World Food Day + #LandRightsNow!

Food is culture. Food is connection. Food is land rights. This World Food Day, from 15-26 October, we are dining together, marching together, taking action together to demand land rights now for Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Oxfam Sri Lanka is featuring a unique dish known as Pothu Pittu, made only in Paanama, Sri Lanka. Paanama is a coastal area in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, home to communities which engage in agriculture and fishing as their main sources of livelihood.Nearly 350 families of the Paanama community living in the five smaller villages have been forcefully evicted from their lands by the state. With their homes torched, and crops destroyed, these families have been living with relatives or in makeshift temporary shelters, anxiously awaiting the moment when they will be allowed to return to their lands.On 11 February, through a cabinet decision the President of Sri Lanka decided to release 340 acres of land currently occupied by the air force back to the Paanama community.

However this decision is still remains unimplemented in the ground level. We call for immeadiate action to be taken to enact the desicions made on releasing these lands back to the community. 

 

 

  • Pothu pittu served in a clay pot with a wooden spoon

    Pittu is a form of steamed rice cake which can be considered a meal on its own. The key ingredient of Pothu pittu is ripe corn kernels. Usually villagers sun dry corn kernels before consuming it however this dish is an exception. It is ideally consumed for lunch or dinner. Traditionally this dish was favoured among farmers and all ingredients are typically sourced from their own cultivations. Removing the husk and selecting the most ripest corn is the secret behind cooking a good batch of Pothu pittu.  

  • Old woman preparing pothu pittu inside her home

    Ingredients:

    2 of ripe corn kernels
    2.5 cups of rice flour
    2 cups of coconut flakes
    2 tsp salt

    Preparation time: 40 minutes

     

  • Old woman waiting for the pothu pittu to form

    Method:

    • Add ripe corn kernels, rice flour, coconut flakes, salt to taste and ½ cup of water and mix it with your hands until you get a crumble-like texture.
    • Traditionally villagers use a pittu steamer, which is a tube-shaped vessel made from bamboo trunk.  Set up the steamer and once it comes to a boil fill the tube with the dry mixture.
    • Steam the pittu mixture for 5-7 minutes. Villagers use a small wooden dowel to push out the pittu from the steamer.
    • Repeat until the entire mixture is used.

    Traditionally this is consumed with coconut milk along with a side chillie mix called ‘lunu miris’. Lunu miris is a grounded mixture of chopped red onions, chillie, salt and lime.