When she left Jaffna on her husband's arm as an 18-year-old, Sathanithi Somasekaram took with her the secrets of her mother's kitchen - she carried the recipes of curry powder and kool, the bruised pink of the Rasavalli pudding, and the delicacy of the milk rotti in her head. When she finally put them to paper, her book "Jaffna Cookery" became one of the few compilations of authentic Jaffna recipes, and a compendium of the tastes of her childhood. Coconut and palmyrah make many an appearance, but so do drumsticks and eggplant. Jaffna cuisine is above all famous for its use of the fresh seafood that abounds along those coasts. The soup known as Kool is among the region's signature dishes. "Everyone likes it," says Mrs. Somasekaram, explaining that the dish is a meal in itself. Its unique flavour results from a slew of mouth watering ingredients. Crab, fish, cuttlefish, prawns and crayfish create a seafood broth into which Mrs. Somasekaram adds long beans, jak seeds, manioc and spinach. With hints of tamarind, the entire dish is thickened with the help of palmyrah root flour. Mrs. Somasekaram's book includes pictures of some signature dishes. In a layout for lunch, red rice accompanies a set of curries that appear to conform to the standard rice and curry menu that is so common across the island. A closer inspection however, provides something of a surprise.