Trying out anything from a distant land's pantry is no less than an adventure. Often, such dishes mirror the cultural nuances of the locals. One such dish is Odiyal Kool, a pride of the Sri Lankan populace. They believe nothing unites the people of this country like Odiyal Kool. It has the element of sea, an amalgamation of blended ingredients and the iconic odiyal
Each culture in this world has its own uniqueness. They always contrast each other in many ways, whether a celebration or a feast. It is rightly said that exploring its culinary route is the best way to get familiar with a new culture. Let's spotlight one of the most celebrated culinary fares from the magnificent land of Sri Lanka, the exotic Odiyal Kool. When you mention this name to the natives of this country, you will see an instant spark in their eyes. It is also referred to as Jaffna Kool. A common claim is that Odiyal Kool is a Jaffna rendition of French bouillabaisse. For the unversed, Jaffna is the capital of Sri Lankan's northern province.
Due to the time-to-time influence of various foreign cooking, most Sri Lankan dishes offer a unique fusion of flavour and taste. Odiyal Kool is an example of it, a hearty stew or one-pot meal. As mentioned before, Jaffna kool is believed to have a French connection, if not in its entirety, at least in getting inspired from the recipe.
An assorted seafood and vegetables stew, Image Source: cjkit_chen@Instagram
The moniker comes from the fact that this spicy and tangy seafood stew is one of Jaffna's hallmark meals. Seafood, including prawns, crayfish, crabs, and several kinds of fish, are mixed with a tamarind-based stew in this dish. Given that it contains a variety of veggies and spices, it scores excellent grades for nutrition. Traditionally, odiyal, a flour derived from palmyra tuber, thicken it. Usually, special events and family social affairs are when Jaffna kool is served. The base for this kool is 'Odiyal', typically a healthy and nutritious root produced by boiling palm roots and then sun-drying them. The taste and the look of the dish make it fairly tempting. If Odiyal flour is not available, corn flour can be a good alternative.
The hearty Odiyal kool, Image Source: cjkit_chen@Instagram
Try this easy yet hearty recipe of Odiyal Kool and let us know if it is really Jaffna's version of French Bouillabaisse.