The Spice Cupboard

Welcome to my new blog! Before I get started with the recipes, here are some of the essential spices (and other ingredients) you will need to cook Sri Lankan dishes:



Dried red chilli powder Tamarind paste

Coriander seeds White vinegar

Cumin seeds Coconut milk (powder or tinned)

Cinnamon sticks Curry leaves (dried or fresh)

Cardamom pods Cashew nuts

Whole cloves Dhall (red lentils)

Black mustard seed Oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)

Whole nutmeg

Gamboge (Goraka)

Ground turmeric

Black pepper





Ginger root

Green chilli

Curry leaves


Mint leaves

***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

In Sri Lankan cooking, we have two curry types of curry powder – raw and roasted. To get the real flavour, it is best to make it yourself using exactly the right ingredients!

SRI LANKAN RAW CURRY POWDER (mostly used in vegetable dishes)


250g coriander seeds

125g cumin seeds

30g black peppercorns


Wash and dry the ingredients, mix together, pound well in a pestle and mortar, store in a sealed container


SRI LANKAN ROASTED CURRY POWDER (mostly used in meat and fish dishes)


50g coriander seeds

25g cumin seeds

25g rice (raw)

10g dry red chilli powder

25g coconut (freshly grated, or dessicated)

2 inch piece of cinnamon stick

2 inch piece of lemongrass

10g cardamom pods

10g black peppercorns

10g black mustard seeds

10g cloves

Handful of curry leaves


Heat the frying pan and roast the dry rice until golden brown. Add cinnamon, cloves, coriander, curry leaves, peppercorns and cardamom. Last of all, add the coconut, cumin, mustard seed. When all are roasted and have turned a nice colour, pound into a powder with the pestle and mortar. Store in a sealed container.

  ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***


It is great if you have a clay pot. A wok is also invaluable. Other than that, use whatever you have in your kitchen!


© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.