Watalappan was the dessert of my childhood. Growing up in a not-so Sri Lankan community, friends and family made sure this dessert was present at every gathering. More often than not, my mother, or Ammi as I call her, was the one to make it. To this day, I get excited when I see that hunk of jaggery come out and I know I have a chance to steal slices of that sweet sugar. Sri Lanka, being an island nation, is plentiful in Caryota urens, the followering plant from which jaggery originates. Watalappan uses the beloved sweetness of jaggery, while enhancing it with common South Asian flavors such as coconut and cardamom. Jaggery can be commonly found in Indian stores across the country.
In this image obtained from Ankur P through Wikipedia, you can see the richness of the jaggery in the color and syrup of this watalappan. You can taste the sweetness of the dessert by simply making this wonderful dish!