String Hopper (Idiyappam) Buriyani

String Hopper (Idiyappam) Buriyani

String Hopper

String hoppers (idiyappam) are steamed rice noodles, and a very popular breakfast dish in Sri Lanka. They are made from a hot water dough of rice (or wheat) flour pressed out in circlets from a string hopper mould (either aluminium or wooden) onto little wicker mats, then steamed*. My Mum always made them with rice flour, and served them with curry or made a biriyani from the leftovers. We normally make string hopper buriyani for special occasions – my version contains chicken but you can omit this if you want a pure vegetarian dish.

*String hopper moulds and mats are available from Sri Lankan grocers.


1 kg chicken (boneless and skinless), cut into small pieces
200g mushrooms
150g onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 piece of ginger, chopped
1 lemongrass, roughly chopped
4 sprigs of curry leaves
3 green chillies
4 tbs coriander leaves, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
3 cardamoms, crushed
4 cloves
50g pine nuts, toasted in a pan
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 tbs olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a pan, add all the dry ingredients together and mix well. Then add the chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes, stir and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes then add the coconut milk, check the seasoning and let it simmer. Now the buriyani mixture is ready, add the prepared string hoppers using a thin spatula. Sprinkle the coriander and toasted pine nuts over the dish. Serve by itself, or with any vegetable you prefer.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.