They don’t resemble each other, save for the sweetness you discover biting into their textures, which tend to vary a lot.
Out of this family of Sri Lankan sweetmeats, including mung-kevum, hendi-kevum, mee-wada- kevum and naran-kevum, the undoubted queen is konde-kevum. She rules over the sweetmeats on the festive table, and she is the Sinhala equivalent of ‘hot cakes’ when people want to talk about a sensational sell-out.
When piping hot, they are a pleasure to munch onto.Today you find them a bit soft and pliant, but originally, konde kevum were hard. It was the practice to dip the sweet in treacle, when it would become less firm, and enjoy the dripping- delicious wonder. Today this method has become too costly.
For housewives and the beginners, the biggest travail in making kevum is to master the conical bit in the middle of the kevum, the ‘konde’. But if you learn the correct (and really very simple) technique, this would be no issue at all.
Here is a short, very easy to make recipe for konde-kevum.
250g of rice flour | 1 cup of treacle | salt
• Sift the flour, add salt and mix with treacle. Keep aside for 15 – 30 minutes.
• The kevum is not deep-fried, so don’t use too much oil. The oil should not cover the kevum.
• As you pour the flour mixture into the pan, beat it into shape with a spoon.
• Then, make a hole in the soft middle with the koora (thin iron stick) and lift it up gently so the konde rises up, cone-shaped.
• The koora is hot so the cold flour in the middle of the kevum clings to the koora. That flour should be coaxed up and shaped conically with a spoon. If there’s not enough flour, more should be added to maintain its shape.
For those who fret about consuming too much oil, there is an easy answer; if you control the fire properly, neither too high nor too low, the kevum won’t absorb much oil. Finally, what can you call the hallmarks of the konde kevum par excellence?
It’s all in the konde. It has to be conical, straight and sturdy and 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches long. If ever you happen to come across a kevum, before biting off the konde, be sure to as certain it is upto standard.
Information on Konde Kevum courtsey of master chef Dr. Publis Silva, Director, Culinary Affairs, Mt. Lavinia Hotel.