Friday, 12 October 2018

Hoppers

Have you eaten a Hopper?

I saw and tasted them for the first time whilst travelling around Sri Lanka.
Their appearance resembles a lacy bowl. 
They usually have an egg sitting in the bottom which is added during the final minutes of cooking along with some some spicy coconut sambal, a tasty salsa, and caramelised onions. 
They can also be filled with a mildly spiced curry made using coconut milk, chicken, or cashew nuts together with green beans or peas. Sri Lankans always have lots of different curries available at every meal time catering for all tastes. There are no problems if you are a vegetarian, or a vegan, they make lots of dishes from their huge selection of locally grown vegetables and nuts. 
Hoppers are made from dried yeast, rice flour a pinch of golden caster sugar, both coconut milk and coconut water, and then after resting, cooked in sesame oil. They are similar to a pancake and, as luck would have it, a Sri Lankan street food restaurant has just opened in our local area, so of course we had to give it a try.


The hoppers we had locally were thicker and not quite so delicate and refined as the ones we ate in Sri Lanka, but they were tasty, we enjoyed them, and they bought back happy memories of Sri Lanka - we shall definitely return to this restaurant again soon. The dish at the back is a mildly spiced coconut milk, cashew nut, and pea curry.

The chef at one of the hotels in Sri Lanka showed us how to make a Coconut Sambal by kneading and working all of the ingredients well together by hand. I made some on my return home but admit that I placed all of the ingredients into my food processor and whizzed them up altogether. Definitely not prepared authentically, but it worked, and makes a useful side dish to any curry.
Coconut Sambal
1 cup of fresh coconut finely grated
(you can use desiccated coconut but sprinkle on a little hot water or hot coconut milk and leave for 10 mins)
1 large red onion chopped
1 - 2 tspns of chili powder
juice of 2 limes
2 chopped cloves garlic
pinch of natural salt crystals 
and a grinding of fresh black pepper.

26 comments:

  1. You certainly have a more adventurous palate than mine which is strictly of the 'stick to what you know and like' variety probably because on overseas trips I've usually fallen ill towards the end but that could be from backpacking and having to drink water from streams.( boiled and treated first of course.) Looks tasty though. I'm presuming you are vegetarian or close to it from previous food posts?

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    1. I am not actually a vegetarian Bob, but as time goes by I find myself leaning much more towards it. There are so many nutritious and tasty alternatives available today.
      Touch wood I have never been ill whilst travelling overseas, however, when abroad in somewhere like Asia I always drink bottled water. When we travelled through India we both remained healthy all of the time.

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  2. I can't say I have ever eaten a hopper or a curry (of any variety) for that matter. It does look delicious! What fun to have this new restaurant locally to visit. I wish my area had a variety of authentic ethnic cuisines to try. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. We feel fortunate that this restaurant has opened locally - it has a great atmosphere and authenticity too and is run by Sri Lankans. As far as I know Sri Lankan restaurants here are a completely new venture - they have also opened one in Oxford and one in Bristol. I believe there are also some street market Sri Lankan stalls in London - they seem to be the latest trend, as more people travel to Sri Lanka.
      Curries here are almost a national dish - most people frequent Indian restaurants and also make their own.

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  3. I've never heard of hoppers before but they look delicious!

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    1. As their popularity rises, may be they will be coming to a street near you soon.

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  4. That's the first time I've heard of it.

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    1. I am sure that in the future they will be something that you will hear of them again.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, Those hoppers sure look good. Are they cooked on a heated dome like some Indian breads or in a regular pan? I'll have to ask my Sri Lankan friends about them, but I know of no Sri Lankan restaurants either in Cleveland or Taipei. I'm like you--not really a vegetarian, although I can go for a long time without eating meat.
    --Jim

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    1. I am always interested to discover new flavours and things that I can make that are tasty. I imagine, that over time, these hoppers could be popular everywhere.
      They are cooked in a small deep pan, I have found a Youtube video that shows you how.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-1B-a64ekM

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  6. That sounds interesting - gluten free as well. Must try.

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    1. If you are interested in making some there is a youtube 'how to make them' done by a chef at a Sri Lankan hotel.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-1B-a64ekM

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  7. Hello Rosemary,
    I've never heard of Hoppers and wondered what they could be when I saw the title of your post. Trying new cuisines is fun for me, although I don't like too, too spicy foods.

    How interesting that your granddaughter visited Peru, and that your husband has been in Quito. It truly is a beautiful city sitting high in the Andes Mountains.

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    1. The good thing about Sri Lankan curries is that they do lots that are mildly spiced and not fiery hot like some of those from India. I think that it is because most of them have coconut milk in them which has a gentle and calming effect on the spices. They also make their ice cream with creamed coconut too.
      It was very strange that you mentioned Quito on the very weekend that we were discussing it. Whenever my husband mentions Quito nobody ever seems to know where it is.

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  8. I have not heard of a Hopper, but it does look and sound delicious, as do your sambals. What a treat to have this new restaurant nearby. I will ask my grandson if he tried Hoppers in Sri Lanka.

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    1. It would be fun to know if he did. They are a traditional street food in Sri Lanka, a quick nourishing food that can be readily carried and eaten in the hand when folded over like a taco. However, the hotels also make hoppers which you can ask for as long as you know about them.

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  9. I love Sri Lankan food and your recipe looks delicious. Will have to give it a go. Thanks. B x

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    1. If ever you are travelling in the West country there are now three Sri Lankan restaurant and a fourth is about to open - one in Cheltenham, one in Oxford, and one in Bristol with another opening there at Christmas - all are called The Coconut Tree. They are good value too.

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  10. Sounds delicious...waiting for a Sri Lankan street food restaurant to open in Milan :-)

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  11. Dearest Rosemary,
    That coconut sambal sounds yummy as I love coconut so much.
    The Hopper in your 1st photo looks very yummy but don't know how the one from your local restaurant compared. Hope the taste was stil good.
    So glad we now have steady power and slowly catching up on loads of things. The entire household got stalled! What are we without power?! Had to laugh when we dined with candles, food from the restaurant and simple but happy. Grateful for my battery operated candle set of 3 pillars that we got from my Thai-American friend. Just had put them up as we seldom used them but now it was perfect for the night.
    Our town is still not completely back to power, from several states they are working on it.
    We feel for the people south of us and in the Florida panhandle, who lost everything...
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - these terrible weather happenings around the world are frightening, but I am pleased that you fared better than you might have done especially compared with those south of you in Florida. We tend to take our power and modern appliances etc for granted until something like your hurricane happens.

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  12. I never had the chance to eat a Hopper - they look delicious; so I might try the Sri Lanka restaurants in Berlin (I never visited one till now).

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    1. Dear Britta - now you know what to watch out should you do visit a Sri Lankan restaurant. I really like their curries as they are not too hot or pungent and usually much more gentle mostly being made with coconut milk.

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  13. Looks nice - and makes me think that it must be related to a dosa. I love dosas but have not tried these. Or, not yet!!

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