Mushroom Rice

Mushroom are quite popular in Sri Lanka, throughout the country many people are strict vegetarians. We don’t have lots of varieties of mushrooms like in Europe, but there are fresh and dried mushrooms available. I created this rice dish with wild mushrooms, and it has come out beautifully each time I make it. So I thought I should share with you all!


350g mix wild mushrooms ( cleaned and cut)
I red onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
I cup of leek (white part, sliced)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tomato (seeded and chopped)
3 tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and fry until golden. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes together with the garlic, then add the mushrooms. Mix well and cook until all the aromas come out. Then add the leeks and tomato, mix well. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and check the seasoning. Cook rice as you like, either plain or tempered. Stir into the mushroom mixture and  serve.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lotus Root Curry (Nelum ala Vanjanaya)

Lotus root is a well-known vegetable in Asia – in Sri Lanka we use it for curry and in soup. In London, lotus root is not so easy to find (except in Asian supermarkets) but if you can get hold of it please do try this recipe (my own!). It is full of nutrition and also very tasty.


250g lotus root (cleaned and sliced)

2 medium tomatoes (diced)

I onion (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 green chilli (sliced)

3 sprigs curry leaves

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 turmeric powder

1/2 mustard seeds

1 tbs olive oil

1 cup coconut milk

Salt to taste


Mix the curry powder with the sliced lotus roots and keep to one side. Heat the oil in a pan and add garlic, onion, curry leaves, chilli, cinnamon and mustard sees. Cook for about five minutes or until the aromas come out. Then add the lotus roots, tomatoes and salt and mix together. Cover and slow cook for about 10 minutes then add the coconut milk. Simmer on a low flame, check the seasoning. When the gravy is absorbed into the vegetable, remove from the heat (make sure no to overcook). If you like, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of roasted curry powder. Serve with rice or bread.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Jack Seed Curry (Kos ata kalupol maluwa)

Jack seed curry is a well-known Sri Lankan  dish. I still remember Mum making this with fresh jack seeds, full of flavour. A pure vegetarian dish, you can make it for lunch or dinner instead of fish or meat curry.



30 jack seeds with shell

1 big onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 tbs chopped fresh ginger

4 green chilli (sliced)

4 sprigs of curry leaves

2 tbs raw rice (pan roasted and ground)

3 tbs scraped coconut (pan roasted and ground)

3 small pieces dried bridle berry (goraka)

1 piece of cinnamon

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 mustard powder

1 1/2 tbs roasted curry powder

1 tbs chilli powder

1/2  black pepper powder

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups coconut milk



Roughly crush the jack seeds. Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic, ginger,onion, chilli, cinnamon and curry leaves and cook until the aromas come out. Then add all spices, roasted coconut and rice powder. Add the jack seeds and water, mix well and cover and cook until they are soft. Then add the coconut milk, check the seasoning and simmer until the jack seeds absorb the flavours. Serve with boiled rice or bread. For best results use a clay pot.



© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sri Lankan Broccoli with Fresh Coconut (Mellum)

In SriLanka we use the same recipe for different varieties of green leaves and raw jackfruit – it’s very popular with authentic rice and curry. I hope you will enjoy my own recipe with broccoli,  I even managed to find a broccoli flower for garnish.


300g broccoli

4 tbs  fresh coconut

2 sprigs of curry leaves

2 red or green chillis

1/2 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbs ginger

1 tsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 black pepper seeds

1 tbs lime juice


3 tbs water




Shred the green part of the broccoli, transfer into a pan with water. Cover and cook on a low flame until the water disappears. Grind the coconut with the rest of the ingredients and mix with the broccoli (I use a pestle and mortar but you could use a food processor). Cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, serve with rice.


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Bread Pudding

Everyone seems to love my Sri Lankan style bread pudding.  I haven’t used any butter or cream, so it’s very healthy. I have packed it full of interesting ingredients (such as pistachio, chocolate chips and berries), so it’s extremely tasty!


6 slices of leftover bread (soaked in milk)

3 eggs (beaten)

1 1/2 cup milk

3 tbs sugar

150g mixed frozen berries

50g chocolate chips

50g raisins

2 tbs pistachio paste

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbs lemon zest

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract



Heat the oven to 180*. In a bowl mix the soaked bread and the other ingredients together. Transfer the mixture in to a ovenproof bowl and bake for about 20 25 minutes. Check it is cooked with a wooden skewer in middle – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. Serve with vanilla ice cream, or as it is.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mushrooms with Vegetables

In Sri Lanka you can find several varieties of mushrooms. When you mix mushrooms with vegetables you get a great flavour, inspiring me to create this hearty vegetarian dish. It has become a firm favourite among my friends and family, and I hope you enjoy it too.


250g mushrooms (cleaned and cut)

100g onion (chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 leek (washed and chopped)

200g broccoli (parboiled)

150g brussels sprouts (clean and par boiled)

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs crushed chilli flakes



Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion, and chilli. Cook until golden brown, then add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Then add the other vegetables and mix well. Check the seasoning then remove from the heat. Make sure not to overcook the green vegetables so they keep their crunchiness and nutritional content. You can serve this dish with rice or bread.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mixed Vegetable Cutlets

Vegetarian finger food is very popular in Sri Lanka, especially cutlets. I am happy to share with you my own version of vegetable cutlets – they are lovely before a meal, and have had lots of great comments from friends.


100g diced butternut (seedless and skinless)

100g leeks (washed and finely sliced)

1 red capsicum (seeded and finely chopped)

100g boiled red lentils

2 green chillies (finely chopped)

4 sprigs curry leaves (finely chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin and coriander powder

1 tbs lime juice

2 eggs

100g fresh bread crumbs

Oil for deep frying

Salt to taste



Mix all the ingredients together with spices and seasoning. Take equally-sized amounts of the mixture and mould each into a ball. Beat eggs in a bowl and dip the balls into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Heat the oil and deep fry the cutlets until golden brown (the oil should be deep enough to cover the cutlets). Drain excess oil on paper towels. Serve as snack, or with rice and curry.

For my recipe for tuna balls, click here

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Mixed Colour Fresh Bean Curry (Bonchi Vanjanaya)

In Sri Lanka we have many varieties of beans available throughout the year. In London, I managed to get hold of yellow, green and purple beans to make my favourite curry. I hope you will all love it!



300g mixed colour beans

1 big onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 green chillies, sliced

3 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp raw curry powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbs vegetable oil

1/2 cup coconut milk

Salt to taste


Remove the stems and threads from sides of beans and wash. Break each bean by hand into three pieces. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic, curry leaves, chillies and spices. Cook until you get the aroma. Add the beans and mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes only on a slow flame. Then add the coconut milk, check the seasoning and cook uncovered for another 7 minutes (don’t overcook or the beans will become discoloured). Remove from the heat, serve with rice.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Ridge Gourd Curry (Watakolu Vanjanaya)

 Ridge Gourd Curry (Watakolu Vanjanaya)

In Sri Lanka ridge gourds are available throughout year. They are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories and quite easy to cook. A delicate vegetable, I hope you enjoy this pure vegetarian mild curry.



250g ridge gourd, peeled and cut into thick slices

150g potato, peeled and sliced

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 lime juice

1 onion chopped

2 green chilli, sliced

1 garlic cloves, chopped

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 piece of pandan leaf (rampa)

1 piece of cinnamon

1 tsp raw curry powder

1/4 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp mustard seeds, pan toasted and ground

Salt to taste


In a pan put the half cup of water together with the potatoes and all other ingredients except for the mustard powder, coconut milk and lime juice*. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, add the ridge gourd and coconut milk, cook for 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Do no overcook. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and mustard powder and check the seasoning. Serve with rice.

*Do not put the lime juice in until very end or the curry will curdle

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Lump Rice

Lump Rice

From 1640 until 1796, Sri Lanka was under Dutch rule. The Dutch Burghers (an ethnic group of mixed Dutch, Portuguese Burghers and Sri Lankan descent) came up with this delicacy known as lamprais (or lump rice). The dish consists of two special curries (three meat curry and ash plantain and aubergine), sambal belacan, tuna balls, deep fried egg and rice – wrapped up in a banana leaf. Whenever I go to Sri Lanka I always remember to taste this!

I made this recently for my loving friends who live in London. It came out nicely, full of many flavours that they had not tasted before. I got lots of good comments, so I thought I would share it with you here.


500g suduru samba rice (in Europe you can use Ponni boiled rice, easily available in Asian shops)

6 cups boiling water

50g ghee or butter

2 chicken stock cubes

Spice bundle (2 tbs whole cardamom, cloves, black pepper, star anise and 2 bay leaves wrapped in muslin)

1 cinnamon stick

2 dried limes

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbs ginger root, chopped

2 lemon grass, chopped

1 piece rampa (pandan leaf)

Pinch of saffron

Banana leaves (for the parcel) (available from Asian groceries)

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Heat the ghee or butter in a pan, add the garlic, ginger and onion and cook 4-5 minutes until the fragrance comes out. Then add the rice and mix well. Add the water, stock cubes, spice bunch and saffron. Cover and simmer until the rice is cooked. When cooked, remove the spice bundle.

Shrimp Sambal Belacan


3 tbs crushed chilli

100g dried skinless shrimps (roasted)

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tbs ginger root, roughly chopped

1 tbs olive oil

2 tbs lime juice

1 tsp sugar

Salt to taste

Deep-fried Boiled Eggs

Boil eggs for 8 minutes, remove the shells and deep fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.


Heat the oil in a pan, put all the ingredients in together and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let it cool down. Pound together, and add sugar, lime and salt. Check the seasoning and keep on one side.




To assemble the rice parcels, soften the banana leaves over a flame. Arrange two leaves one across the other in a shallow bowl and put three serving spoons of steamed rice in the centre. Arrange some of the three meat curry, deep-fried boiled egg, shrimp belacan and two tuna balls around the rice (see picture at the top of this post). Fold the banana leaves over the filling to enclose then secure with toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. When you are ready to serve, heat the oven to 170*. Place the parcels on a baking tray, making sure the opening is at the top. Bake for 12 minutes until the banana leaves start to turn brown. Remove from the oven, place a parcel on a plate and let your guests open them at the table – savouring the delicious aromas!

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.