Discover Sri Lanka through its Food
by Jetwing · Published · Updated
Sri Lanka is among the most diverse countries in the world; culturally, geographically, and gastronomically. Sri Lankan cuisine is vast, electrifying and unique, and there is something new to reconnoitre in every district. If you’re seeking a culinary escapade like no other, the pearl of the Indian Ocean is the place for you.
A journey to the island of Sri Lanka is an opening to feast on its lavish, melting-pot cuisine, which is swayed by its geography. Positioned in the mighty Indian Ocean amid Western and Eastern culture, one can expect a profusion of flavours…
Discover Sri Lanka through food…
01. Kottu roti
While on a city tour on the streets of the island’s commercial capital, it’s common to witness the rhythmic clank of the ‘kottu’ maker on the streets – the ultimate Sri Lankan street food. The recipe entails a stir-fry which had originated as a simpler way of tackling with leftovers. The dish features pieces of roti mixed with finely shredded vegetables and meat, seasoned with spices, garlic, ginger, and sauces, on a flat iron skillet, with the aid of two metal cleavers. One may usually find this in the evenings on the many street stalls of the city. Dig into Colombo’s street food scene and eat, eat, eat your way through the city like a local!
A Sri Lankan dish introduced by the island’s Dutch Burger population community. ‘Lamprais’ originates from the Dutch terminology that translates as ‘a packet of food’. The dish consists of eggplant, frikkadels (Dutch-style beef balls), boiled eggs, sambol, and mixed meats. The recipe is further infused with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and rice. The ingredients are then mixed and enclosed in a banana leaf and baked in the oven at a low temperature for a couple of hours.
03. Dhal Curry
The comfort food of Sri Lanka is rice and curry. As such, the dhal curry is made from red lentils and cooked in coconut milk. The dish is seasoned with tomatoes, onions, and fresh green chilies. Later, all are sautéed and mixed with tempered spices like fenugreek, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and pandan leaves. The dish is much more delicious to relish upon when prepared in an earthen pot.
04. Wambatu moju (Eggplant)
This is among the most celebrated classics of the Sri Lankan cuisine with an abundance of regional variations. Traditionally served with rice, the taste is of caramelised pickle. The eggplant is sliced and deep-fried and then mixed with ground mustard seeds, sugar, cloves, salt, and vinegar to form a piquant dark saucy moju. This is then added to shredded ginger, fried shallots, crushed garlic and served with plain rice.
05. Egg hoppers with sambol – ‘Appa’
Traditionally cooked at home over coconut-shell embers, the hoppers are the Sri Lankan version of thin pancakes with crispy edges. These delightful crepe looking bowls are prepared from coconut milk, fermented rice flour, coconut water and a dash of sugar. A ladle of batter is poured into a tiny wok and whirled around. To complete the hopper, an egg is cracked into the bowl-shaped pancake as it cooks. Once cooked, the hopper is garnished with lunu miris – a local sambol which entails of lime juice, onions, chilies, and salt. One may also relish this dish with Pol sambol, a fresh coconut relish which is a simple blend of finely grated coconut, dried whole chilies, red onions, dried fish, lime juice and salt. This is sprinkled over almost everything and is found all over Sri Lanka.
06. Sri Lankan seafood specialties
When in Sri Lanka, one may discover seafood in all nooks and crannies of the island, including the beaches at major tourist hotspots who hosts an assortment of different street vendors offering fried crab together with countless other seafood specialties from their localities. Most of these dishes are served spicy hot with fried peppers added to go and wrapped in a cone paper takeaway. It’s simple, fresh and spicy hot!
07. Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry)
Rooting back to Southern Sri Lanka, the dish originated as a method of preserving fish. Cubed fish (mostly tuna) is sautéed in an assortment of spices containing curry leaves, cinnamon, pandan leaves, garlic, turmeric, and black pepper. To add to all this, the most noteworthy ingredient is dried goraka, a tamarind-like fruit that bestows the fish its distinctive, tart flavour. All the aforementioned components are simmered with a bit of water and cooked until the fluid lessens. This permits the spice concoction to coat each cube of fish while paving way for a dry curry.
08. Jaffna kool
Originating from the northern region of the island, “Kool” is a mixed seafood broth consisting of fish, prawns, crab, and cuttlefish with added spinach, long beans, and tamarind.
We hope you relished reading on the many delicacies of the Sri Lankan cuisine. Have you tried Sri Lankan food before and what did you think of the food from the country, please do share…