.
Further details can be obtained from either Sophy U or Veronica Lam at +853 85983 190/85061 287.

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