It is simply impossible to find Kandha leaves in Canada. Having said that, I found that banana leaves are a great substitute. Here, we can find banana leaves easily in some of the Vietnamese grocery stores. Last time when my mother-in-law visited Sri Lanka, she brought a bag of Kandha leaves and I made Halapa several times with them. Actually, I reused them thrice. Then, one day my husband brought a pack of Banana leaves as he wanted eat rice on them. Then, I wanted to try making Halapa with them and they turned out wonderfully. Identically, it also gives that unique taste and the smell that Kandha leaves give to Halapa. So try with Banana leaves, it really works.
- Kandha leaves or Banana leaves
- 3- 4 cups of Kurakkan flour
- Cooked treacle-coconut (refer to the recipe in Rasakama.com)
1. 2- 3 cups of scraped coconut
2. ¾ – 1 cup of sugar or 1 – 1 ¼ cup of treacle
- 1 tsp of Ground roasted cardamom, fennel and cloves (Refer to the method in Rasakama)
- Few cardamom seeds
- 2 cloves
- 1 tsp of Fennel seeds
- 1/8 tsp of salt (a pinch)
- Water as needed
Firstly, make cooked-treacle-coconut-mixture (Pani Pol) as shown in rasakama.com and leave it aside until it cool downs to room temperature. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine “pani Pol” with kurakkan (Finger Millet) flour. Remember, your consistency should be slightly sticky. You can adjust the consistency with little bit of water, if necessary.
Now, make balls with your palms and place on either a Kandha leaf or cut banana leaf and fold by pressing gently.
After, place them vertically around the wall of the steamer, allowing the steam to be exposed to Halapa from the center.
Steam for about 4 minutes and enjoy with a plain- tea without sugar (My husband’s preference).