Egg hoppers with cooking pans in the background

Cook like a local: Sri Lanka

From light-as-a-feather hopper pancakes to spicy street-food snacks and fresh sambals, try a taste of this eclectic cuisine at home

Want to learn about Sri Lankan food? Looking for Sri Lankan recipes? Read Peter Kuruvita’s guide.

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Recipes extracted from Serendip: My Sri Lankan Kitchen by Peter Kuruvita (£16.99, Murdoch Books). These recipes were supplied by the publisher and not retested by us.


Sri Lankan cuisine

Spice-based, coconut-driven, sometimes searingly hot and, at other times, extremely mild. Sri Lankan cuisine is heavily influenced by regions and availability.

There is a whole palate of flavours that make Sri Lankan food what it is, starting with the spices. The use of coconut cream and lime juice is another twist that makes the island’s curries unique and different to its Indian neighbour.

Familiar dishes and condiments include hoppers, goat and pork curry, coconut sambal, tamarind chutney, egg curry and just about any fruit and vegetable curry you can think of, including beetroot curry, mango curry and even pineapple curry.

Street-food tea shops are just as popular for a quick bite. Known as ‘short eats’, customers choose from plates of lentil vadai, egg rolls, mutton rolls and tuna cutlets, all drunk with a hot cup of tea.

The country is very multicultural, so all the influences over the generations have combined into one national cuisine. As a former colony of Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain, and a close cousin of southern India, Sri Lanka has taken on the best flavours of each culture and absorbed them into its cuisine. In other words, Sri Lankan food is unique, diverse and delicious.


Sri Lankan recipes

Egg hoppers

A Sri Lankan speciality, these egg hoppers are perfect for breakfast. You’ll need coconut cream and yeast for this recipe.

Egg hoppers with sambal in the foreground


Pol sambal

Coconut sambal is served with nearly every meal in Sri Lanka. This easy recipe is ready in 15 minutes and would taste great with egg hoppers.

A ceramic bowl full of sambal

Mutton rolls

From chef Peter Kuruvita, this Sri Lankan-style mutton roll recipe wraps potatoes, lamb mince, mint leaves and green chillies in a breadcrumb coating.

A plate of breadcrumbed rolls

Get a taste of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan curry powder blend, £7/100g, spicekitchenuk.com

A distinctive blend of 11 spices.

Maldive fish flakes, £6.99, asiancookshop.co.uk

An essential Sri Lankan ingredient.

RUCI hopper pan, £30, amazon.co.uk

For turning out perfectly shaped hoppers.

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Cash & Kari by Hoppers, from £25, hopperscashandkari.com

Sri Lankan meal kits delivered nationwide.