The post on Ayurvedic cuisine in Sri Lanka is from Barbara Wagner of Jet-Settera.
Ayurvedic cuisine has been used as medicine to treat all sorts of ailments and illnesses for over 3,000 years. It originated in Sri Lanka and South India. People from all over the world come to Sri Lanka to learn about the healing power of spices and food. The country’s holistic Ayurvedic medicine, based on a study that is thousands of years old, is rich in healing spices and ingredients. Ayurveda is one of the oldest sciences of cooking. It’s not only influenced Asian cuisines, but also had an impact on the rest of the world. It was the first to advocate eating raw food. In Ayurveda, each individual has to determine his or her dosha (body type). The three are Vata (Space and Air), Pitta (Fire and Water) or Kaptha (Earth and Water). After you know your type, you can find the diet that is most suited for your body.
A bit about Ayurvedic cuisine in Sri Lanka
Ayurvedic cuisine in Sri Lankan offers some of the tastiest food found in Asia. Along with other dishes there’s a wide variety of curries to sample. Most of the dishes are cooked in coconut oil and desiccated coconut is used in many recipes, giving the dishes a sweet flavour. Pineapple is also often used; not only is it tasty, given its bromelain content, it’s also very healthy. Bromelain is one of our stomach’s most important digestive enzymes. Most of the dishes are made based on local vegetables and fruits, making Sri Lanka is a real paradise for vegetarians and vegans. Most dishes are gluten-free as the locals mostly use millet and other healthy grains rather than wheat. Here are some of the best dishes I’ve sampled eating Ayurvedic food in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has a wide selection of curries. Curry dishes are made using many different vegetables and fruits such as beetroot, pineapple or even jackfruit. Seafood curries are also very popular. These curries are rich in healing Ayurvedic spices and ingredients such as curry, turmeric, garlic and chilies.
Pol sambol is a coconut relish. Freshly shredded desiccated coconut is mixed with chile, red onions, lemon juice and salt. It is eaten as a garnish with most Sri Lankan dishes. It gives a spicy kick to any food.
Gluten-free hoppers are Sri Lankan-style pancakes prepared with fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water and a bit of sugar. They are a very common street food that every visitor must try. The bowl-shaped pancakes are cooked in a special hopper pan. They are crispy and tasty! They’re often served for breakfast with a fried egg inside the pancake or with pol sambol on the side. Vegans can order them without the egg. I even saw red and green hoppers in hotels. Red was colored with beetroot. I don’t want to know what the green was colored with, but it tasted really good.
Coconut roti is Sri Lankan flatbread made from four ingredients: coconut, millet flour, salt and water making it both gluten and sugar free. I loved chewing on these small breads, tasting the chunks of coconuts inside. They were my favorite guilt-free snack. We visited a local lady in a village and watched her making roti from scratch. She ground the coconut by hand, made a fire and then cooked the small flatbread rounds over it in the open air.
Kiri bath was prepared for us during a cooking demonstration in Nuwara Eliya. The rice was cooked in coconut milk and was served with Katta Sambal (fried onions mixed with chilies, fish, sea salt, black pepper and lime juice). The chef served a banana on the side. It was a wonderful dish that mixed sweet and spicy flavors on one plate and it was also gluten free.
For dessert, the locals usually serve a colorful fruit plate with a selection of exotic fruits. They also make a selection of rice and coconut based desserts such as luwa, mung kavum, pol toffee, kokis, butter cake. Sometimes they serve buffalo curd with local honey in a coconut shell. This is especially tasty as it is made of fresh local curd and local honey.
Ayurvedic cuisine in Sri Lanka has many tasty dishes that are worth trying. Traveling to Sri Lanka and experimenting with the different local flavors is a real culinary experience. The best thing about these dishes is that they are not only tasty, they are also rich in healing spices and ingredients.
Have you sampled Ayurvedic cuisine in Sri Lanka? What were your favorite dishes?
Barbara Wagner is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger who left her country when she was 17 to conquer the World as a model. She has lived in seven countries and visited 68. She blogs about exclusive destinations and prestigious events around the world including Oscar parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan and Paris, yacht parties in St-Tropez as well as Prince Albert’s wedding in Monaco on her blog. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.