Dish It Out: Chamali Mendis

Jul 14 2022. views 193


How do our food experts cook and eat? This week, food blogger and home cook @chamgiel – Chamali, takes our Q&A!

1. Your first memory of cooking? 
My first memory is actually related to baking and assembling desserts. I have a major sweet tooth so I used to help my mother when she made desserts. Her go-to desserts were butter cakes, chocolate cakes, date cakes, and her signature milk and jelly pudding. When she made these, I was the designated cake beater and the one to assemble the desserts.

2. Your biggest kitchen pet peeves?
I have quite a few of them. Washing everything has got to be on the top of the list. Unless the container mentions that it had been prewashed, I have to wash everything. Also, I hate sticky fingers so whenever I am cooking, I have to wash my hands a whole bunch of times as well. 

3. Sweet or savoury? 
Team sweet here. I love baking and making all sorts of desserts.

4. Your favourite childhood meal? 
A good old coconut roti with lunumiris or jaggery. My mother used to make coconut roti all the time for me and I still make it for myself when I need some comfort food. One of my favourite childhood memories is the small round coconut roti we used to get at this tiny shop in Hunnasgiriya when travelling to my mother’s hometown in Matale. I can still recall the taste of those. 

5. What’s one dish you’ve perfected? 
Brownies. I am a major chocoholic and brownies are my go-to bake when I want a chocolate fix. I experimented with many recipes and found my perfect recipe a few years back. Since then, I have been following that religiously and it never let me down.

6. Dead or alive, who would be your dream dinner-party guests to cook for? 
That would be my mother. She is alive and well but as she is in Sri Lanka I haven’t cooked for her in over 2 years now. She always has nothing but compliments for my food (typical mothers, I tell you). Even when I order her food for a special event these days, she never forgets to mention that it’s got nothing on my food. I would make her a Vegetable Biryani (she is vegetarian and I’d been wanting to make this for her for quite some time) followed by her favourite date cake.  

7. Your favourite foolproof recipe you can share with confidence? 
I would stick with my go-to brownie recipe. Guaranteed success every time. 

8. Easiest meal you would whip up to impress someone?
This is a tricky one. I am a really slow cook so no meal is easy for me. I love Thai food and Phad Thai comes together pretty fast and tastes delicious. So, I think I’d whip up some of that. 

9. What’s the most adventurous food you’ve eaten?
I recently had a fried chicken and ice cream slider. I was so intrigued by that combination, and it worked really well. The chicken was warm, crispy, and quite spicy and complemented the vanilla ice cream. Definitely, something I can eat more and more.

10. Your favourite odd food pairing?
Chickbits/ salty potato chips with chocolate/Nutella. I absolutely love the salty and sweet combination. I am yet to find any Chickbits over here so I am using potato chips instead these days.

11. What’s a  dish you’d never forget eating for the first time?
Had to rack my brain for this one. Sushi for the first time was quite an experience. First off, I was extremely put off by the idea of raw fish so I didn’t try it for a long time. Finally decided to try it back in 2017 at Sushi Bar Samurai in Negombo. I loved their maki sushi but wasn’t a big fan of nigiri sushi. Of late, sushi has become one of my favourite treats. 

12. Your favourite food shot?
This is so hard to narrow down because I love them all. But I'm going to go with these Chocolate Crepes I made recently. This was my 1000th post on IG and I posted it on my birthday. It was my first time making chocolate crepes and after some initial struggle they turned out great. I love how the shot turned out as well. Strawberries and fresh flowers are two of my favourite props. 

13. When you are not cooking – your favourite place to eat?
I love some sushi. There are quite a few sushi spots I frequent here.

14. What are your favourite leftovers to work with? 
I am going to be basic here and say plain white rice. It's so easy to do anything with it. Make it into fried rice, add it into a burrito or even make some dhal, coconut sambol and fry up a sausage for some delicious comfort food, either way, plain rice got you covered. 

15. Your favourite recipe that has been passed down to you from family?
My maternal grandmother’s watalappan is the best ever. I am yet to attempt it myself but it's the best I have ever had. 

16. Your go-to recipe person?
If it is Sri Lankan food, my mother, Hungry Lankan blog by Roshini, or Island Smile blog by Jehan. Modern Honey and Recipetin Eats are two other go-to blogs. 

17. What should not be missing in your kitchen? 
Spices are a must-have in my kitchen. From appliances, my immersion blender is a life saver, be it smoothies, pesto, soup, or curry, it blends up everything perfectly and is super easy to use and clean. 

18. The toughest dish to master but worth the effort?
This might sound basic but mastering potato curry was a bit of a challenge for me. To me, it has to be of a specific colour and should have a specific consistency, just like the one my mother makes at home. After quite a few tries, advice from my mother and the help of Roshini’s recipe in her blog (Hungry Lankan), I was finally able to make it to my satisfaction. 

19. Your favourite comfort food after a long day?
Rice and curry for sure. I have come to appreciate it more and more as I am not having it for all three meals these days.

20. What’s something Sri Lankan you miss that you can’t get or make in Canada?
The Sri Lankan and Indian stores over here and even some mainstream grocery stores carry all the ingredients one could want. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide array of Sri Lankan goodies they have for sale. However, one this that’s hard to find is pure kithul jaggery and treacle. But it's hard to find even in Sri Lanka! 

21. When you come back to Sri Lanka, the first thing you want to eat? 
I want to have some tropical fruits I haven’t had in a long time, delicious juicy mangos, papaya, mangosteen, and rambutan.

19. Your favourite comfort food after a long day?
Rice and curry for sure. I have come to appreciate it more and more as I am not having it for all three meals these days.

20. What’s something Sri Lankan you miss that you can’t get or make in Canada?
The Sri Lankan and Indian stores over here and even some mainstream grocery stores carry all the ingredients one could want. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide array of Sri Lankan goodies they have for sale. However, one this that’s hard to find is pure kithul jaggery and treacle. But it’s hard to find even in Sri Lanka! 

21. When you come back to Sri Lanka, the first thing you want to eat? 
I want to have some tropical fruits I haven’t had in a long time, delicious juicy mangos, papaya, mangosteen, and rambutan. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


0 Comments

Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram