While Indian cuisine boasts a variety of curries, Sri Lanka is not far behind
When it’s time for lunch, most parts of India place their subzi and roti on a plate and relish it to the core. In the South, coconut-based curries and rice made way on the way. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankans adorn their plates with curry and rice. This duo is one of the staples in the country. Apart from this, there are two other items that you would find on a Sri Lankan menu i.e. coconut and fish. Given the fact that Sri Lanka is an island nation, their inclination toward seafood doesn’t come as a surprise. From fish to crab, several kinds of curries are prepared with seafood. These are commonly-eaten for lunch with a side of rice. This is not to say that flatbreads do not exist in Sri Lankan cuisine because they also have their own kinds of pol roti, roast paan and many others which work well with curries.
Interestingly, a closer look at Sri Lankan cuisine would transport us back to South India as there are many similarities between the two. Sri Lankan Tamils are inspired by the South Indian cuisine and you’ll find dishes like appams in Sri Lankan fare too. To pair with rice and flatbreads, here are some of the most popular Sri Lanka curries that can be eaten for lunch.
1. Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry
A red hot curry that has chunky pieces of pumpkin in it, this Sri Lankan curry is a must-try. While many fret at the sight of pumpkins, this curry can change the face of the vegetable for you. The butternut squash or Jamaican variety is used to make the pumpkin curry. This is a vegan and gluten-free recipe that black mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves. Cayenne pepper is added to give the curry a spicy edge and the chopped pumpkin is mixed with desiccated and roasted coconut for a crunchy flavour.
2. Sri Lankan Fish Curry
One cannot miss out on the seafood fare in Sri Lanka, especially their famous fish curry. What makes the Sri Lankan fish curry so special is the use of ground spices in which the fish is cooked. A bright, yellow-coloured creamy gravy is dunked with tender pieces of fish. It is coconut milk that lends the curry a delectable and creamy touch. Jaffna powder, a spice blend unique to the island, is added to the fish curry which gives it a unique taste.
3. Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry
The nutritional benefits of jackfruit are no stranger to us. This fibre-rich vegetable has a rich and meaty texture which lends the dish an umami flavour. Jackfruit is cut into huge pieces and these chunks are cooked with garlic, onion, tomatoes and curry leaves. The curry gives a wholesome flavour, packed with spices like fennel seeds, cumin and more along with coconut milk. This jackfruit curry is known as Polos in the native language. Pair it with steamed rice and relish the meaty flavours of jackfruit.
4. Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Also known as Kukul Mas curry, this rich and decadent curry packs in the creaminess of coconut milk with the luscious flavour of chicken. The use of locally-grown cardamom and cinnamon add to the flavour of this delicious curry. The smooth spice blend, when paired with caramelised onions, dunked in a thick coconut gravy, makes for the perfect curry for lean meats like chicken. The boneless chicken pieces are thrown into the curry and it is garnished with some red chillies. This is best eaten with rice.