Discovering Sri Lankan Cooking

I never anticipated how much I would love Sri Lankan food. Our one month visit to Sri Lanka gave us an opportunity to discover Sri Lankan Cooking and we are so glad we did! 

 Indian to me, was the king of the cuisine, but after 3 months traveling there, I was ready for something less complex, less heavy still with lots of flavor.   

Discovering Sri Lankan Cooking 

 I joined the Ecowave Cooking class in Arugam Bay to find out the secrets! I was hoping for an opportunity to cook these dishes on my own. 

 Sri Lankan food very flavourful, spicy, but they use fewer, simpler ingredients than Indian food. 

 It has more of what I am looking for – more vegetables and lots of coconuts served a variety of ways! 

 I also discovered that fresh coconut milk and shavings are definitely a labor of love. 

I love the vegetable curries because you can have a variety of veggie dishes in one meal 

 The best part of the class was gorging on all the dishes at the end. 

 Sri Lankan Cooking (namely the curries) have a number of key, easy to find ingredients: 

We ate a traditional spread of vegetable curries – various curries (usually chicken and other vegetables) that are served. I learned that most of these recipes have the same general dry spice ingredients, all of which are easy to find.  The main ingredients are salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom, mustard seed, curry leaves, lime juice onion, lots of garlic and of course coconut shavings and coconut milk.

Some of our favorites: 

Coconut Sambol (Pol Sambol)I got addicted to this stuff. Basically, its a spicy and sweet shaved cocunut accompaniment to every dish. Great spread on bread, or mixed in with rice or other dishes. I also eat it on its own.

Chicken Curry This dish speaks for itself, check out the Sri lankan version

Green Jackfruit Curry (Polos Curry) – This dish was a huge surprise. Green Jackfruit cooks to the consistency of tuna, you think you are having a filling meat dish, but its healthy!

Pumpkin Curry – The most intense, creamy mouthfeel and flavor, like a pumpkin curry soup but in a meal.

Eggplant Curry– Surprisingly really good. The eggplant becomes mushy almost like a stew, it creates a whole different consistency and mouthfeel to this veggie. Now one of my all time favorites!

Green Banana Curry Surprised? I was too. The bananas don’t get mushy and they end up creating this sweet and creamy curry, it’s not for dessert, its for dinner!

Okra Curry (Bandakka Curry) Don’t like the sliminess of Okra? I was told I wasn’t cooking it right with my instructor of the class, frying the okra on high heat helps alleviate that. The Okra keeps a crunch that adds an interesting element to the dish.

Do you like Sri Lankan food?  What was your favorite undiscovered country food? 

For more posts about our travels to Sri Lanka, you can find them here

NOTE: We were hosted by Ecowave travels during our stay in Sri Lanka. However, our opinions are our own, based on our own personal experiences. We only support tours and brands that we believe in and would use ourselves, ensuring the interests of our readers come first.

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Sri Lankan Cooking  

About the Author Troy

Troy is an ex-TV editor and producer originally from Canada. He quit his 20+ year career to pursue a life of long-term, slow and transformative travel. Now with his wife Dorene, he helps people who want to redefine their midlife by making conscious changes at TravelLifeExperiences. He also works with travel and hospitality brands to create and share their video stories at

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