Sri Lanka: A Culinary Experience
Foods in Sri Lanka can be hot or very mild or can be combination being very much a question of individual preference. Sri Lankan food is unique for their Culture. Many Sinhala food items are derived from Chena cultivation. Sri Lankan cuisine plays a vital role in the islanders’ life from the most auspicious Sinhala/ Hindu New Year to normal day-to-day practices. They make milk rice and special sweets with coconut milk, floor and Honey at cultural festivals. It is recognized as one of the sixty- four types of art, “Siu Seta kalawa”. The curries come in many verities of colors and flavors blended in Sri Lankan Hot Spices has a great ayurvedic value when used in curries.
Most of the Sri Lankans eat vegetables. With a large community of farmers the Rice and curry is the main food in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka curries are known for their fiery hot spicy flavors and coconut milk is very distinct feature of Sri Lankan cuisine that different regions of country specialize in different types of dishes. The specialty in Sri Lankan food is that same food is differently made in different regions. Dishes from the North region of Sri Lanka have distinct south Indian flavors.
Dishes from the South region of Sri Lanka can be Spicy, Hot or Mild. The meals of the southern region of Sri Lanka are known for their variety and fishing village though the coastal strip. Ambulthiyal a unique spicy fish preparation with thick gamboges “Goraka” paste.
Spices such as Cloves, Cardamoms, nutmeg and pepper are found in abundance throughout Kandy and Matale District in Central region of Sri Lanka. Eastern province constitutes three major ethnic groups. Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil, Chena cultivation, Game meat from nearby forests and dry Weather have influenced many food items. Staple diet of Sri Lanka is ‘Rice and curry’ the word ‘curry’ covering a multitude of dishes which are made according to different methods of cooking from Soups, meat, Sea food, Lentils, Vegetables, Sambols, Mallums to Achcharus.
Curd and Treacle and Sweetmeats made from Rice flour and palm treacle, jiggery along with various types of fruits are additions to the meal as the dessert. The Palm, Coconut, Kithul, Palmyra from which the treacle is made will vary accordingly. Sri Lankans also like several juicy sweetmeats like Kavum, kokis, Halape, Thalaguli and Wattalapam etc. Sri Lankans also like to have drinks like tea and coffee.
Here are some of our highlights of these delicious treats:
Milk Rice (Kiri Bath)
Milk rice or Kiribath is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from rice. It is a popular festive dish or any auspicious moment.The dish is prepared by cooking rice with coconut milk, hence this name. The recipe for Kiribath is fairly simple.
Rice and Curry in Sri Lanka
Rice is the staple food of the Sri Lankans. Almost every household in Sri Lanka takes rice and curry as its main meal. Meat, fish and vegetables are prepared as curries. Sliced onions, green chilies, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and saffron are used to add flavors. A basic rice and curry requires one fish (or beef or chicken) curry, two different vegetables, one portion of fried crispy stuff like ‘papadam’, a ‘mallum’ of chopped leaves and coconut, and a gravy or ‘hodda’ of spiced and cooked with coconut milk
String hoppers (Indiappa)
String hoppers is made from rice noodles curled into flat spirals. It is served for breakfast and dinner with a thin fish or chicken curry, containing only one or two pieces of meat, a dhal dish, and a spicy sambol or fresh chutney.
Roti is a quick meal- and easy to prepare. Wheat, rice or kurakkan (Eleusine coracana, a strongly flavored brown millet)-meal is mixed with fresh grated coconut and a touch of oil and baked on a hot griddle in thin flat cakes.Roti is equally good with chilli relish or with syrup.
Shallots, green chillies, curry leaves and Maldive (cured) fish flakes are added to ring in the changes. In Sri Lanka also have koththu roti and godamba roti as well.
Kothu roti is made from Gothamba roti and vegetables, eggs, or meat and various spices. It is a delicious meal generally eaten at dinner time. Apart from the commonest form of Kothu with meat, eggs or vegetables a newer variety with cheese has been introduced. The Gothamba roti is cut or chopped with the use of two metal blades on wooden handles held on both hands on this sheet or skillet.
The clashing of metal blades and the skillet creates a very distinctive musical sound which kind of announces the making of this Kothu to the passersby.