The first time I visited Sri Lanka nearly six years back, I did not know anything about their cuisine. Like many of us, I made the mistake of thinking that their food is the same as what people eat in south India. Not really. There are similarities but it is not the same. Sri Lankan food is characterized by the heavy use of spices and native tropical fruits and vegetables. For a taste of this unique cuisine, head to The Coastal Macha where chef-owner Piyush Menon has rustled up a special menu of Sri Lankan food. Ingredients like pandan leaves and goraka have been sourced from Sri Lanka so the food is as authentic as it gets.
I practically devoured the entire portion of the Devilled Seafood which is squid and prawn stir-fried with bell peppers, leek, soya sauce, tomatoes and vinegar. This is a great appetizer and there is a Devilled Chicken version available as well.
You must definitely try the Cashew Nut Curry. This has no vegetables but only cashews cooked in coconut milk and Sri Lankan spices. The creamy, rich curry goes very well with Appam.
Kukul Maas Curry or Sri Lankan Chicken Curry is chicken cooked with coconut milk, curry powder and topped with vinegar and lemon zest. Again, goes very well with Appam. What is Appam? It is a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. This is not exclusive to Sri Lankan cuisine but if you go to Sri Lanka, you will find Appams on the menu everywhere. At The Coastal Macha, you can choose from the plain or egg version.
Jaffna Prawn Curry as the name implies is a dish that is popular in the coastal city of Jaffna. Sri Lankan spice mix is used liberally in the curry along with coconut milk and pandan leaves. You can eat this either with Yellow Rice or Appam.
Coconut and jaggery are the main ingredients in Sri Lankan desserts. The Sri Lankan Food Festival Menu has something called Pandan Coconut Balls. Very similar to the Bengali ‘Naaru’ but the twist is the addition of pandan leaves that gives it a touch of citrusy, nutty flavor. Not just unique but very delicious.
The Sri Lankan Food Festival at The Coastal Macha is on till 15th September and available for both lunch and dinner.