How to make watalappan in a microwave?

Watalappan (or wattilappam or vattilappam) is a popular in Sri Lankan desert seemingly with a Malay in origin. It is more like a custard or pudding made with “jaggery“, coconut milk and eggs as the main ingredients. Traditionally this is steam cooked and would normally take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to prepare.

Here is my take on the same recipe with a little twist where I cook it in a microwave, which takes about 5 minutes for preparation and 5-8 minutes of cooking time. This is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious dessert, even for a guy like me.

Watalappan - Made in a microwave


  • 5 Eggs
  • 250 ml Coconut milk, thick
  • 250 g “Jaggery
  • 1 Cinnamon quill, broken
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Grated nutmeg (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cardamom seeds (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract (Optional)
  • Butter, to grease
  • Raisins and roasted cashew nuts, to serve


  • Add the eggs to a bowl and whisk them well
  • Add “jaggery” and all the spices and mix them well
  • Add the mixture into a greased microwave-safe bowl
  • Cook it in microwave covered for 5-8 minutes
  • Sprinkle some raisins and roasted cashew nuts
  • Let it cool before serving


  • “Jaggery” is an unrefined sugar typically made from sugar cane or date palm sap and often used in Indian and Sri Lankan recipes. You can substitute it with grated dark palm sugar
  • Cooking time can vary on depending on the microwave power or amount of the mixture. I would suggest start at 5 minutes and increase by a minute each time while checking if it is cooked.

A Dinner with the Brisbane Lord Mayor Councillor Graham Quirk

Last Friday, Brisbane International Student Ambassadors were invited by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane City, Councillor Graham Quirk, for a dinner. It was a unique opportunity for most of the Student Ambassadors. This video is a snapshot from the pleasant afternoon.

It was a pleasant evening with loads of laughs and some good food. It was also another opportunity to meet some of my fellow student ambassadors after a while and we had some good times chatting away. Except for the fact that I was a bit tipsy towards the end of the evening, I think all went well. 😉

Nimal with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Councillor Graham Quirk
Nimal with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Councillor Graham Quirk

Photographs from: Leong Ming En

Asia Pacific Cities Summit returns to Brisbane

2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS)

The 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit, takes place at the Brisbane Exhibition Centre between July 6 – 8 and brings together business and civic leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Americas. The City of Brisbane hosts this year’s summit under the theme “Business of Cities”, with emphasis on sustainability, connectivity, and managing growth.

Brisbane City
This summit is strategically tailored for business matching that enables businesses to meet and create opportunities with companies and contacts from the Asia-Pacific and around the world. The summit has already attracted more than 80 cities from Australasia, Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and the Americas. It promises to be a grand event with over 500 delegates registered, including nearly 50 mayors, and 100 business organisations. This also marks an important statement that Brisbane is back to business after the January floods.

Brisbane - Open for Business
The program features over 40 expert speakers drawn from multinational corporations, leading world municipalities and global organisations. The exciting benefits for delegates include keynote speeches from –former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, and founder of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City

For more information visit the summit website

Personal note/Disclaimer/Hidden adgenda: The summit also hosts a Yong Professionals’ Program, which I hope I’ll be able to attend (given that I manage to prepare for my PhD confirmation that is scheduled for the same day). The Brisbane International Student Ambassadors will be there at the summit to participate on workshops, forums and seminars on professional development.

Study in Brisbane

Reading Again, Books

Libraries used to be my favourite hangout location during my school days. I had memberships in many libraries in town, where I would read anything that is not related to schoolwork. I always think my addiction to books came from my father. The Colombo Public Library was close to my school and there was a time when I visited there every other day. I preferred both fiction and non-fiction, almost all in Tamil. Those days English was just a subject at school that I had to pass. Towards the end of high school, I started reading some books in English, but they were all on Electronics or Physics, mostly related to the crazy experiments we used to do.

The days of excessive reading ended after high school and I kept a good distance from books and the library during my undergraduate days. Except for the mandatory registration at the library every year, I went to the uni library less than ten times in four years. It was the time when stopped reading books and I started reading more online. Now, I am one year into my PhD, and reading has become the major part of my life. It is the bulk of research papers related to my work.

There is still that little thing in the back of the mind about libraries and reading books, which is the reason I joined the City Council Library in Brisbane. Recently I had an opportunity to take a tour of the Brisbane Square Library. It is not the largest or the greatest library, but it is definitely one of the coolest.

Now, having started reading again, I have already warned myself to keep reading to minimum to focus on real work.

Brisbane Lions vs Fremantle Dockers: My First AFL Game

Its 2am on a Saturday night. I came back from the Brisbane Lions vs Fremantle Dockers AFL game at The Gabba around 1. It was a very close game and Brisbane Lions lost be by 2 at 92-94. However, Sri Lanka has just won the match against England in the Cricket World Cup quarter finals.

The Gabba, Home of the Brisbane Lions
The Gabba, Home of the Brisbane Lions

Today is another wonderful day with the Brisbane International Student Ambassadors, and for many of us this is our first AFL game. They say footy is like carnival in Australia, but it was literally a carnival outside the Gabba. There was lots of interesting stuff going around for us to spend almost an hour outside, before getting into the stadium.

Free stuff from Brisbane Lions
Free stuff from Brisbane Lions
African Drummers
African Drummers jamming with a group of children
The BISA Photographers
Photographing a photographer photographing a photographer photographing.

I have known Gabba as a cricket ground, but as AFL games are also played in cricket grounds. It was not a very packed stadium today, with a crowd around 25,000.

Brisbane Cricket Ground
AFL games are played in cricket grounds
Brisbane International Student Ambassadors
The Ambassadors...!
The front row seats
The front row seats were wonderful, thanks to Brisbane Lions for the free tickets.

When we got into the stadium, we still had some time for the start of the game. So our own Aussie student ambassador Sam offered a quick tutorial on AFL rules for us, dummies.

Sam & Ming
The Quick Start AFL Guide for Dummies. Sam explaining how games are played for Ming's video.

I was wrong to think AFL and rugby league would have a lot in common. After this game I could see more differences than commonalities. AFL more fast-moving game with less restrictive rules than rugby league.

Play time
Play time

In a AFL game players are allowed to do all sorts things, pushing/pulling each other to bumping on each other intentionally. It might look like a more rough from of football, may be next to American football, but that is what makes it a more fast phased game.

Kick for the goal...
Kick for the goal...

The end of the game was not in favor of the Brisbane Lions. They were leading until the last 5 minutes before the last two goals by Fremantle Dockers, and losing the game by 2 points.

On the grounds after the game
On the grounds after the game

Another interesting aspect of this game is they let us go into the ground for sometime to kick the balls ourselves.

The Gabba
The Gabba. Time to leave.

AFL might not be the great sport in the world, but it is not of the highly intense, fast-moving and active sport I have seen. (Disclaimer: I don’t follow any sports that much to make a proper comparison though.) We had a great time as a group of ambassadors at the games and it’s one another wonderful chapter of my student life in Brisbane.

How students can buy discounted Lions tickets?

Brisbane Lions offer tickets their home games at a discounted rate for student. You can buy tickets from Ticket Master either online, over the phone or in person.

Study in Brisbane