Coconut Sambol - Sri Lankan take away and more…..

Recently in Chelmsford there has been an influx of different restaurants offering a multitude of different cuisines, however takeaways have been mainly limited to kebabs, pizza, chinese and indian. When I heard that Mudith Mathanga had started up a business offering Sri Lankan cuisine I was intrigued to try it. We met with Mudith and his wife Lucy, who were both very welcoming and talked about Mudith’s love of cooking and early influences as well as being treated to several samples of his dishes.

Mudith originally from the south coast of Sri Lanka, a city called Galle, which he says is a very colonial city, with British, Portuguese and Dutch influences and it is this combination of different influences, combined with freshly sourced local ingredients and Sri Lankan spices that makes this food truly amazing and also very healthy.

He comes from a great family of cooks with his mum and two sisters always being inventive in the kitchen and encouraging the family to try new things and experiment with food. His brother, also a great cook, specialises in combining both Chinese and Sri Lankan food thus giving his dishes a unique twist. Although Mudith himself never actually cooked as a young boy he was always watching and learning from his family.

In the early 2000’s Mudith arrived in the UK and begun to take cooking more seriously he began to put what he had learnt in Sri Lanka to good effect, working in different hotels including the Marriot and Malmaison, helping out in the kitchens at first and learning from the chefs there. He started cooking Sri Lankan curries for the chefs who he says “loved it”. Mudith earned a reputation for being a great cook and was always being asked by his friends and family to cook for them, especially at parties, clearly having a talent for chefing, word of mouth spread amongst his friends and they all told him he should cook for a living.

Although largely self taught he has completed several courses, including nutrition and food hygiene and has been rated 5 stars by the council’s healthy takeaway site, ‘Tuck In’. He has also cooked at several different live shows ‘The Manchester destination show’ and the ‘London Olympia travel show’, where he cooked live on stage. They were so impressed they want to see him at the ideal home show in London.

Talking about his food, Mudith tells me that he still gets his sister to send him his spices from Sri Lanka. This is for two reasons, firstly these are the spices that he is used to working with and secondly it makes his dishes truly authentic. He goes on to say that he uses only fresh vegetables to accompany the meat, cooked in many different ways so that people never tire of it. He uses only coconut oil and coconut milk, this means that his cooking is dairy free (no cream, ghee, butter, milk or yoghurt in his dishes) which make them a very good option for both vegans and vegetarians. The curries are very light and not greasy or heavy at all.

I can personally testify to all the above his food is indeed delicious and beautifully presented. We were given a take away box to try which consisted of Sri Lankan chicken curry, coconut sambol (a staple accompaniment made from fresh coconut shavings, chilli, lime and onion) and vegetable curry. There was so much flavour packed into this meal a lot of depth to the taste, spicy but not overly hot. It further impressed me that Mudith labels his take away boxes with the preparation date, the expected shelf life and a full detail of the ingredients. This is a great touch and for me the first time I’ve seen it on a take away.

As well as offering weekend takeaways, tasty lunch boxes (examples of which can be seen in the photo’s) for work places and offices. Mudith also hosts private parties and will cook for you and your guests so that you can all relax with a glass of wine or several whilst he conjures up a variety of different dishes in your kitchen, tailored to your own personal tastes, you can choose between 2, 3 or even a 4 course menu.
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So you’ve probably tried Chinese, Thai and Indian so why not give Sri Lankan a try you will not be disappointed for more details on the food and prices please his facebook or Twitter page Coconut Sambol. Alternatively contact via phone or email.

Email. mudithmathanga@yahoo.co.uk

Mobile: Mudith 07853171769 or Lucy – 07882010773

By
Steven Gansbuehler

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