Vegan Rice and Curry in Sri Lanka

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Published November 2014

Vegan rice and curry in Sri Lanka is one of the many reasons why we’re in love with this beautiful, vibrant and wonderful country. A selection of curries, salads, sambols and chutneys served with rice where you can eat your fill of curry from dishes that are often refilled upon request. The curries are always different meaning you can eat Sri Lankan rice and curry night after night without getting bored, even better news than the abundance of wonderful and various curries, is that there is a huge choice for vegans. No better news than that when planning vegan travels! There are coconut cream rich, protein packed cashew nut curries, mildly spiced with cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, curry leaves and pandan leaves. The nuts swell up with the coconut curry gravy to produce a deeply satisying thing of curry-beauty, the cashews become so soft with the creamy coconut milk that they literally melt in your mouth; it’s a very soothing and satisfying experience…

vegan rice and curry in Sri Lanka
delcious vegan curry in Sri Lanka
vegan cashew curry in Sri Lanka at Jetwing Lagoon

Dahl is a regular feature in your typical Sri Lankan rice and curry feast. We might be a little biased because of our love of Sri Lanka, but we honestly think that Sri Lankan dahl has to be amongst the best in the world. Cooked with coconut milk, the lentils are luxuriously creamy and the mix of spices and curry leaves give it the most amazing flavour. Take any vegetable you can think of and chances are you’ll find it served with your rice and curry at some stage, green beans, okra or deep rich pink beetroot have all become a welcome sight at our dinner table, flavoured with cinnamon and curry leaves, a softly cooked Sri Lankan beetroot curry is delicious or jackfruit seeds can be cooked in a curry offering a nutty and soft texture.

vegan dahl in Sri Lanka Sri Lankan dosai at Jetwing Vil Uyana
vegan beetroot curry with cinnamon
vegan curry with jackfruit seeds in Sri Lanka

You might find a fresh green ‘mallam’ salad made mainly from shredded, traditional Sri Lankan medicinal herbs and spices and freshly grated coconut and shallots; the leaves have all got different medicinal values and a bit of ‘mallam’ gives a raw, green hit to your vegan rice and curry. Spicy and fresh with grated fresh coconut and firm green gotukola leaves, ‘gotukola mallam’ is said to be good for your skin, immune system and also promotes a good night’s sleep.

Vegan rice and curry in Sri Lanka isn’t complete without a spicy sambol to add a bit of extra spice, we love the coconut laden ‘pol sambol’ made from freshly ‘scraped’ coconut mixed with a hearty dose of chillies and shallots as well as curry leaves and mustard seeds. Your meal always far exceeds it’s humble name in our experience with words like ‘banquet’, ‘feast’, ‘extravaganza’ or just plain ‘heaven’ seeming more appropriate, we love the fact that every time we order it we seem to have a new dish to try but more than that we love the different variety of flavours, textures and ingredients used that are all 100% vegan.

vegan gotukola mallam in Sri Lanka
Pol sambol in Sri Lanka

Vegan Food Quest in Sri Lanka


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  1. eileen December 26, 2014 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Rice and curry – sounds as if it might be boring when this is on offer everywhere in Sri Lanka. My memory is that there are as many variations as there are eating places, every meal a surprise and equally delicious. As your descriptions and photos demonstrate. Enjoy. (I thought the jack fruit seeds looked a bit like baby brussels sprouts, or is that because I’ve eaten so many sprouts recently?)

    • Paul December 28, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

      The jack fruit seeds do look a bit like sprouts but don’t taste like them (luckily:)

      Although we have missed Xmas at home this year I certainly haven’t missed sprouts!

      We had another ‘rice & curry’ yesterday and despite it being our main meal for 2 months it was delicious. We had never eaten at this place before (Coral Light on Unawatuna Beach) but were told the rice & curry was good – this proved to be v good advice and I think we will have to visit again before we leave.

      Thanks for your comments 🙂

  2. Liyanage M Perera November 4, 2020 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I can live with Sri Lankan Dal and rice rest of my life.Mix dal with low calorie vegitables and cook in coconut can try to loose weight

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