“Is it like Indian food?” That’s the first question many individuals asked about Sri Lankan cuisine. Sri Lanka is located just south-east of the southern tip of India. The country boasts a fascinatingly cooking heritage with a unique blend of local fruits, vegetables and spices over the centuries by Indians, Malays, Arabs, Portuguese, English and Dutch.
Although the staple dish in Sri Lanka is rice and curry, there are a lot of other distinct specialities to explore and take pleasure in the country which includes hoppers, kottu roti, pittu and lamprais. Here are the 10 delicious food in Sri Lanka you must try.
Rice and curry are Sri Lankan comfort food. Dhal curry is made from red lentils (masoor dhal) prepared in coconut milk. Onions, tomatoes and fresh green chillies are sautéed and blended with spices like cumin seeds, turmeric, fenugreek, pandan leaves and mustard seeds.
Kottu roti is the supreme Sri Lankan street food. It’s basically a stir-fry street food using leftovers. Featuring pieces of roti (bread) mixed together with shredded veggies or pieces of meat and stir-fry on a flat iron skillet using 2 metal cleavers with wood handles. You can normally find it at night at the street stalls.
Malay-influenced Watalappan is incredibly popular with Sri Lankan Muslims. This is a steamed egg custard made with Kitul jaggery, coconut milk and spices like cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.
Originating from a Dutch word that translates as ‘a packet of food’, this is a meal generally made by the Burgher community. They are the descendants of colonial Europeans. This food includes boiled eggs, eggplant, frikkadels (Dutch-style beef balls), combined meats (soy for vegetarians) and sambol.
Infused with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and rice, the mix is then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in the oven at a low temperature for a number of hours.
Wood apple juice
If you walk through a market in Sri Lanka, your nose will lead you to the wood apple stall. This is a South Asian fruit with a brown paste inside the tough shell. The fruit has numerous health benefits and helps digestion.
Gotu kola mallung (salad)
Mallung is part of every Sri Lankan’s diet. This dish delivers lots of vitamins to a meal loaded with carbs and protein. Mallum or mallung is made with chopped greens and chillies then seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Gotu kola leaves (Asiatic pennywort) are used to make an appetising, salad-like taboulleh.
Eggplant (wambatu) moju
The eggplant moju is one of the most celebrated Sri Lankan classic dishes. It tastes very much like a caramelised pickle and is typically served with rice. The eggplant pieces are deep-fried up until brown then well mixed with chilli powder, ground mustard seeds, salt, cloves, sugar and vinegar to develop a dark sauce moju. This is then topped with fried shallots, crushed garlic and shredded ginger.
Egg hoppers with sambol (appa)
Hoppers are basically the Sri Lankan version of thin pancakes with crispy edges. This dish is made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk and coconut water. A ladle of batter is fried in a wok and swirled around to even it out. An egg is cracked into the bowl-shaped pancake as it cooks. Traditionally, hoppers were cooked at home over coconut-shell embers. It is then garnished with chilies, lemon juice and salt.
Pol sambol, which might also be called fresh coconut relish, is an easy blend of grated coconut, red onions, dried chillies and lime juice. Research study says that this dish might have come from Indonesia, but it is found all over Sri Lanka.
Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry)
This peppery fish meal came from Southern Sri Lanka. Cubed fish (normally is tuna) is sautéed in a blend of spices including black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, pandan leaves and curry leaves.
The most significant component is dried goraka, a tamarind-like fruit that provides the fish with its distinct flavour. The ingredients are simmered together with water until dry. This enables the spice to coat each cube of fish and makes a dry curry.
Green jackfruit curry (polos)
Jackfruit, both the unripe and ripe fruit is preferred in the country. The young green jackfruit called polos is sliced into little portions and boiled up until soft. It’s then prepared with onions, garlic, ginger and spices. Coconut milk is added at the end and slowly simmered.