Because I love food and talking about food, I wanted to do a quick post about shopping for groceries in Colombo. First of all, the seafood selection is tremendous. This doesn't help us, however, because James will not eat seafood. When he was gone the other evening I purchased some prawns but when I began preparing them they didn't seem fresh. At the large grocery stores you can find some beef and lamb but mostly people eat chicken and fish.
When you select produce, you have to wait in line at a weighing station to have the produce weighed and tagged. I didn't realize this the first time and in line the cashier looked at me like, "Um, what are you doing?" She just pointed me back to the produce section and a different young lady clerk just smiled and started taking peppers, potatoes, and garlic out of my cart to weigh them.
While I haven't purchased them yet, curry leaves are a big deal here. There are usually piles and piles of them near the weigh scale and almost everyone in the produce section buys a bag full.
While I have asked around about an informal cooking lesson once a week (paid for of course) I haven't found any takers. I'd love it if I could get an escort to the market, watch to see what the proper ingredients are, and then go home to make a simple curry. I have viewed YouTube videos on cooking but buying the right items at the store can be daunting.
For instance, during our last trip to the store, James and I went out on a limb and selected these things (that we normally would not buy): ginger powder, roasted curry powder, and basmati rice (it isn't instant). We have a rice cooker in our apartment but I don't know how to use it.
I'll try to break it out tomorrow and make some sort of curry. (No kidding - you can watch YouTube videos about how to use a rice cooker. )
At the store, many people also buy dried supplies - lentils, spices (I think) by the bulk. Not exactly sure what some of these ingredients are but I'm learning.