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Discovering Sri Lanka’s Cuisine


7 Spicy Dishes

Nicknamed the “tear-drop of India” due to its shape and proximity to the sub-continent, Sri Lanka is known for a cuisine so spicy it will leave you in tears. Similar to its closest neighbor, this island nation is fond of rice and curry dishes; but if you think you know curry, think again. The Sri Lankan version is one of the fieriest on the planet, thanks to an abundance of spices that date back before the start of the spice trade.

 

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Curry spices; phgaillard2001, Flickr

With a prominent location in the Indian Ocean along the maritime trade routes, Sri Lanka became a hub of the ancient Spice Route. Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, pepper and turmeric are just a few of the exotic exports from the island once known as Ceylon. Today, spice plantations still supply many of ingredients that flavor Sri Lanka’s cuisine—and the world’s. Here are a few of our favorites:

Curry -- Curry powder is made from a combination of coriander and cumin and often topped off with turmeric, a spice similar to saffron. Varieties include fish, chicken, vegetable and dahl (lentil). As a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine, the curry here is mouth-numbingly hot with a plentiful flavoring of spices that explode with every bite.

Spicy Samosas -- Handheld sandwiches are grab and go and, like most of the food in Sri Lanka, are often quite spicy thanks to a generous heaping of chilies.

Milk Rice -- This traditional dish is prepared by cooking rice with coconut milk and a stick of cinnamon.

Kothu Roti -- Made from vegetables, eggs or meat and spices, kothu roti is a typical dinner meal. The mixture is served on top of gothamba roti, or flatbread, that is cut using two metal blades. The clashing of the metal against the skillet makes a distinct sound that announces the arrival of the kothu to passersby on the street.

Mun Keum -- A sweet treat made from rice flour, coconut milk, egg and turmeric.

Hoppers -- Shaped like bowls, these sour-dough pancakes are served mainly for breakfast with a mixture of red onions, spices, eggs and often a dash of palm toddy (palm wine, also known as kallu).

Malay Egg Pudding -- A custard-like confection made with cardamom, similar to Mexican flan or French crème caramel.

For more information, call your travel agent or a Travcoa Journey Consultant at 1-800-992-2003, email info@travcoa.com and be sure to check out our private itineraries and small-group tours to Sri Lanka.

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Topics: Sri Lanka