Colombo, September 3: Kevum or Konda Kavu is mentioned in ancient Sri Lankan texts including the Ummagga Jatakaya, Saddharma Ratnawaliya and Pujawaliya as a delectable sweet. It is a festival sweet especially associated with the Sinhala New Year where it is part of an array of sweetmeats and savouries.
The Dhathuwansaya, an ancient Sinhala text, mentions 18 kinds of kevum including Sedhi Kevum, Mun Kevum, Ulundu Kevum, Uthupu (shaped using a coconut shell) and Ginipu (fire kevum)
- Konda kevum hair kevumis the most common variant. It has a dark reddish colour. The dough of rice flour and kithul treacle is flavoured with salt and cardamon Konda the Sinhala word for a lock of hair, a shape the konda kevum resembles. It is shaped by hand and without a special mould.
- Naran kevum) – mandarin kevumis the size and shape of a mandarin, colored yellow with saffrom, green gram flour and scraped coconut are added to the basic kevum mix of rice flour and treacle.
- Thala kevum – sesame kevumhave sesame in the kevum dough.
- Undu kevum – dal kevumis kevum flavored with urad dal.
- Mun kevum – gram kevumadds green gram flour and saffron to the kevum mix of rice flour and treacle. The kevum are diamond shaped and yellow.
How To Make It
- 1 kg of Rice flour
- 500 ml of Coconut Syrup (Pol paeni) or Kithul paeni
- Oil for Frying
- Wooden stick
- some caraway seeds (maduru)
.The floor must be very finely sieved.
- Put it into a ball add syrup and mix well together adding a little salt and little hot water, if the batter is too thick. If not sure of the consistency it is best to fry a Kavum and see whether it is right before adding the water.
- Keep ready a deep found-bottom pan of boiling coconut or vegetable oil.
- Pour spoonful of the batter and as it begins to fry and the centre rises pour in a little more batter into the centre and insert an ekel in the middle of the fritter, not allowing it to go through.
- Keep twisting the ekel round and round and at the same time splashing the boiling oil on the fritter using an oil spoon for the purpose.
- This is to produce the Konde (hair) Press round the base of the Konde with the spoon to get it in to the proper shape.
- The Kavum must have a nice brown colour when fried. Drain well.
(The pictures were taken by Tang Lu of the Xinhua News Agency at a leading hotel in Colombo. Editor Wu Qin)