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Wild Cooking Class – Jetwing Yala

Wild Cooking Class – Jetwing Yala

By Juliet Coombe

Juliet Coombe discovers Jetwing Yala luxury safari camping is a great experience for all the family

As the sun went down, we arrived at the smartest looking outdoor barbecue cooking class set up, complete with a beautiful array of spicy colours and ingredients for making what Jetwing Yala’s Sous Chef, A. S. Jayasinghe (Jaya), told us was a traditional family meal – even though we were in the wilds of Yala with the occasional naughty elephant passing by the class was culinarily rich as we learnt why each and every spice was good for our health.

As we chopped up watched by a troop of passing monkeys and family of noisy wart hogs, I learn the best way to marinate fish and with which spices with the fish, the mix of cinnamon and curry leaves as they sizzled and popped in the pan filled the air with an amazing aroma. We knew as each of the ingredients was put together by us that we were in for a real treat as our jungle chef took us through each dish step by step.

As a family we had many laughs as things went in all directions; ingredients were poured in a plenty  from my youngest Amzar without too much care for precise quantities and plenty was inadvertently left behind on the ground for the attendant wild boar sow and her three little suckers to enjoy.

For all that, except for over generous quantities of chilli for my sensitive digestion, the meal was absolutely delicious and, once again, as they were poured from pan into pot they fizzled into a perfect blend of fresh perfumes that are ‘the land of milk and honey’ to the olfactory sense – this is something I have only experienced in Sri Lanka and at the best jungle camp cooking class that ended with sitting on tree trunks and eating the meal we prepared under the stars lit by candles. The whole thing was pure magic.