Sri Lankan Cuisine

Traditional and Popular Sri Lankan Foods

MILK RICE (KIRI BATH)

Kiribath is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from rice. The word is a compound with a transparent meaning in the Sinhala language, where kiri means "milk" and bath means "rice". Kiribath can be considered a form of rice pudding.

FISH CURRY AND MIXED RICE.

There’s nothing more common to eat as Sri Lankan food than a nutritious plate of rice and curry. You normally get a plate of rice piled with a few of the daily vegetable curries and a choice of fish curry as well.

DEVILED SWEET AND SOUR FISH CURRY

There are a lot of different deviled dishes in Sri Lanka. This fish was deep fried and smothered in a lovely sweet and sour sauce and lightly fried again with red onions and banana peppers. It was excellent with fried rice and a flatbread paratha on the side.

CHILI FISH CURRY

This particular fish curry in Sri Lanka reminded me of the Burmese food curry that I also highly enjoyed, except it was often a bit heavier on the spice blend, which I loved. The fish curry in Sri Lanka was extremely fragrant, oily, and the sauce was marvelous with a giant plate of rice.

SRI LANKAN DHAL CURRY (PARIPPU)

Dhal curry is one of the most commonly consumed staple dishes in Sri Lankan cuisine. The dhal, usually masoor dhal which are red lentils, are often cooked in a beautiful blend of spices, and then a few spoons of coconut milk are added to create a rich stew. Dhal curry is omnipresent in Sri Lanka, and it’s consumed with all forms of rice and bread.

KOTTU

Another variation of kottu is with vegetables and egg – a very good combo, one of my particular favorite variations of the dish. The vegetables include a few meager sprigs of leek, onions, and cabbage, and the sizzling godamba roti is lathered with egg to make it even richer…and more delicious. The egg adds some extra protein, which is always a good thing

YOUNG JACKFRUIT CURRY (POLOS)

Sri Lankan food is famous for its curries – and “polos“, or young jackfruit curry, is one of my personal favorites. Jackfruit is eaten in a number of different ripeness stages in Sri Lanka, but for preparing polos, the young, unripe jackfruit is used. The fruit is cut into chunks and simmered in a blend of rich spices. This particular version (brown dish above) was so delicious, I couldn’t stop eating it. The pieces of jackfruit were tender, and tasted almost like a juicier version of a potato, and they were filled with the beautiful flavor spices. Polos is so good, it could almost pass for chunks of tender beef!

EGG HOPPERS (APPA)

Hoppers which are also known as appa, are an iconic food of Sri Lanka. It begins with a simple pancake batter that’s spruced up with coconut milk and a splash of toddy (Sri Lankan palm wine). The unique part is that hoppers are cooked in small “wok” like rounded pans so the dough cooks thick and soft on the bottom, and thin and crunchy around the edges. The texture and even taste is quite similar to Ethiopian injera bread. Hoppers can be ordered plain, or even better with a fried egg in the middle. There’s also string hoppers, which are made from a thicker rice flour based batter, squeezed into thin noodles, and then steamed. String hoppers are normally eaten for breakfast or dinner, along with a variety of different curry.

POL SAMBOLA (SPICY COCONUT RELISH)

This Sri Lankan food may be one of the simplest things to make, yet one of the most amazing bowls of deliciousness that Sri Lanka has contributed to the world, known as pol sambol. It highlights the almighty coconut, a fruit that’s integral in Sri Lankan cooking. Pol salmbol is merely a mixture of shredded coconut, chili powder or dried chilies, lime juice, red onions, and salt – and believe me, every bite is like a miracle come true. I could graze on pol sambola for hours at a time. Pol sambola is perfect to eat with bread, roti, or on top of rice, or with curry. Actually is delicious to eat with anything, or even plain by itself.

PITTU (FLOUR AND COCONUT FUNNEL CAKES)

Sri Lankan pittu funnel cakes are a combination of flour (either rice of karukan), fresh shredded coconut, and a handful of desiccated coconut. The precious little cakes are traditionally steamed in bamboo, but now are sometimes steamed in circular metal tubes. After being cooked, the crumbly textured pittu cakes are served with fresh sweetened coconut milk.

COCONUT ROTI AND CHILI SALT

This little gem of a snack was purchased on the train from Colombo to Kandy. It’s basically a little piece of coconut infused solid flat-bread topped with a marvelous flaky salty chili sauce. It almost tasted like a Sri Lankan mini pizza.

DEEP FRIED JACKFRUIT SEEDS

Another popular snack in Sri Lanka are deep fried jackfruit seeds. They are salted and served in small paper bags made from scrap paper. Some of the Sri Lankan street food carts and snacks even reminded me of Egyptian street food.