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The cuisine of Sri Lanka draws influence from that of India , as well as colonists and foreign traders. Rice, which is usually consumed daily, can be found at any special occasion, while spicy curries are favorite dishes for dinner and lunch. A very popular alcoholic drink is toddy, made from palm tree sap. Rice and curry refers to a range of Sri Lankan dishes.

Kiribath with lunumiris


Main Dishes
Sri Lanka 's Cuisine mainly consists of rice. It could be cooked in a variety of ways in Sri Lanka . It could be boiled or steamed but which ever way you cook it, in Sri Lanka it is always served with curry. Curries in Sri Lanka are not just limited to meat or fish platters, they could be vegetable or sometimes even fruit currries. A typical Sri Lankan meal would consist of a "main curry" which could be fish, beef, chicken or mutton, as well as several other curries made with vegetable and lentils. Side-dishes would include pickles, chutneys and "samblos" which are fiery hot and made of ground coconut, or onions mixed with chillies, dried Maldives fish and lime juice. This is ground to a paste and relished with rice, as it gives zest to the meal and is believed to increase appetite.

As any visitor to the island will say, the sambols are very spicy. Sambols are variety of vegetables put together and cooked very spicy, just the way Sri Lankans like it. Mallung is chopped up leaves mixed with coconut that has been grated and red onions. Cocunut milk is always added to any Sri Lankan delicacy because it gives it that extra bit of flavour.

Kiribath with lunumirisSri Lanka has long been renowned for its spices. In the 15th and 16the centuries, traders from all over the world came in search of spices and herbs. Some of these traders settled on the island, and the recipes of their countries were introduced to Sri Lanka , resulting in a delightful blend that gives richness and diversity to indigenous cooking. Sri Lankans use spices liberally in their dishes and this is what gives the dishes that extra kick and smell. A typical Sri Lankan cook would "throw in a pinch of this and that", and a handful of other things according to personal preference. This is why a curry, prepared by two different people, using the same ingredients, never tastes the same. The secret is in the personal touch. Kiritbath is another dish native to Sri Lanka . This literally means milk rice which is what it is. It has a very milky taste and has a very liquidy yet sticky feel to it.

These differences are not only apparent in an individual's cooking, but in regional cooking too. A fish curry cooked on the east coast of the island would taste completely different from one originating from the south, although both would be equally delicious.The cuisine of Sri Lanka 's hill country differs from that of the coastal areas. The Dutch and the Portuguese too have left their stamp on the local cuisine - for example, delectable dishes like Lamprais - rice boiled in stock with a special curry, accompanied by "Frikkadels", or meatballs, all of which is then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked. This is an original Dutch recipe enjoyed by Sri Lankans today. It has of course been adapted to suit the Sri Lankan palate. The Dutch and the Portuguese also bequeathed a number of recipes for various sweets which continue to be made to this day. There are British and Malay influences as well. Roast beef and roast chicken are enjoyed by many Sri Lankans.

HoppersHoppers is another dish that is native to Sri Lanka . It is served mainly during lunch or breakfast and many eat it with "lunumiris" which is a fiery hot mix of red onions and spices. Hoppers (appa) are made from a fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk and a dash of palm toddy. The batter of rice flour and coconut milk traditionally has toddy added for the typical sourish flavour and, more importantly, the fermentation which makes the centres full of little holes like crumpets. If toddy is not available, the same action is duplicated by using yeast, either fresh or dry. Many restaurents use yeast because toddy is not readily available always. After leaving to rise, the batter is swirled in a hemispherical pan, rather like a small, more acutely curved wok. Even without the traditional hopper-pan, it is possible to enjoy the unique texture and flavour using a small omelette pan.

There are many types of hopper such as plain hoppers, egg hoppers, milk milk hoppers, and sweeter varieties like vanduappa and paniappa.

Wattalapam - a steamed pudding made with coconut milk, eggs and jaggery (a sort of solidified treacle extracted from the kitul palm) has become a Sri Lankan dessert, although first introduced by the Malays.Sweets are popular among most Sri Lankans. The best known of the sweets is, perhaps, "Kavun". It is a delicious type of oil cake, made with rice flour and treacle and deep-fried to a golden brown. There is another variety of "Kavun", called "Moong Kavun", which is made from green gram - a type of pulse - which is then ground to a paste and shaped like diamonds before frying. This is equally enjoyable. Many sweets are served during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year with "kiribath".

Short Eats
Short eats is a word used for a variety of snacks that is eaten by the dozen by many Sri Lankans every day. Every restaurent and shop in Sri Lanka has short eats. Short eats include pastries, chinese rolls, patties, hot dogs and hamburgers.




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