Sri Lanka is not just the land of pristine beaches and unorthodox tea, but also the land of palatable curries and rice. Sri Lankan cuisine is similar to South Indian food, yet it has its own distinctive taste and flavours that can’t be ignored. The impact of years of colonization and strong influence from different countries can be seen in the blend of different dishes, curry concoctions, and unique types of breads: Theti Paan and Roast Paan served in Sri Lanka.
You may wonder how is it possible for such a small country to have so many varieties of food. It’s not just the diverse flora and fauna, but also their ethnic diversity that made Sri Lankan cuisine so unique. Long, long ago in the 15th and 16th centuries, traders from India, Europe, Arabia, Africa, and the Malay World came to Sri Lanka and brought their native cuisines, different cooking styles, and techniques. For instance, Lamprais is a Dutch-influenced dish, most of the sweets are Portuguese-influenced, while British influences are roasted beef and roasted chicken.
Here is a list of some Sri Lankan dishes that are too good to miss.
The best vegetarian Sri Lankan cuisine
1. Asmi – The most delicious combination of milk, rice flour, cinnamon leaves, and coconut milk you’ll ever taste.
Preparation: Milk is added to rice flour, which is continuously kneaded. Later, cinnamon leaves are squeezed into a cup of coconut milk, which is used to make the batter. It’s then deep fried in oil and garnished with treacle syrup.
Ingredients used: rice flour, cinnamon leaves, treacle, and coconut milk.
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2. Gotu Kola Mallum Sambola – Shredded greens, onion, chilli, Maldive fish, and coconut
Preparation: This Sri Lankan cuisine is like a healthy green salad prepared by mixing shredded green vegetables, basic spices available, coconut, chilli, onion, and Umbalakada fish.
Ingredients used: green vegetables, green chilli, onion, coconut, and Umbalakada fish
Eaten with: rice & curry dishes
3. Polos – A spicy dish of green jackfruit curry and aromatic spices
Preparation: Spices are dry roasted, small pieces of jackfruit are mixed with the roasted spices. Mustard seed oil is heated in a pan, and garlic, onion, curry leaves, lemongrass and cinnamon are added. Then jackfruit pieces are mixed with the gravy and coconut mix is poured. It’s then cooked for an hour.
Ingredients used: Jackfruit, cinnamon, curry leaves, spices, garlic, lemongrass, onion, mustard seeds, and coconut milk.
Eaten with: Rice and Parippu
4. Parippu – Spicy lentils eaten with steamed rice
Preparation: This delicious Sri Lankan cuisine is prepared using boiled red lentils. Curry leaves, onion, spices, and garlic are added to hot oil, and the curry is cooked until it turns yellow.
Ingredients used: red and yellow lentils, spices, onion, curry leaves, coconut milk, and garlic.
Eaten with: rice and wambatu moju
5. Wambatu Moju – A flavoured pickle prepared using eggplant and other Sri Lankan spices
Preparation: Sri lankan cuisine is a highly flavoured side dish prepared by cutting eggplant in wedges and deep frying them to give crispy texture. Then it’s caramelized with sugar, vinegar, green chillies, red onions, and mustard seeds.
Ingredients used: eggplant, spices, oil, vinegar, onion, green chillies, and sugar.
Eaten with: plain rice and roasted paan
The most appetizing non vegetarian Sri Lankan cuisine
6. Fish ambul thiyal – A saporous fish dish eaten with bread
Preparation: Preparing this Sri Lankan cuisine is easier than you think. Fishes are cut into cubes and then sauteed in an aromatic blend of spices. It is then cooked until the little water is reduced.
Ingredients used: pandan leaves, curry leaves, oil, spices, a large & firm fish, and dried goraka.
Eaten with: roasted paan or theti paan
7. Kottu – Sri Lanka’s delicious hamburger
Preparation: A popular Sri Lankan cuisine, Kottu is prepared using a flat crispy bread called godamba roti. The roti is deep fried and chopped, and then vegetables and spices are added to the mix. The preparation is served with spicy curry sauce.
Ingredients used: godamba roti, spices, and vegetables.
Eaten with: spicy curry sauce
8. Kukul Mas Curry – A simple yet flavoursome curry served with rice
Preparation: Spices are fried in oil, coconut milk and tomato puree are added. Chicken pieces are then added to the thick gravy and stewed for a while. It tastes best with rice and bread.
Ingredients used: spices, curry leaves, lemongrass, pandan leaves, oil, coconut milk, and chicken.
Eaten with: plain rice or theti paan
Suggested Read: 10 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Should be Your Next Holiday Destination
9. Lamprais – An awesome combination of combination of meat, rice and sambal chili sauce
Preparation: This Sri Lankan cuisine is a flavourful dish eaten with rice. Meat, rice, and sambal chili sauce are wrapped in a banana leaf packet to steam. The rice is cooked with meat stock and then served with the meat curry on a banana leaf.
Ingredients used: Oil, spices, meat, beef/pork/lamb stock, and rice.
Eaten with: Rice
10. Sri Lankan Egg Hoppers – Delicious pancakes for breakfast
Preparation: A fermented concoction of rice flour, coconut milk, and a hint of sugar is used to make the batter. The batter is cooked in a small wok and swirled around to even it out. An egg is cracked into the bowl-shaped pancake and garnished with chilies, lunumiris, onions, lemon juice, and salt.
Ingredients used: egg, chillies, lemon juice, lunumiris, oil, flour and coconut milk for batter.
Eaten with: spicy chile sauce, dhaal curry, and chutney
Do these fiery curries, sweet caramelized onion, rice, delicious sweets, and deep fried dishes make you want to visit Sri Lanka right away? You can create your own Sri Lanka tour package and experience the country like never before.
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