For a taste of authentic Sri Lankan street food in Norfolk, try Amma’s Kitchen, says Sarah Hardy
Although trained and qualified in IT by profession, Udaya Laskan Jayasinghe, nick-named Lucky, is tantalising taste buds in Norfolk with his new street food business.
His business is called Amma’s Kitchen, and Lucky tours the county in his rather stylish converted horsebox serving up the delicate delights of his home country, using his mother’s tried and tested recipes. In fact, it sounds like Lucky is often on the phone to his mum, asking questions and seeking out expert advice. ‘Oh yes, she is very proud, and very interested in what I’m trying to do,’ he says. ‘She was one of 10 children herself, and taught me to cook – how to blend spices, which herbs to use and so on.’
Lucky, who lives in Aylsham and has worked as a chef in the region, reckons the key to his success is his curry powder, handmade using his own special family recipe each week. ‘Don’t think that the dishes are hot, they are spicy and that’s because I use cloves, fresh curry leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon and chillies – but only as dishes need them; the chillies are never overpowering.’
Coconut is another key ingredient as the milk used for curries and the flesh is scraped for chutneys, rotis and sambols. And Lucky uses fresh coconuts where possible. ‘Of course, in Sri Lanka, we just pick the coconuts off the trees so the milk is delicious.’
His menus change once a month, and you can expect curries, marsala dosas, cutlets, vada, rotis and flatbreads, with vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and indeed dairy free options all available.
Dishes are light, delicate and very flavoursome, and this month’s menu includes devilled chicken with vegetable rice and potato curry (£7.50), cashew nut and green pea curry, mixed vegetable curry, served with rice (£6) and a Sri Lankan beef/chicken curry with rice and a choice of potato or mixed vegetable curry (£7.50). Also look out for lentil fritters. His packaging is recyclable.
Lucky set up his own business last year and it is very much a labour of love, from converting his horsebox, to spending a lot of time researching recipes, planning menus and sourcing the finest herbs and spices. But he is delighted to have made the leap, saying: ‘Running your own business is a good balance when you have a family – I get to see a lot of my four year old son so yes, I would recommend it. It can be stressful but I enjoy it.’
He has bought two more horseboxes and is planning on developing his business, with one of those almost completed. ‘I would like to do something in the daytime, from Monday to Friday – say breakfasts, with Sri Lankan tea!’
Amma’s Kitchen, which translates as mum’s kitchen, takes to the road on Friday and Saturday evenings.
- This week on Friday, March 26, find Amma’s Kitchen at Spixworth Village Hall, near Norwich, and on Saturday, March 27, find them at Beeston Common Lay-by, near Sheringham.