Herbs, Spices and Sri Lankan Delicatessen Wattalappan

October 29, 2014 Reeta Laaksonen

Euphoria Spice & Herbal Garden - Sri Lanka On this post to a family adventure in Sri Lanka I want to talk a bit about the local food. I shared all the different things our family manage to explore and try in Sri Lanka from elephant safaris and beaches to tea plantation visits and learning to carve cinnamon sticks., and in the second post I reviewed the lovely east coast boutique resort Maalu Maalu.  What I found astonishing was the fact that Sri Lanka seems to be a sort of paradise when it comes to the ability to grow a variety of local food – everything grows from rice and coffee to exotic fruits and spices here – both wild and farmed. Coming from the northern country of Finland where you can grow potatoes, appled and few other things, Sri Lanka is just amazing to me!

Collecting Natural Rubber - Sri Lanka

Collecting sap from a rubber tree

If you are planning to tour Sri Lanka you should definitely schedule a stop at one of the herb and spice gardens. Here is a list of herbs and spices I generally buy at shops. As most of them are rather small and family-run, their Internet presence is not quite there yet, but the local guides will know where to find some. We were lucky to visit a great family-ran Euphoria Spice & Herbal Garden in Matale, where we learned about the healing powers of different plants and what these plants look like in real life – some of which are quite surprising to the images I had in my mind beforehand. A local lunch was part of the visit, and we, or rather Miss Anaïs also got to participate in preparing one dish for it – in this case it was a creamy and savory dahl. All in all the meal had some  ten courses, and that was one of the best meals I’ve ever had – and I was astonished to see all our children trying ,and liking , most of the dishes, which is somewhat rare!

Learning to Cook Dhal - Sri Lanka

Learning to cook dahl in Sri Lanka

The food was home-cooked, so the presentation might not have been Michelin-star level, but it certainly didn’t lack in flavour. As you can tell from the picture, they key really is having fresh ingredients and lots of herbs and spices. The cooking wasn’t as hard I had imagined, not did it take a long time. The one particularly positive thing I noted in addition of having plenty of different vegetables was was that salt was not needed in this cooking, which is something I try to avoid at home when cooking for children.

Delicious Sri Lankan Food

Lunch is served on a banana leaf

The table is set. Served on a banana leaf is an amazing meal full of colours and flavours. Food alone is a great reason to go and visit Sri Lanka – it is healthy, cheap and so tasty – even when bought from the little stands on the streets!

I also loved the local desserts, and one in particular: wattalappan. It was a bit like a mix between a creme caramel & sticky toffee pudding, and like many dishes in Sri Lanka it had that lovely coconut flavour. Our family had endless amount of wattalappan, and  Ruwandi from Euphoria Spice was happy to share her recipe, which was the most delicious of all the wattalappans we tried (and we did so in almost every hotel we stayed in!).

Wattalappan Sri Lankan delicatessen

If you’ll end up trying to make your own wattalappan let me know what you think about it, especially if you come up your own variation with a new twist to it. Meanwhile, keep calm and eat wattalappan!

Wattalappan from Sri Lanka

The must try dessert in Sri Lanka: wattalappan

reeta laaksonen

I love luxury travel and bringing global inspirations to our daily life. As a mother of three, I am always in the look for best places to visit with the kids. If you like the global lifestyle as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Lifestyle weekly feed.

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Reeta Laaksonen

Reeta Laaksonen and her family are always on the move. For her, home is where her family is - which is currently near London, UK. Reeta has lived in five different countries and by the age three her twins had lived on three continents already. When this family is not planning their next move, you will probably find them hiking, visiting temples, old castles or relaxing on some secluded beach. She thinks that every day is special, with the next adventures waiting right behind the corner. Reeta loves gardening and decorating, and has a passion for good wines. Besides writing she also pours her energy on learning Mandarin Chinese and baking with her children. For more stories about travel, décor, inspiration and global family lifestyle visit Reeta’s blog House of Anaïs and connect with Reeta on Twitter @houseofanais. Check out also House of Anaïs on Pinterest.

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