Sri Lankan love their spices and each dish is a reflection of that
Sri Lanka the land of sun, sand and some amazing flaura fauna will leave you enchanted. From Galle to Nuwara Eliya to even the Yala National Park this country is a travellers delight. From culinary to wildlife, culture, to even some adventure sports you will not go disappointed. But how can travel be complete without some good food and once you have few of the dishes from this land you can also draw parallels to closer home in Kerala in terms of flavours, spices and few dishes which are absolutely much similar.
Sri Lankans love their spices and their food sees a burst of flavour. Back in 2018 I had gone to celebrate my birthday I totally fell in love with this country, it’s people and of course the food. With Rice and curry being the staple I also saw that they too boast about their various kinds of bread, both roti style and oven loaves.
So here’s a list of few dishes that you shouldn’t miss once you visit this Lankan Land.
Hopper (appa or appam)
Mostly a breakfast dish, these hopper are made with a batter of slightly fermented concoction of rice flour, coconut milk, sometimes coconut water with a slight hint of sugar. One of the lightest dish, at times they are topped with eggs and that makes it egg hopper. The strings hopper are similar to idiyappam that’s found in Kerala or Tamil nadu. If you don’t want eggs then these bowl-shaped thin pancakes can also be topped with sweet-spicy sambol. Mostly a street food but you will also find them in most cafes/ restaurants. It’s mostly served with some coconut gravy (kiri hodi). Hoppers can both be sweet and savoury.
Polos (Jackfruit Curry)
This superfood too makes its presence in Sri Lankan cuisine. Ambul Polos or jackfruit as it’s commonly known in Sinhalese. The raw or the green jackfruit curry is called polos. This mockmeat is the perfect Sri Lankan vegan curry dish you should try. Cooked with baby jack fruit, this curry cooked with the right combination if spices and coconut milk is a real delish. A bit spicy and little sour it goes best with mixed rice. Being slow cooked the juices and the spices gets perfectly incorporated within each other.
This famous Sri Lankan street food is surely to die for. Kottu which means roti sees it’s origin from Malaysia, or the flakier one that we usually find in India. This complete meal in itself is made by chopping a flatbread or paratha and then mixed and mashed together with chicken and vegetables along with many aromatic spices. This makes for the non-veg version which is just so comforting. As you walk down the streets of Colombo or any other city the aroma of vendors making dish will attract you. The paratha is chopped and mixed together on a flat griddle using large steel chopping blades, something similar way the sharwarma is done. Here you can find Roast Chicken Kottu roti, Vegetarian Kottu roti (or vegetable kottu), Egg Kottu roti, Chicken and Cheese Kottu roti and more variety. And this this is perfect as an anti-hangover meal
This dish came here by the Dutch Burgher population. Lumprice is derivative of the Dutch word lomprijst, which is a combination of words "lump" and "rice,". Due to the effect of Dutch colonization days this dish was then wrapped in banana leaves and baked over a warm oven for a few minutes. As the aroma was released the dish was cooked simultaneously. The banana leaves mildly infuse their aroma in the rice. The rice is usually cooked in mixed meat stock that has been infused with cardamom, clove and cinnamon. Imagine the flavours the rice will have. Once the rice is cooked a scoop of rice is placed on banana leave and then meatballs are places in the centre and some veggies and then wrapped and steamed. Don’t forget that authentic recipe has seen a change over the years to please the masses.
Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry)
The Sinhalese love their fish. This minimal effort dish only needs garcinia Cambogia, black pepper, pandan leaves and salt. Ambul Thiyal is referred to the traditional way of preserving fish way back in Sri Lanka. This beloved dish mostly sees the use of tuna that’s cut into cubes and sauteed. The main ingredient is dried goraka or kokum as we know in India which helps to add that sour taste to the dish. Simmered with very little water simmered the dish sees a nice coating of spice mixture in each cube of fish.
Sri Lankan Crab Curry
Sri Lanka is high in seafood and hence it also has one of worlds best crabs’ restaurant the Ministry of Crab. This place has one of the tastiest crab curries. This spicy crab curry is perfectly cooked with spices and mixes. This wonderfully aromatic and and light curry base that sees classic Sri Lankan flavours, pairs best with some rice. Cracking the crab shells and digging into the juicy flavours is surely gastronomic experience. Don’t forget that crab tops the seafood menu here.