When I was growing up, once in a while (probably once in a purple moon) my mum would get some purple Sri Lankan yams from West Croydon’s famed Sri Lankan shop. If you haven’t been there… I’d highly recommend it. It’s like an Aladdin’s Cave of intriguing foods from all over. From rambutan and curry leaves to rasa valli kilangu (the purple yams) and crabs.
Anyway, it’s got such a lovely warming smell when it’s being boiled down with lots and lots of creamy coconut milk and rich brown palm sugar. My dad wasn’t a huge fan… it was a bit too out there for him, but it’s a definite favourite for my mum and that rubbed off on me.
Now that I live in Berlin, I’ve been roaming the streets, going from Indian shop to Sri Lankan shop… asking for it and getting sad looks and shaking heads. “No, sorry, we don’t have it. Try Schoneberg”. I’ve dragged my friends on 4 miles walks when they weren’t wearing appropriate footwear in sweltering heat and said things like “it’s just around the corner” to find, on arrival, that this purple beauty is no where to be found. It seemed there was no hope for my search.
Luckily, when I went home last weekend my mum had bought me some – she’s been party to my struggles. I call her and update her on my search.
My mum’s top tip when peeling Rasa valli kelangi:
Rub your hands with coconut oil before you peel it, otherwise they’ll get a bit itchy.
This week, I cooked a massive batch for myself… like a greedy little unicorn … and have been eating it all week. I’m sure it’s slightly magical because it’s purple.
When I was cooking it… I was so excited I whatsapped my boyfriend with a video expected him to be absolutely overjoyed by the purpleness. His reply made me laugh … “Babe. That looks awful. Super sorry. Nothing looks like that”. He makes me giggle ! I’ll get him on the bandwagon soon…
Anyway, enough jabbering. Here’s the super simple recipe. If you’re in London, Sri Lankan shops will have it. If you’re in Berlin.. hmmm… maybe import your own? Or take a trip to London.
My Mum’s Rasa Valli Kilangu Dessert Recipe
- 2 purple rasa valli kilangu yams
- 500ml Coconut milk
- 500ml water
- palm sugar or normal sugar to taste
- Rub coconut oil or vegetable oil on your hands to protect them, then peel your yams
- chop them into rough 8ths
- add them to a pot at medium high heat with your water and allow to boil until the yams begin to soften then mash so that it mixes with the water.
- add the coconut milk and sugar and stir in thoroughly.
- Serve with some dessicated coconut on top.