All posts filed under: Sri Lanka


What’s the difference? Tasting Ceylon Teas

English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, English Afternoon… Why so many names when they’re all “100% Ceylon Tea”? My husband gave me a box set of black teas for Christmas. I poured intently over the dozen-or-so varieties only to discover that, while the tea names varied, the labels all listed the same ingredient: 100% Ceylon Tea. The issue came up again this month: I am fueling my book tour with gallons of tea … and yet every cuppa is little more than a brew of 100% Ceylon Tea. Isn’t the definition of insanity Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? I had to find out what was going on. My next move? A literal “pouring over” with hot water. Every morning I sipped a different tea only to remain perplexed: I couldn’t detect a noticeable difference in the teas. Feeling more and more duped, I decided to host an official tea tasting.  And, since I wanted to be sure of the results, I did it with my husband and friend. How to set up an accurate tea tasting: Whether you’re …

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Monday Meal Review: Sri Lanka

It all started about a month ago. While watching our new Sri Lankan friend, Iyona, prepare a dozen or so platters for Ruby’s 40th birthday party, I noticed how little she measured. Anything. Nothing. Ruby seemed completely relaxed. Un-phased. (P.S. I’m pretty sure she’d pass for 22, right?!) Anyway. Back to the cooking. It was a dash of this. A heap of that. Cook it a while. Don’t forget to stir. That was the extent of her instructions. I’ve seen many people cook with similar abandon (my mom included), but I typically struggle with the desire to control the flow of the ingredients. So often, this is because I want you to be able to make these dishes at home.  I have to include exact measurements to make sure you are successful. BUT, this is not the way of the world. MOST of the world doesn’t measure. And here’s the kicker. Somehow, some way, the food comes out just as good as if they had. So,  a month later, when I cooked the meal for a few …

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Sri Lankan Yellow Rice | Kaha Bath

After you make this recipe, you will be haunted. Your home will blossom with the tropical scents of Sri Lanka. And your mouth will beg to remember each bite: the slightly toasted note from the curry leaves, the vanilla-like pandan, and the ultra creamy coconut milk.  Not to forget the cinnamon, because.. well, how could we? This sweet, sweet earthiness pulls the rice together. Yes. When it comes to this rice, it’s all good. Now, there’s nothing simpler than this rice.  This is an “Add everything to the pot and cook” sort of recipe… and once you make it, I’m certain it will make it’s way into the regular rotation. It’s simply too easy and too flavorful. To make your life easier, just follow these simple guidelines: 1. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Asian market. 2. Pick up an armful of pandan and curry leaves and tuck them safely into your freezer door. 3. Toss them in a pot and enjoy the happily ever after that is Sri Lanka’s Yellow Rice, or Kaha Bath. 4. …

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Coconut Roti

The best thing about thinking I don’t like something, is finding out how wrong I am. I’ve always operated under the assumption that flaked coconut is much too squeaky between my teeth. Sri Lanka and these Coconut Roti proved me wrong. There’s something so refreshing about dumping three ingredients in a bowl and emerging with warm, doughy flatbread that smells like a day in the tropics. Or Sri Lanka, to be specific. In fact, I did an entire post cataloging the best recipes with three ingredients or less from around the world. I learned how to make these by watching my friend shake flour and coconut shreds into a bowl. There wasn’t a measuring cup in sight. She added the water by feel, too. When I asked her the ratio of coconut to flour, she shrugged and said “a little coconut. more flour.” So, as you make these, remember her advice. There really is no wrong way to make coconut roti. As long as you eat them warm… Makes 8-10 small, or 4-6 large Ingredients: 2 cups flour …

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White Dal Curry

My friend Ruby grew up in Sri Lanka and spent the better part of her 40th birthday making sure I learned everything there is to know about the food. Here she is drinking Ceylon Tea, grown in … you guessed it… Sri Lanka! Ruby isn’t keen on cooking (or so she claims), so she supervised while her dear friend Iona showed me the ropes. Iona blew me away by whipping up not one, not two, but three curries. I fell in love each steaming, fragrant batch. There was everything from beef to chicken. But I left most excited about making this White Dal. Why? Because what tastes amazing and what I actually have time to make … well, they rarely come together. White Dal is something that can be thrown together very easily with a minimum of ingredients, which fits perfectly into my mom schedule. It also happens to be vegan, which is an added bonus.. The flavor is outstanding thanks to three simple ingredients: pandan, curry leaves, and a cinnamon stick. These first two can be …

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Menu: Sri Lanka

“When the dogs bark at the moon, the moon is not brought down because of it. “ Sri Lankan Proverb I love this proverb. Sometimes we forget how much we shine, because of the “barking” all around us. Sometimes we listen to that barking, rather than listen to the truth of our own reality. The fact is: a little barking can’t bring you and me down, no more than it can bring the moon down. Remember that, friends… you are beautiful. Keep on shining. The noise can’t drown you out. And while you’re shining, try this beautiful, vegan Sri Lankan feast. All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Quick White Dal Curry [Recipe] Masoor Dal with garlic, onion, turmeric, pandan (aka rampe), curry leaf, and a splash of coconut milk. Sri Lankan Yellow Rice | Kaha Bath [Recipe] The most haunting combination of rice, coconut milk, pandan, curry leaf, and turmeric. If I could eat this every day of my life, I’d be one happy girl. Coconut Roti [Recipe] You’re just three ingredients …

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Sri Lankan elephants roaming in the Kaudulla National Park. Photo by Christophe Meneboeuf (

About the food of Sri Lanka

This week our kitchens take us to the small, pear-shaped island country called Sri Lanka. She’s just southeast of India, loaded with tropical hills, mountains, and a fresh, dreamy sort of ocean breeze. She was once known as “Ceylon,” a name which can still be found in the tea that grows abundantly on her slopes. Between the crocodiles, monkeys, and elephants, her lush forests hide coconut trees, one of the staple ingredients in Sri Lanka. [dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Fun Fact: Did you know the elephant is the national animal of Sri Lanka?[/dropshadowbox] So beautiful… My friend Ruby’s husband is from Sri Lanka and I got to sample several homemade dishes recently and fell in love with their use of coconut.* It is no exaggeration to say that coconut is in nearly every recipe. In fact, a fascinating article was just posted about the Sri Lankan coconut and its uses on Splendid Table. From coconut roti (a flatbread also found in India) [Recipe], to yellow rice [Recipe],  to dal [Recipe], the creamy milk and …

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