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  Life   Food  20 Nov 2019  Selfsame food inside out

Selfsame food inside out

Published : Nov 20, 2019, 1:15 am IST
Updated : Nov 20, 2019, 1:15 am IST

For food that shares flavours and spices with certain Indian cuisines, Sri Lankan dishes are surprisingly unique.

Recipes by Chefs Manula Gayan and Sajid Wimarshana from Movenpick Hotel, Colombo.
 Recipes by Chefs Manula Gayan and Sajid Wimarshana from Movenpick Hotel, Colombo.

Sri Lanka, our neighbour known for its idyllic beaches, is one destination that many Indians have now crossed off their wish-list. However, we often forget the island nation’s culinary tradition, which ought to be relished by everyone headed to vacay at the tropical paradise.

Sri Lankan food has been extensively influenced by historical and trading traditions. And yet, its similarity with some Indian dishes is remarkable. Sri Lankan Chef Manula, who recently visited Pullman, Aerocity, commented on this aspected by saying, “There are quite a few very popular Sri Lankan dishes that are identical to their South Indian counterpart. The availability of spices matches to a great extend, giving birth to similar food practices.” Well, in that case, have a look at these two recipes and see for yourself. Caution: it is going to get delish!


Sri Lankan prawn curry


  • Prawns 30/40 uncleaned/400gms
  • Onion 20gms
  • Garlic 5gms
  • Curry leaves 5gms
  • Lime juice 5ml
  • Coconut-milk powder 10gms
  • Green chilli 10gms
  • Roasted curry powder 10gms
  • Tomatoes 20gms
  • Chilli powder 1tsp
  • Cumin 3gms
  • Salt/pepper 5gms
  • Black pepper 3gms
  • Turmeric powder 2gms
  • Vegetable oil 20ml

Preparation method

  • Clean the prawns by removing the heads and setting them aside. Sprinkle the salt and curry powder over the prawns, mix it well, and set aside to marinate
  • Add garlic, green chillies, bombay onion, and cup of water to the blender and blend well
  • Add roasted curry powder, chili powder, tumeric, salt, black pepper powder and mix well
  • Take out the curry mixture, put it into a bowl and keep aside
  • Heat a saucepan or pan over medium high heat, and add the oil. Once it’s hot, add curry leaves and cleaned prawns
  • Sauté well for a few minutes
  • Add the curry mixture to the pan and a cup of water and coconut milk, then mix well
  • Then add lime juice and salt, cook for few minutes until prawns are well cooked
  • Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and let the prawns sit in the gravy for a few minutes
  • Serve with steamed rice and suitable vegetable curries

Sri Lankan Dhal Curry


  • Red dhal 20gms
  • Sliced onions 50gms
  • Sliced garlic cloves 4 nos.
  • Turmeric 1/4tsp
  • Raw curry powder 1tsp
  • Chilli powder 1/2tsp
  • Curry leaves 5-6 nos.
  • Cinnamon stick 1 no.
  • Thick coconut milk 1 cup
  • Water 1/2 cup

For tempering the curry

  • Sliced onions 50 gms
  • Oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Dry chillies 3 nos.
  • Curry leaves 4-5 nos.
  • Mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method:


  • Wash the red dhal and place it in a medium sized saucepan. Now add all the ingredients that are for the curry, except coconut milk
  • Mix it well and, keep it on medium heat to boil the dal
  • When the lentils are boiled, add the coconut milk and bring it to boil again
  • Taste to salt (if you don’t like to temp-er the curry, now you can use your lentils curry)  

Tempering the curry


  • When you can see bubbles on the top surface of the curry,, transfer it to another saucepan
  • Add the oil and heat it on low flame.
  • When oil is ready, add the mustard seeds, keep it for 3 - 4 seconds and then add onions, garlic, curry leaves and fry it for few minutes
  • Then add chilli pieces and fry it for 2 - 3 minutes. and finally add the dal curry.  Add salt for taste
  • You can have this delicacy with rice and bread, but if you like, you can eat the dhal curry with roti, paro or any other starch

Tags: food and recipes, prawn curry, dhal curry