The quaint and enigmatic island of Sri Lanka is often referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and the tear drop of India. More aptly however, it can also be described as the land of Rice and Curry! The Lankan cuisine is one that infuses local fruits like jackfruit and coconut with an arsenal of exotic spices, resulting in mouthwatering delicacies. Here are some of the best dishes tour agencies will urge you to spend on, when you are on a Sri Lanka tour.
Kiribath or Milk Rice
Kiribath is a signature Lankan dish. Even if you are not particularly fond of rice, consider this delicacy. Rice is cooked in a thick coconut milk. It is then pressed and flattened and cut into diamond shapes. The taste is quite like milkfish and is a tad bit creamy in texture. Milk rice is eaten with spicy chili paste or even with the local banana or a traditional sweet. It is typically served for breakfast and will be found in most breakfast buffets.
The comfort food here is of course rice and curry. Dhal curry is one of the more popular accompaniments with the quintessential rice plate. It is made from lentils or masoor dhal which is cooked in coconut milk. Tomatoes, onions coupled with fresh and hot green chillies are sautéed and then mixed with spices like turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek and finally pandan leaves. This hearty broth is often cooked in an earthen pot and this adds to the flavor.
Fish Ambul Thiyal or the Sour Fish Curry
Firm fishes like tuna or seer are used for this preparation. Cubed pieces are sautéed in a spice blend made from cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, turmeric and pandan and curry leaves. The tart like sourness is brought about by goraka which is a special ingredient. It is a tamarind like fruit and lends a distinctive flavor to the dish. The ingredients are mixed and simmered on low heat with an ounce of water and cooked till the watery broth dries up, leaving a spice coat on each cubed piece of fish. It is a dry curry.
Koththu roti is a dish that is cooked with strips of flat bread or godamba roti strips along with curry space and fried veggies. It is important to remember that the dish is strongly spiced. So, if you are not comfortable with pungent food, ask for less spicy variant. There are several variants available including egg kothhtu roti and chicken koththu roti.
Watalappan is Malay influenced desert in Sri Lanka which is popular with the Muslim population here. It is egg custard which is steamed along with traditional kitul jiggery along with coconut milk, nutmeg and cardamom. It is a heavy desert to be consumed during the day. Trapped air bubbles prevent it from being too heavy.
A Sri Lanka tour offers a plethora of lip-smacking options when it comes to food. There are seafood delicacies, delicious accompaniments in the form of sauces and pastes and loads more! Tourists are likely to be spoilt for choice.
To read our previous article, please click here.