The breathtaking island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, separated from southeastern India by a mere 30-mile chain of shoals. This proximity to India has had an inevitable effect on Sri Lanka's cuisine, as did the successive Portuguese, Dutch, and British occupations. However, over the centuries the majority of these dishes have been modified to suit the local palate. Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka highlights the gamut of flavors of this cuisine, which runs from hot and spicy to comforting and mild.
The chapters of Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka are devoted to short eats (appetizers), salads, staples, vegetarian dishes, poultry, meat and egg recipes, seafood preparations, desserts, and sweetmeats (treats). An array of exotic ingredients that is key and integral to Sri Lankan cuisine enhances the dishes. For instance, gambooge, with its uniquely sour flavor, is often used in traditional seafood preparations like Fish Ambul Thiyal, while either grated coconut or coconut milk intensify most recipes, including Pumpkin Kalu Pol Curry. Local staples are delectable works of art, such as exquisite Stringhoppers, Hoppers, and Pittu.
Since the entrées revolve around the nation's favorite ingredient, rice, the loosely coined term "rice and curry" best describes Sri Lankan cuisine. Other staple ingredients include coconut (milk, oil, grated), as well as aromatic herbs and spices such as curry leaves, mint, coriander and fennel seeds, and cloves. Sri Lanka offers a particularly impressive repertoire of vegetarian and seafood preparations.
Sample menus, explanations of spice uses and availability, typical cooking techniques, and descriptions of traditional utensils complement the 157 recipes, all adapted for home cooks.