Sri Lankan Recipes, Food and Cooking

Ambul Thiyal (Sri Lankan Sour Curry of Fish)



Cook time: 40 min





Wash and dry fish, cut into serving pieces.

Soak tamarind in vinegar until its soft. (If tamarind is very dry, heat in an enamel saucepan for a few minutes adding some of the water).

When cool enough to handle, squeeze the tamarind in the liquid to dissolve the pulp, strain through a fine nylon sieve and discard seeds and fibres.

Put all ingredients into a pan (preferably an enamel or stainless steel pan) and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until fish is cooked and gravy is thick.

Shake pan or turn fish pieces carefully once or twice during cooking.

Serve with white rice.


Sri Lanka Pittu








  • Roast and sieve the flour well. Grate the coconut. Place the flour in a bowl and add the salt. Slowly pour in the hot water, mixing with your fingers as you do so until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the grated coconut and mix well in. Place the mixture in the pittu mould and place over a pan of boiling water until steam emerges from the top of the pittu mould. Cover with half a coconut shell and steam for a further 5 minutes or until done.
  • Note: If a pittu mould is not available, mould dough into loaf shape, wrap in muslin and steam for about 15 minutes.



    Steaming is done in a special cylindrical mould. Thraditionally, this mould was made out of hollow bamboo (see the picture below). Now, moulds made out of aluminium together with purpose made pots are available. In northern Sri Lanka, a conical mould woven out of leaves of Palmyra Palm. In this case, scraped coconut is not inter-layered, but mixed evenly with the granules of flour mix. In the last case, the mix can even be steamed in a normal steaming pan

    Sri Lankan Recipes, Food and Cooking



    Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island situated in the Indian Ocean just south of India.  It has a coastline of 1,340 km and a terrain made up of  central highlands, lowland plains and coastal belt. There are dense evergreen rain forests in the south-west and although there are a few deep-water bays and many rivers, there are no natural lakes.  The climate is warm subtropical with high humidity in the lowlands. Monsoonal rainfall is generally sufficient for agriculture except in the north of the island.



    Ancient times, History and Influences on Sri Lankan Cooking


    The island is estimated to have been colonised by the Balangoda people about 34,000 years ago. The people called the Veddas (forest-dwellers) are believed to have inhabited Sri Lanka's semi-evergreen dry forest called the Wanni, for at least 16,000. Although the Balangoda are originally believed to have been hunter gatherers who generally lived in caves and having been responsible for creating Horton Plains situated in the central hills, by burning the trees in order to catch game, the discovery of oats and barley on the plains dating to c15,000 BC suggest they may also have used the land for agricultural purposes. Their diets included deer, wild boar and reptilians as confirmed by the discovery of these bones at various sites. The meat was probably roasted over an open. With such a large coastline, not surprisingly  plenty of fish including shark was also part of their daily diet.







    Sri Lankan Soups and Main Course recipes



    Mild Yellow Fish Curry     HT  MC  Sri Lankan  30mins


    Chilli Baked Crab        HT  MC  Sri Lankan  45mins


    Sri Lankan Fish And Lentils Soup       HT  SP  45mins


    Sinhalese Curried Pumpkin   Veg  HT  MC  Sri Lankan  45mins


    Sinhalese Pan Roasted Pork    HT  MC  Sri Lankan  60mins plus marinating


    Sri Lankan Frikkadels Meat balls    HT  MC  PFC  Sri Lankan  65mins


    Ceylonese Chicken Curry       HT   MC   Sri Lankan   75mins plus marinating


    Ceylonese Beef Stew    HT  MC  Sri Lankan  100mins plus soaking


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