Sri Lankan food is of similar spiciness to South Indian cuisine, and many Sri Lankan dishes are amongst the world’s hottest in terms of chilli content. There is liberal use of hot chilli varieties; amu miris, kochchi miris, and maalu miris. Many visitors to the country find the spiciness excessive, and many local restaurants offer low-spice versions of local foods to cater to foreign palates.
Sri Lanka has long been renowned for its spices and in the 15th and 16th centuries, traders from all over the world came to Sri Lanka, bringing their native cuisines to the island, resulting in a rich diversity of cooking styles and techniques.
Sri Lankan meals are usually boiled or steamed rice served with curry. There is a main curry of fish, chicken, pork or mutton, plus several curries of vegetables, lentils and sometimes fruit.
Side-dishes include pickles, chutneys and sambols, the most famous of which is coconut sambol. The recipe calls for ground coconut mixed with chili peppers, dried Maldive fish and lime juice. The mixture is ground into a paste and eaten with rice.
Another well-known Sri Lankan rice dish is kiribath, or milk rice. Coconut milk is found in most Sri Lankan dishes to give the cuisine its unique flavor.
Sri Lankan dishes make liberal use of spices and frequently do not follow an exact recipe… each cook’s curry will taste slightly different. Added to that are regional variations, and people of different ethnic and religious groups will prepare dishes according to their customs.
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