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The former island of Ceylon was once an important spot for the spice trade, which helps explain why the cuisine is so abundant in spices, from cinnamon to cardamom, turmeric, curry, cumin, cloves and more. And, oh yeah, chilli – some say that the Sinhalese make the hottest dishes on the planet. The little-known cuisine has seen much of its influence from the Portuguese, Arabs/Moors, English, Malays and the Dutch, all following trade routes, as well as neighbouring Southern India. Sri Lankan chicken and fish curries, chilli-based sides called sambol (often with coconut) and finger-food-like ‘short eats’ are among its popular dishes, with rice ever-present at the table.

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