Aunty’s Kitchen offers a variety of cooking classes which will help one gain knowledge on authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Located near Gangarama Park on Nelson Lane, it is a beautiful, chic studio designed as a nice kitchen with plenty of amenities.
Racks of neatly displayed spices and pots
They offer a number of different recipes one can prepare but for this particular class, we were set to make two curries, a salad, a sambol and papadum. All the kitchen equipment and ingredients that are needed to prepare the dishes were provided by the class itself, along with this cute apron – so you won’t get anything on yourself.
The ingredients that each dish needs were already set in place for us which we appreciate since it made the flow of the lesson go very smoothly. Also, prior to cooking, we were given an introduction of the ingredients to be used, as well as bits and bobs about Sri Lankan cuisine and how the flavours work together. It was quite interesting enough that it will be able to enlighten even the locals who are not familiar or has not stepped into the kitchen.
How It Went
The first lesson of the class was to learn how to open a King Coconut which was later served as a refreshing drink during the class. We then got a hands-on experience on how to crack open a coconut.
For a cooking newbie, having them explain to us the different kinds of spices – their benefits, origins and tips on how to use them, was quite helpful. I personally enjoyed taking a whiff of each and every one of the spices.
Grating the coconut
We then proceeded to grate the coconut we opened and extracted the coconut milk by hand which we used for our cooking.
Water into the dhal
Then, we got to work on our curries – starting from adding the correct amount of spices and how to regulate the flame of the stove. We cooked a dhal curry and a chicken curry.
Coconut milk into the marinated chicken
The chicken was already neatly cut to pieces, so we mixed the spices with our hand and later added other ingredients.
Working on the condiments was quite fun too. A pol sambol, tomato sambol were made by us, and some papadums were fried as well.
Tomato salad and pol sambol – done
A step by step guidance was provided by our instructor, Mr. Damien, who is a seasoned chef. Because of that, we never felt lost during the entire learning process. Through a friendly and informative approach, he explained everything coupled with his passion for cooking which made us feel as if we’ve become chefs ourselves just by paying attention.
Mr Damien teaching how to stir
We found ourselves enjoying what we’re doing, with the time flying by. One thing I personally observed is how Mr. Damien managed to keep the flow of the station going with never a dull moment even while you wait between ingredients to be heated up or to get cooked in the stove.
All the mouth-watering aromas that filled the air made us feel optimistic about how our finished product would turn out. After our adventure, we got to share our own meal among us with a traditional dessert – curd and treacle.
We also got a handly leaflet printed with the recipe that we created, encouraging us to recreate the dishes by ourselves at home.
For a guy who happens to love food but has limited hands-on knowledge when it comes to actually preparing and cooking a meal, taking a cooking class wasn’t really something I’ve thought of. But after this lesson, I’m sure glad that I got to be a part of that.
Having taken this class, I’ve come to realise that cooking isn’t just a skill that I should be able to learn just because it comes in handy. It can be a fun and fulfilling hobby.
For a price ranging from Rs. 5000 – 10000, you can book yourself a cooking class with an authentic Sri Lankan fare at Aunty’s Kitchen through AirBnB, TripAdvisor, or their own website. If you need any more information, you can give them a call at +94766941540, drop a mail to email@example.com or simply reach out to them through their social media accounts which you'll find at the bottom of this article.
Although these type of classes are curated for tourists who don’t have a lot of time to immerse into Sri Lankan cuisine, we recommend locals to give this experience a try as well. All the knowledge you’ll be gaining, the satisfaction and enjoyment you get from creating something so yummy, we’d say it’s very much worth it.