Naamal provided both a uniquely elaborate description of Sri Lanka's cuisine and multiple recipes, complete with sides and condiments. I've included her own version of a lentil curry above. The other recipes may be found at the following websites she provided:
I made the lentil dish along with a chicken curry, kiri bath (rice cooked in coconut milk), lunu miris, and cucumber salad for my husband Dave's family when they visited. Over dinner, we talked more about Sri Lankan's history and its "food culture".
Our Sri Lankan feast >
My husband's son, Tommy, expressed his love for Sri Lanka's food and table etiquette (eating with one's hands),
"Sri Lanka is my favorite dish so far because it was delicious and because I could eat it with my hands!"
Preceding Naamal's incredibly detailed contribution for Sri Lanka, Naamal's husband, Christian, wrote on Facebook ...
"I think Naamal was writing out a few recipes as I was leaving the house...Sri Lanka is on the way!"
Naamal provides extensive background on Sri Lankan cuisine and the two dishes she shared ...
“Sri Lankan cuisine is diverse, given the size of the country. It is related to Indian food, but also influenced by dishes and techniques introduced by Arab traders and the Portuguese, Dutch and British (who each colonized Sri Lanka). Today, there are some differences by ethnic group (Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher), but the different groups also cook each other’s food. Some Tamil food has links to Southeast India (Tamil Nadu), but Sri Lankan food overall seems more closely related to the food of Southwest India (Kerala). It is generally more spicy than most Indian food, and features curries with coconut milk (as in Thai food). Sri Lankans also use a distinct spice blend or curry powder (similar to garam masala, but with a distinct flavor profile) and ground, dried fish. The basis of Sri Lankan cuisine is “rice and curry”, which refers to a mound of plain rice (red, or various types of white rice) surrounded by an array of curries and condiments. Most people have rice and curry at least once a day, most commonly at lunch. A simple meal would include perhaps two curries, one dish of greens and one sambal (a spicy relish or condiment). Even a minor special occasion such as having guests over can justify ten or more dishes. The need for a range of curries and sambals with each meal makes it hard to provide a single recipe. Also, I often cook without recipes, which makes pinning down quantities difficult. But, I thought I’d provide two of the recipes I use most, and suggest a meal around each.
The first is a lentil dish that is probably eaten several times a week by most Sri Lankans. Some will eat it with fresh white bread for breakfast. When served with rice, it is accompanied by a number of other dishes. The options are almost endless, but people pay close attention to pairing the flavors in each dish. This is because Sri Lankans eat with their fingers, and each bite consists of mixing bits of the rice together with small amounts of all the other dishes in various combinations. For the lentil dish, one possible meal would be: rice, pork curry, eggplant relish, coconut sambal, greens or tomato-cucumber salad (the latter is simply thinly sliced tomato and cucumber tossed with lime juice, salt, and pepper).
Breakfast and dinner have traditionally been the lighter meals (one favorite meal is rice-flour crepes called Appa with chicken curry and or sambals). Perhaps the most traditional Sinhala dish is Kiri Bath (rice cooked in coconut milk), which is served with one or more sambals. This dish is well over 2,000 years old, and is eaten on auspicious occasions (such as the New Year, during a wedding ceremony, etc.). It is also eaten for breakfast on ordinary days.
The sambals are usually made fresh, but people will also use purchased jars of these. A store called Spice Lanka is the best place to get these and Sri Lankan spices, though some Indian stores also carry limited stocks of Sri Lankan products. You can call a day or two ahead and have them make Sri Lankan curries and other dishes to take away. (We had them cater about half the food at our wedding).
You will need Sri Lankan curry powder and maldive fish chips for the recipes to taste authentic. You can get these at Spice Lanka or Indian stores, or alternatively, you can drop by our place and we can give you small quantities of the ingredients you need for a meal."
As Naamal suggested, we took a trip to Spice Lanka. We now have almost every Sri Lankan spice imaginable in our pantry: