Jaffna Kool (Jaffna Seafood Soup)
I feel like long weekends and summer parties are meant for Jaffna Kool. Jaffna Kool use to be one of my favourite things to eat. Unfortunately, during my pregnancy last year, I developed an aversion to it and couldn’t eat it. I found that even after I gave birth, the smell made me nauseous. I however, have such fond family memories of eating it before then, that I wanted to love it again. I’m happy to say that I tried and made a version that I can enjoy now. I realized what bothered me most about it was the smell of fish bones, and while my mom insists this is what adds the favour to it, I used just the fillets, which didn’t give it the fishy smell. I’m not sure if this is as authentic as using whole fish, but its my preferance and it works for me! I hope you enjoy it.
- 200 grams Odiyal Maa (palmyra flour) and 2 cups cold water
- 5 + cups water
- ¼ cup sambar rice
- Handful - Jackfruit seeds
- 2 cups worth Murungai Illai (Drumstick leaves)
- 1 cup Snake beans
- A lime sized tamarind piece
- The seafood you add is subjective to you, in this specific recipe I added a box of crabs, 12 gigantic grilling shrimp, 15-20 regular sized shrimps and 7 basa fillets. You can add whole light fish, which is what is authentically used.
- 10-15 red dried chillies
- Half to 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 bulb garlic, peeled
- Tip: Grind everything except the garlic first, so it becomes a fine powder, then grind the garlic with it. Then you have a paste you can use. You can add some water to help it grind if you need to.
- Before you start cooking, it's best to have some prep done.
- Odiyal maa. This is the key to the recipe, it adds thickness to the soup. Odiyal maa has alot of threads in it from the packets, be sure to sift out these threads before using it. Once you have sifted it out, and have only powder remaining, add 2-3 cups of water to help it dissolve. Set aside for at least an hour before using. Do this first and then your other prep so that the timing will be enough.
- Take a tamarind piece from the solid tamarind blocks, a lime sized amount, and make a paste of it using 1 cup of water. Let it sit. You will later add this to the odiyal man mix, so let it sit out for now. I assume you can use less if you are using the paste, but I have never tried it with such.
- Prep your vegetables - cut the snake beans into 3-4 cm pieces, wash the jackfruit seeds and wash the murungai illai leaves. You can also add maravalli kilangu to this (cassava chunks) as it helps cut the spice. I didn't have any on hand, that's why I didn't use any.
- Prep your seafood - wash and clean the seafood and set it aside.
- In a large pot, add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Add salt to taste (I added 2 tablespoons) and a tablespoon of turmeric.
- Add the jackfruit seeds, rice, and snake beans. You want to add whatever takes longest to cook first.
- Check to see if the rice has cooked, once the rice is cooked, add the seafood, minus the fish. Fish cooks very quickly, so you want to add it last so that it retains its structure. If you add it too soon, it will fall apart and you won't see it in your soup.
- Add the fish.
- Add the chili paste and half the tamarind paste to the odiyal maa bowl which has been sitting out for at least an hour. Ensure it all fuses together. Pour this mixture into your pot.
- Simmer, adjust for salt and pepper. Add the remaining tamarind paste if needed (I usually do, but some people may want less).
- Add murungai illai leaves and remove from heat.
- Serve hot.
- You need a large wide and tall pot for this, a soup pot works best.
- Odiyal maa has alot of threads in it from the packets, be sure to sift out these threads before using it.
- Grind the paste ingredients everything except the garlic first, so it becomes a fine powder, then grind the garlic with it. Then you have a paste you can use. You can add some water to help it grind if you need to.
- Eating this can get extra messy, so its a good idea to have lots of newspapers and napkins around to help.
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