My first experience of Srilankan cuisine came at a very unusual place, at a height of 35,000 feet in the Srilankan Airlines flight 🙂 . I was not sure if it was the authentic Srilankan fare but I was thoroughly impressed.
And the best part of it was before serving the food they gave us a menu card, to look up the food that was to be served and select. So we got to know the name of the food that was being served. This in the economy class. From then on I started looking up Srilankan recipes.
Lots of food in Srilanka, are closely related to South India, yet very different and unique. Surprisingly the famous South Indian Idli and Dosa, did not seem as popular as the string hoppers, pittu, Rotti and the hoppers.
The Idli and the Thosai, which is how it is called are made from raw rice and are nothing like the ones we make in South India. Srilankan Cuisine is also influenced a bit by the Dutch and the Portuguese, from the colonial rule as well as from neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.
Coconuts are aplenty and they form an integral part of Srilankan Cuisine. In sambols, (which to me seemed the dry version of our South Indian chutneys) , mallums (the greens salad) grated coconut is used, whereas in curries coconut milk is preferred.
Srilankans love their curries fiery and hot, like our very own Andhra people. The heat is mellowed down a bit with the addition of coconut milk, but still, they prefer to have their curries with eyes and nose watering coz of the heat.
Srilankans have this addiction to a condiment called Maldives fish, which given a choice they will add in everything. Maldives fish is in reality cured tuna, sold as logs or crushed in the form of powder, which is more popular.
In Qatar, I have seen these at Shoprite and Retail Mart, though I am yet to buy and put them to use. Of course, you get them in the Srilankan supermarket also.
Red rice is the staple of Srilanka, for lunch and is usually served with curries, mallums and sambols. Fish is also available in plenty, which is also a staple. The kitul is the native sugar of Srilanka and is obtained from the Caryota Urens palm tree which grows there.
The kitul treacle and kitul jaggery are used to make all sorts of desserts in Srilanka. It is considered to be nutritious than cane sugar. It is similar to the jaggery or gur that we get in India, but tastes very different. You get this at the Family Food center in Qatar
That was roughly Srilanka in a nutshell, in my viewpoint. Anything interesting that I shall come across on this island nation, I will update here.
Now over to the recipes, which I have tried out.. Not in any particular order. I shall categorize them when a sufficient number of recipes have been posted.
Main Course (Breakfast, Lunch and dinner)
Side dishes (Breakfast, Lunch and dinner)
1)Sambols & Relishes
Lots more coming up…