Sri Lanka, an island country located south of India, boasts a rich and diverse culinary tradition that reflects its history, geography, and culture. With its tropical climate, Sri Lanka is a paradise of fruits and vegetables, making its cuisine both healthy and flavourful. Here are some healthy food gems from Sri Lanka.
- Rice and Curry: The staple food of Sri Lanka, this dish consists of red or white rice served with a variety of curries, often including fish, lentils, and vegetables. The spices used, like turmeric and cumin, have known health benefits.
- Mallung: A traditional Sri Lankan dish made from shredded leafy green vegetables (like kale, spinach, or collard greens), onions, grated coconut, green chillies, and lime. This dish is a powerhouse of nutrients like vitamins, fiber, and iron.
- Kiribath: Also known as milk rice, this special dish is made of rice cooked in coconut milk. It’s usually prepared for special occasions and served with ‘lunu miris’, a spicy onion relish, providing a balanced combination of complex carbs and fats.
- Gotu Kola Sambol: A healthy and refreshing salad made from Gotu Kola leaves (also known as Asiatic pennywort), grated coconut, green chillies, lime, and onions. Gotu Kola is known for its high concentration of vitamins and minerals, as well as its potential brain-boosting effects.
- Pol Sambol: A spicy coconut relish, made from grated coconut, red onions, dried whole chillies, lime juice, and salt. This is a good source of healthy fats and dietary fiber.
- Fish Curry: Given Sri Lanka’s extensive coastline, fish is a staple protein source. Fish curry is commonly made with tuna or mackerel and cooked with spices and coconut milk, providing a good dose of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Dhal Curry: A simple yet nutritious dish made of red lentils cooked in coconut milk and spices. It’s high in protein, fiber, and iron, making it a great vegetarian option.
- Fruits: Sri Lanka is abundant in a variety of tropical fruits like mangoes, bananas, papaya, pineapples, and the unique “wood apple.” These fruits are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
- Kola Kenda: This healthy green porridge is made by blending cooked leafy greens with coconut milk and cooked red rice. It’s a nourishing start to the day, packed with iron and other essential nutrients.
- String Hoppers: These are rice noodles steamed in circular molds. Served with dhal curry or coconut sambol, they offer a balanced and light meal.
Sri Lankan cuisine is characterized by its distinctive flavors, aromatic spices, and the predominant use of coconut in many forms. The emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and spices with medicinal properties, coupled with traditional cooking methods, makes Sri Lankan food a gastronomic delight, promoting good health and well-being. With its vibrant culinary scene, Sri Lanka invites a culinary exploration that is as nourishing as it is satisfying.