Cooking up culture in Harmony Week

Boroondara is dishing out the flavours of multiple homelands.

This month we’re celebrating Harmony Week (21 to 27 March), which aims to spread a message of inclusiveness, respect and that ‘everyone belongs’.

We are celebrating our municipality’s diversity, and the flavours of Boroondara, by sharing recipes and stories from 6 different cultures and community members.

Our Harmony Week recipe cards, curated by our six resident cooks, give you the steps and ingredients you need to experience unique tastes and smells that evoke memories of their compelling migration journeys.

Harshini Amaratunga moved to Australia with her family in 2002. A mother of two grown-up boys, she shares her Sri Lankan heritage by preparing delicious food for her friends and family.

Woman wearing an apron with cooking ingredients piled on a bench

“It takes time for migrants to come to the country and adapt. When I first moved to Australia, it felt as if I’d moved to another planet. But over time I came to understand the accent, the culture and the places,” Harshini says.

Now, while Australia is home, I’m passionate about sharing my Sri Lankan culture and food with others.

“I’ve always loved to cook. I started sneaking into the kitchen at 13 to make something delicious and to put my own spin on recipes. For me, authentic Sri Lankan cooking is less about following the instructions and more about using beautiful, fresh ingredients.”

To celebrate Harmony Week, Harshini has shared her flair for flavour and the recipe for a traditional Sri Lankan household staple, dhal curry, which is traditionally served with yellow rice and pappadums.

Cooking up culture at home

The recipe for Harshini’s dhal curry will be available in March for download at Harmony Week.

You can pick up hard copies of all six Harmony Week recipes at any Boroondara library or neighbourhood centre – keep an eye out for them from mid-March.

Alternatively, if you’d like to receive the recipes by post, you can contact Customer Service on (03) 9278 4938.