During Sri Lanka Mirror’s visit to Moneragala, for the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ national exhibition, we came across a local resident selling corn. Not boiled BUT those roasted on ashes!
When one of my friends who went to Moneragala ahead of the exhibition had messengered a delightfully roasted ear of corn saying, ‘send u some?’ I was initially on the seventh realm of speechlessness. And then the outrage poured out in a torrent which was smoothed out only with a promise to go have some once the entire staff was there for the event.
Boiled corn is a popular street food of festival snack not only in the Colombo suburbs but in many areas of the country. However, corn on the cob roasted on ashes is more popular in areas where the crop is cultivated and locals, especially by children who love to roast corn on the fields before eating it in the fresh air.
Frankly, I was surprised how many fellow Colombo townsfolk have not had ash roasted corn.
The promise was kept and despite his unshielded delight and amusement at our uncontrolled enthusiasm and fascination, there was a hidden sorrow in his eyes as he treated us to roasted corn with care, generously supplemented with salt and fresh peppercorns. Over a chat, he revealed that his beloved roadside kiosk, which was on the boundaries of the exhibition location had been dismantled for the event.
Although he admitted it did make him lose a pretty penny, just when massive crowds would mean booming business, he had not given up. ‘I will set it up again once this is over,’ he said, wistfully looking at where his thriving kiosk once stood across the road, before heaving a sigh.
Turning his attention to another fresh ear of corn, he skewered it, dipped in salty water before letting it lie on the burning coals. Turning them over and over, he took them out, steaming, perfectly done every time… And with a sprinkle of fresh salt and peppercorns? Regardless of all the fine dining I had had the privilege to indulge in over the years, this trumps as one treat I would remember to my dying day…
(Story /Pics : Shanika Jayasekara)