INTRODUCTION Taprobane, Serendib, Ceilao, Zeilan, Ceylon, Sri Lanka- no matter what the name, what the era,it has often evoked comparisons with PARADISE….. “ May you have the gift of long life ! AYUBOWAN with this traditional greeting I welcome you to SRI LANKA - To experience the nation’s glittering tapestry of culture, the rich abundance of nature, so handsomely bestowed, and to give credence to the saying that- “ Good things come in small packages “
SRI LANKA - HISTORY National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the mast end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka. THE HISTORY OF - SRI LANKA -
According to The Ramayana, Goddess Sita was abducted by the Demon-king Ravana and taken away to SRI LANKA. Rama along with his army made his way across the Indian Ocean to “LANKA” to rescue his wife….. And thus Sri Lanka has seeped into Indian mythology !
Sri Lanka- The island is located south of The India subcontinent and hence is called ‘ the pearl in the necklace of India ‘ & is surrounded completely by The Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka is seeped in legend and history- this predicament becomes evident when examining the early history of the island. Sri Lanka has come under many influences which includes THE DUTCH PERIOD& THE BRITISH PERIOD INDEPENDENCE STRUGGLE A strong national identity has been forged and at the beginning of the 21st century, it is poised to make a bigger impact on the world stage.
SRI LANKAN FOOD- THE ROOTS Sri Lankan cuisine describes lavishly aromatic and spicy cuisine ! Despite the unavoidable links with India through history and proximity, Sri Lankan food represents a distinctive culinary style of it’s own right. It embodies the influences of Moorish traders, as well as Portuguese, Dutch and , British rulers. The distinctive culture,history and social traditions of the island of Sri Lanka are clearly reflected in the food habits of the islanders itself ! Sri Lanka endows various regional foods of which many are influenced by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Malays, the Arabs, and the South Indians who have left their culinary characteristic…
‘ CURRY AND RICE ‘ – describes typical Sri Lankan cuisine. It comprises of the main meal in almost every household. There are over 17 varieties of rice grown in Sri Lanka. From short grained to long grained to fat grained to pearly white. Color shades includes White to Burgundy. And types vary from : MILCHARD- a large grained rice which gives of a pungent smell when cooked. COUNTRY RICE- in which most of the bran is retained. WHITE RICE POLISHED RICE
- CULINARY TRADITION - The rice is always put on to the plate first and then the curries are selected from the other dishes to mix with it so you have a collection of minor meals around the plate. You eat by mixing the rice with something forming it in to bite sized ball and consuming by hand. Is generally consumed with a range of vegetables or meat, parripu , sambol and Mullung.
-BREAKFAST- Breakfast is the first meal of the day and usually includes a light meal. HOPPERS - a popular favorite for breakfast- they are much like sour-dough pancakes. The batter is fermented in the traditional way with a light palm toddy, which gives the hoppers a delicious liquor tang. Usually steamed and are served with coconut milk and sambol .
TYPES OF HOPPERS : PLAIN HOPPERS BITHARA or EGG HOPPERS MILK KIRI or MILK HOPPERS IDIAPPAM or STRING HOPPERS PITTU
MEALS READY… ROTI - flat, circular bread made with dough of flour, coconut, water and a dash of salt eaten with curry. CURRY: Derived from the tamil word ‘kari’ which simply means SAUCE. Made from a bewildering number of spices all of which roasted and stone ground.Cooked in coconut milk which gives it a rich flavor. Famous curry- Ambul Thiyal- (sour fish curry).
MALLUNG: Finely shredded green vegetables and dried shrimps, mixed with grated coconut and spices.
of grated coconut, red pepper, onions, lime and salt.
Seeni Sambol: a very dark, rich,
spicy-sweet onion relish.
PAPAPDAMS: are crispy fried wafers, served along with pickles and chutneys. These are popular in the normal meal of rice and curry. mango, ambarella chutney, date, lime and garlic pickle are the other favorites.
KIRI PANI: buffalo milk curd and treacle. WATTALAPPAM: a malay origin egg pudding with jaggery, cashewnuts, eggs & cinnamon… KIRIBATH: Rice cooked in coconut milk eaten with sambol. Served on ceremonial occasions like weddings etc. PANIVALU: shaped honey bangles. KIRI PENI: curd and honey SWEETMEATS- Rasakevilis
KAVUM: mushroom shaped battercake of ground rice and treacle fried in oil . THALAGULI : ball of confectionary prepared with sesame. HALAPE: a mixture of coconut, jaggery and flour which comes wrapped in a leaf. KALU DOLOL: rich, dark confection made with coconut, jaggery and cashewnuts. ALUVA: fudge like sweets PUHUL DOSI: pumpkin preserves
-BEVERAGES- COCONUT WATER: Exudes freshness and is absolutely delightful on a hot summer day TAMBILI - are bright orange coconuts KARUMBA – are the large green ones. TODDY: is an alcoholic drink made by the fermentation of the sap of coconut palm. It is white and sweet and has a characteristic flavor. ARRACK: derived from the word ‘araq’ which means ‘sweet’ or ‘juice’. Is fermented from coconut sap and then distilled to produce an alcoholic beverage that tastes like whiskey. GINGER BEER- a beverage with sparkling effervescence , exquisite flavor and pungency brewed to perfection.It won it’s popularity when the British colonised Sri lanka and has remained as a part of their cuisine ever since.
-TRADITIONAL DELICACIES- LAMPRAIS: rice is cooked in stock, curries, sambols, cutlets, a special prawn paste and eggplant curry are placed around the rice and wrapped in a banana leaf and baked. BURIYANI: A muslim dish, comprises of rice cooked in meat stock and garnished with hard boiled eggs and delicately perfumed with rose water. KOLAKENDA: A perfectly balanced meal and a porridge of brown rice and coconut cream flavoured with the juice of gren herbs. Served hot with a piece of jaggery.
THOSAI: The tamils of SriLanka have contributed to this part of their ethnic breakfast. Is basically a lentil pancake soaked and ground to form a smooth batter, flavoured with fried shallots, curry leaves, fenugreek and cumin cooked in a hot griddle with sesame oil. Eaten with ground coconut and chilly sambol. VADAI: Classical accompaniment to dosai- a triumph of tamil cuisine, they are small savoury rissoles fashioned into cakes and deep fried in coconut oil.
-SPICE ROUTE- Cinnamon(kurundu) The Dutch started the cinnamon industry in Sri Lanka, and even today the is the biggest producer of this, the most delicately scented of spices, which is used in curries and rice dishes. Cardamom(Enasal) Cardamom is an excellent in moderation to flavour curries, for sauces, and to give aroma to confectionery, especially wattalapam, a typical Malay egg pudding. Pepper (Gam Miris) This pungent berry, the earliest spice known to humankind, is used as a substitute for red-hot chillies. The world famous soup Mulligatawny (Tamil pepper water) is made from this spice.
SRILANKAN CURRY POWDER: COCONUT(Thengai) : Used in most of the Sri Lankan preparations. Coconut gives the distinctive taste of Sri Lankan cuisine. It is used in some form or another in the preparation of soups, rice, meat, fish, vegetables and even desserts. TUMERIC SRI LANKAN CURRY POWDER Tumeric- bright yellow spice used since the antiquity, is mildly aromatic And describes scents of orange or ginger with sweet bitter undertones. Sri lankan curry powder- Traditional blend of special spices which include fenugreek, coriander, cumin seeds, roasted fennel seeds and a hint of cinnamon. Finished with curry leaves which is added later.
There is more to Sri Lankan cuisine than just sweet-fleshed crabs’ What comes to your mind when you think of Sri Lankan food is probably- CRABS No doubt that is true but there is more than just crabs in Sri Lankan cuisine. There is an assortment of curries, sambol, meat, seafood dishes &desserts which are distinctively SRI LANKAN ! The misconception about this cuisine is that it is considered to be very SPICY.. but In reality it is not true. The spice in the food is replaced by the coconut milk, and spices. The natural flavors of the ingredients show through the color and freshness of the food.
-MULLIGATWANY- It is a watery thin, tart and nose tinglingly spicy soup! It’s essence can perfectly be felt when inhaled from a small bowl or more so often consumed over a mound of perfectly cooked white rice. It’s origin is due to the ‘TAMILIAN ELEMENT’ – RASAM.’ A Tamilian favorite’ as we know it has often been called ‘ Molaghu tanni’( pepper water). When the first Englishmen was served this south indian staple, he fell head over heels in love with this thin broth, but his clipped English tongue could not twirl in the right way to enunciate the words. What came out was more like’ Mulligatwany’ and so it stuck !
Sri Lanka is home to the world famous ‘ Pure Ceylon Teas’ Tradition maintains that the Dutch introduced the tea plant to Sri Lanka. Lipton is an important figure in the history of the marketing of the island’s tea. It was he who created the first Ceylon Tea labels and who popularized the equation that Ceylon=tea ! Ceylon Tea from here is often acclaimed as the best tea in the world. The climate of this country is ideally suited to producing a variety of delightful flavors and aromas. “ The Elegant beverage” TEA
Mild breezes, light, clear air and a rolling landscape lend the gardens of Ceylon a very pleasant aspect. The brightly colored saris scattered among the greenery provide an appropriate touch of beauty ! Once you’ve tasted Dilmah, you’ll never give it up !
-VARIETIES OF CEYLON TEA- DIMBULA GALLE NUWARA ELLYA RATNAPURA UVA CEYLON GREEN CEYLON SONATA
-A Cup of tea, A cup of Health- That cup of tea that you might be sipping for years not only has become a trendy habit but also a healthy one for that reason. Tea is thought to be rejuvenating. It is enjoyed all around the world because while it is calming it is also reviving and uplifting. It is also thought that the act of sipping tea in itself has restorative powers. Maybe this is one of the reasons why tea has become such a hit !
JANUARY : Thai Pongal Is the Hindu harvest festival in honour of the Sun God, Is celebrated on January 14.Traditionally Pongal - Ven Pongal and Chakra Pongal – Savory rice and sweetened rice is prepared at home. FEBRUARY: Maha Sivarathri This is the most important religious festival of the year for Shaivites, who comprise the majority of Sri Lankan Hindus. It is a deeply symbolic occasion celebrating the winning of Lord Shiva by his consort Parvati, through the efficacy of penance. All-night poojas are offered in the temples, and every house keeps an all-night vigil.
Festival of Lights It is a joyous celebration of the triumph of good over evil, and of the return of Rama after his period in exile. Hindu houses are redecorated, new clothes are worn, and lamps are lit everywhere to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. DEEPAVALI
-VESAK- According to the Theravadin tradition the Buddha was born enlightened and attained final Nirvana on the full moon of the third Indian month Vesak Boys and youths are busy making geometrically shaped lanterns out of semi-transparent paper usually of soft pastel colors and often with long graceful tails. Many people will spend Vesak evening going around looking at the lanterns and particularly beautiful ones will attract large appreciative crowds. Throughout the year all the families or businesses in one street will collect money and on Vesak eve build a stall at the end of their street and offer food and drink to all comers.
CONCLUSION “ Dear me, it is beautiful! And almost sumptuously tropical” - Mark Twain. – SRI LANKA