Southern Sri Lanka’s mouthwatering cuisine | Sunday Observer

Southern Sri Lanka’s mouthwatering cuisine

8 January, 2023

The southern province which includes the Southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, has a unique culture. These Southerners have their own cuisine and some dishes are popular throughout the island. Seafood plays an important part in the Southern cuisine.

In this article, Yashodara Paranagama, a Southern Sri Lankan writer describes three of the most popular items in the Southern Sri Lankan cuisine.


Malu ambulthiyal

Malu ambulthiyal is a famous dish made mainly from fish which are freely available in the Southern coast.

It is eaten as a curry or side dish with rice, milk rice, stringhoppers and hoppers among other food.

In the days of yore, our grandmothers knew how to prepare ambulthiyal from any fish using spices they made it at home. This curry made with dried garcinia and black pepper gives a sour and spicy taste to the fish.

It is cooked using a blend of spices which makes the curry black.

The speciality of this curry is that it is cooked in a clay pot using many seasonal spices to give it a rich taste.

The curry is cooked on a banana leaf, to enhance the flavour. Malu ambulthiyal could be stored in the same clay pot for more than three months.

This curry is one of the signature dishes of the Southern coast of Sri Lanka.


Young jackfruit curry (Polos)

Another famous curry of the Southern coast is polos, or young jackfruit curry, Young jackfruit curry (polos).

Another famous curry of the southern coast is polos, or young or tender jackfruit curry, which is one of my personal favourites. This curry is packed with so much flavour, you won’t even realise it’s meatless! This curry is ideal for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diets or anyone who loves a spicy curry for that matter.

Jackfruit is eaten in several stages of ripeness in Sri Lanka, but for preparing polos, the young, unripe jackfruit is used. The fruit is cut into chunks and simmered in a blend of rich spices.

This particular dish is delicious. The pieces of jackfruit are tender and taste almost like a juicier version of a potato and they are flavoured with tasty spices.

The speciality of this curry is that pieces of coconut are added for a delicious milky, crunchy element.

If you visit the southern coast, you must try polos curry and rice on a lotus leaf.


Divul (woodapple)

The Sri Lankan Southern coast always has a rich woodapple harvest. You can see at least one woodapple (divul) tree in every home garden. The villagers make delicious drinks and eats with divul. One of them is the divul drink, made with blended divul and coconut milk with water. This has a very thick texture and villagers add a spoonful of red rice and sugar to make it tastier.

Also, the divul achcharu (pickle) is another traditional food. This is made with unripe divul.

They add spices such as chilli flakes, salt, pepper and lime and mix them to make the achcharu. This has a sour and spicy taste and is a hot favourite not only on the Southern coast but also islandwide.

If you visit the southern coast, don’t forget to try these amazing tasty treats and explore the area.