I am reading The Danish Girl for book club. I am not that far into the book – so there are no spoilers here for anyone who may be concerned but there was a part very early in the book that blew my teeny mind and most likely not at all for the any of the reasons you might be thinking!
Here is the passage:
Even with his eyes closed, standing shirtless in front of his wife felt obscene. It felt as if she’s caught him doing something he had promised he would avoid – not like adultery, but more like resuming a bad habit he’d given his word he would quit, like drinking aquavit in the canal bars of Christianshavn or eating frikadeller in bed”
– David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl
In Sri Lankan Burgher cooking, we have a delicious meatball called a Frikkadel. The name was too similar to the frickadeller found in The Danish Girl for me not to undertake some extensive research. (Otherwise known as googling the word Frikadeller.) And yes, they are pretty much one and the same.
Knowing this also helped to fill a gap in my knowledge about these meatballs. I have long wondered why they are flavoured with dill which is not used that much in Sri Lankan cooking. But it is used a lot in Scandinavian Cooking. Mystery solved!
I cooked some ages ago and never got around to posting them so here are my Friikkadels.
Sri Lankans would not normally eat frikkadels in bed but they would be quite commonly handed round at a drinks party as a “short eat” which is what we call finger food.
Here is the “official” description from the delightful ( but totally demented) Daily News Cookbook, a bastian of Sri Lankan Cooking.
“The term “short eats” was originally used to describe the dainty sandwiches, dry cheese or other savoury biscuits, potato chips and miniature sausages accompanying the drinks at sherry or cocktail parties which usually began at six o’clock in the evening and lasted for a couple of hours at the most….
The chief requisite of short eats is that should appeal to the eye as well as the palate; but they must also be easy to eat – that is, small enough to be conveyed to the mouth with the fingers or, at the most, a small wooden pick”
My frikkadels were eaten as short eats with a dollop of date and tamarind chutney and a garnish of coriander. However, the best, best, best way to eat your frikkadels – better than a short eat or even in bed is as part of a lampries.
Part of a what you ask? One day, when I have an infinite amount of time on my hands I will make one for you. And your minds will be blown by the awesome deliciousness of them. It’s unlikely to happen in the foreseeable purely because of the seven billion things that need to be included. For the lampries is a little pack of many items of Sri Lankan delciousness. Traditionally this would be cooked and served in banana leaves but nowadays alfoil is also used. The lampries contains:
- Ghee rice
- Lampries Curry – made with chicken, lamb beef and pork. I know it sounds mental but it’s so good!
- Brinjal Pahi – which is an eggplant pickle
- Coconut Sambal
- Prawn Blachang – which is a dried prawn pickle type thing. Ish.
Now do you see why I will most likely never make this myself? Not only do you need have all of those things. But they all have about twenty ingredients each. To make lampries tis a labour of love. Which is why we buy them frozen. The best are straight from the kitchen of a little old Sri Lankan lady. Next best is from your local Sri Lankan cafe or restaurant.
And here is one that I ate at The Dutch Burgher Union when we were in Sri Lanka last year:
This was voted the best lampries in Colombo in a Yamu Survey:
My favourite way of eating a lampries is to eat one of the frikkadels first. Then the rest. Then the second frikkadel as the very last thing. Kind of like the cherry on the top!
Frikkadels came to Sri Lanka from the Dutch who borrowed them from the Danes. There is also a South African version also via the Dutch. Frikkadels can also be found in many other countries of Northern Europe. This is certainly the little meatball that could!
- 500g minced beef - do not use the leanest type, you need a higher fat content to keep the frikkadels moist
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- a piece of ginger about the same size as the clove of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp black pepper
- juice of 1 lime
- a large pinch of ground cloves
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sprigs of dill, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of bread crumbs for coating
- Oil for frying, ideally coconut but peanut will do
- Lime wedges to serve.
- Coriander leaves to serve
- Chutney or sweet chilli sauce to serve
- Separate the eggs.
- Mix the minced (ground) beef, onions, ginger, garlic, pepper, lime juice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg dill and salt thoroughly with the egg yolks.
- Form into balls the size of large marbles.
- Beat the whites of the eggs with a fork just enough to break them up but without frothing.
- Dip the balls into the eggs whites then roll in the crumbs so they are well coated.
- Heat the oil in a deep pan until boiling then fry the frikkadels a few at a time.
- When cooked through they should be crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.
- Keep hot, draining on kitchen paper.
- Serve with a wedge of lime, chutney or as part of a lampries.
The Danish Girl does not open here until the end of the month. Have any of you seen it? What did you think?
Have a fabulous week!