Sri Lanka – Rice and Curry – Recipe (Traditional)


Enjoy your award-winning authentic Sri Lankan Chicken Curry with Rice, a dish that brings the rich and exotic flavors of Sri Lanka to your table!


Rice and curry is a staple and quintessential dish in Sri Lankan cuisine, enjoyed across the island for its diverse flavors, vibrant colors, and cultural significance. Unlike the concept of curry in many other places, Sri Lankan rice and curry refers to a spread of several dishes served together with rice, creating a balanced and satisfying meal.

Key Elements:

  • Rice: Sri Lankan meals are typically centered around rice, which is often steamed or boiled and serves as the foundation of the dish.
  • Curries: A variety of curries form the heart of Sri Lankan rice and curry. These can include:
    • Meat Curries: Common options include chicken, beef, pork, or goat, cooked in a rich and aromatic blend of spices such as curry leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and chili.
    • Fish or Seafood Curries: Sri Lanka’s coastal regions feature abundant seafood, and fish curries are prepared with local varieties like tuna or mackerel, often simmered in coconut milk and spices.
    • Vegetable Curries: Sri Lankan cuisine emphasizes a wide range of vegetables in curries, such as potato, eggplant, okra, and green beans, often cooked with coconut milk and curry spices.
  • Accompaniments:
    • Sambols: These are spicy condiments made from grated coconut, chili peppers, lime juice, and sometimes onions or tomatoes, adding heat and tang to the meal.
    • Pickle (Acharu): A variety of pickles made from vegetables or fruits, preserved in vinegar and spices, provide a tangy contrast to the curries.
    • Papadums (Appalam): Thin, crispy lentil or rice flour crackers, often served alongside to add texture and crunch to the meal.

Preparation and Serving:

  • Family Style: Sri Lankan rice and curry is traditionally served family-style, with several curry dishes arranged around a central bowl of rice. Each diner mixes and matches curries according to personal taste.
  • Layered Flavors: The combination of different curries, each with its own blend of spices and ingredients, creates a symphony of flavors and textures that complement the rice.
  • Cultural Significance: Rice and curry is not just a meal but a cultural experience in Sri Lanka, reflecting the island’s rich culinary heritage and the diversity of ingredients influenced by its history and geography.

Culinary Experience:

  • Colorful and Nutritious: Sri Lankan rice and curry is known for its vibrant colors—from rich reds of meat curries to vibrant greens of vegetable curries—indicating the use of fresh ingredients and spices.
  • Versatility: The diversity of curries and accompaniments allows for endless combinations, making Sri Lankan rice and curry adaptable to different tastes and dietary preferences.

Cultural Significance:

  • Daily Ritual: Rice and curry is a daily staple in Sri Lankan households, enjoyed for lunch or dinner, and often served during special occasions, festivals, and celebrations.
  • Hospitality: Sharing a meal of rice and curry is a gesture of hospitality and warmth in Sri Lankan culture, symbolizing community, generosity, and tradition.

Sri Lankan rice and curry encapsulates the essence of the island’s culinary identity—colorful, flavorful, and deeply rooted in tradition—making it a must-try dish for anyone exploring Sri Lankan cuisine.


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