A Recipe A Day
We’re sharing a few of our favourite summer recipes from Hoppers: The Cookbook that Karan’s been demo’ing at festivals around the island so you can enjoy a true Hoppers feast for yourself at home!
Hoppers are bowl-shaped, fermented rice and coconut pancakes; crisp around the edges yet soft and fluffy in the centre.The Hopper originated in south India (Tamil Nadu and Kerala, to be precise) where it was known as ‘appa’ or ‘appam’. While the exact history is somewhat ambiguous, the story goes that British settlers struggled with the pronunciation of appams and began referring to them as ‘hoppers’, a word that eventually stuck. There are marked differences between the versions found in south India and Sri Lanka, the former being flatter and softer owing to the heavier iron pans they are cooked in.
BLACK PORK CURRY
This is one of the first Sri Lankan dishes that blew my mind and made me fall in love with the cuisine. It’s a curry like none I had eaten previously. My favourite versions are the ones found at The Dutch Burgher Union, Gallery Cafe at Paradise Road and Barefoot in Colombo.
The almost coffee-like dark roasted spice powder, balanced with the fat from the pork belly and smoky citrus from the goraka, are a match made in heaven. It’s crucial to ensure these three elements are in perfect harmony, a balance we have gone through hundreds of trials to achieve.
The buriani (or biryani in India) is one of those great dishes that’s both the ultimate one-pot comfort meal and a stunning centrepiece to any dinner party. This dish of aromatic rice steamed over a rich curry is hugely popular in South Asia, with each region doing it slightly differently – be it the addition of potatoes, the variety of rice used, the spices that go into it or even the vessel it’s cooked in. The buriani we’ve developed at Hoppers takes inspiration from some of our favourite south Indian and Sri Lankan versions but follows the more traditional method of layering and steaming par-cooked rice over a rich meat curry as opposed to boiling raw rice in the curry.
CHICKEN CURRY TRAYBAKE
We came up with this dish when faced with the need to cook a quick, yet healthy, staff meal on a busy Saturday evening. It’s an easy, well-balanced one-tray supper but equally impressive when served with some sides as an alternative Sunday roast.
Karan first cooked this dish at an event held at a friend’s pub; it was meant to be a Sri Lankan take on the classic Moules Frites. The dish was so popular that we ended up introducing it on our menu at our Kings Cross restaurant. We serve it with string hoppers, great for soaking up the gorgeous curry, and a samphire sambol (page 169 from the cookbook).
BBQ JAFFNA LAMB CHOPS
This dish is amongst our top sellers at the restaurants. We first introduced these chops at Hoppers Marylebone and have featured them at a ton of festivals and charity dinners since.