Spices of Sri Lanka



Sri Lanka Spices


In the 16th century Ceylon, as it was then known, was discovered by Portuguese who soon began trading in cinnamon and other spices. The Dutch and British followed bringing with them their own history and influences, forming a strong Western presence which created a history of food expressed with spices which can be tasted in the dishes today.

Is it any wonder that the Spices which are a vital part of Sri Lankan food are used by her people with such ease, creating food that is unique and interesting, adding subtle flavours and aromas.

It is an Ayurvedic belief that spices have healing properties that can enhance well being. The ordinary Singhalese curry contains up to thirteen herbs and spices:

Chillies, coriander, cumin, curry leaves, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, lime, onion, and rampe and turmeric.

Used in main meals to desserts and cakes, the islands food is expressed through vibrant colours and fragrant aromas of fresh spices.

Roasting of spices such as cumin seeds, coriander and fennel to bring out their flavour is a method used to make a black curry, and the smell of a good curry powder being roasted can excite the senses to great heights.

To food lovers, Sri Lankan food is an expression of a colourful history and delightful surprise, just like the island.

 Here are some spicy details


Cinnamon is the dried bark of various laurel trees in the cinnamomun family. Cinnamon sticks are made from long pieces of bark that are rolled, pressed and dried. True Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. It has a strong, sweet and woody fragrance. Cinnamon is used in cakes, cookies, and desserts throughout the world. It is also used in savory chicken and lamb dishes from the Middle East. In American cooking, Cinnamon is often paired with apples and used in other fruit and cereal dishes. Stick Cinnamon is used in pickling and for flavouring hot beverages.



Cardamom is the seed of a tropical fruit in the ginger family known as Elettaria Cardamomum. The seeds are found in ovalshaped fruit pods that are between 1/4 and 1 inch long. It has an intense, pungent, sweet flavor. A small amount of Cardamom will add a tempting flavour to coffee cake, Danish pastry, specialty breads and apple pie. Try Cardamom the Arabic way and add a little to your ground coffee before brewing, then sweeten and top with cream.



Cloves are the rich, brown, dried, unopened flower buds of Syzygium Aromaticum, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. The name comes from the French "clou" meaning nail. They have a strong, pungent aroma and tastes rather sweet. Traditionally, cloves have been used in spice cookies and cakes.



Saffron is the stigma of Crocus Sativus, a flowering plant in the crocus family. In its pure form, saffron is a mass of compressed, threadlike, dark orange strands. It has a spicy, pungent and bitter flavour with a sharp and penetrating odor. Saffron is traditionally used in French bouillabaisse, Spanish paella, Milanese risotto and many Middle Eastern dishes.


Black mustard seed is very pungent and acrid. It is used whole, powdered or finely ground, in everything from pickles and chutneys to meat, fish and vegetable dishes.


Lemon Grass
A vital ingredient in Sri Lankan, Thai and Mexican cooking to flavour meat and fish.


The fruits of the nutmeg tree have single-seed berries which produce two different spices, mace and nutmeg. They greatly improve the flavour of a curry dish.


Ripe chillis may be cream, yellow, orange or even puple-black and are easy to dry in the sun or in a slow oven.

Sri Lanka Spices



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: