12 foods you should try in Sri Lanka (part 2)

7. Polos (green jackfruit curry)

Jackfruit is consumed in a number of different stages of ripeness, from very ripe and sweet to green and starchy. Polos is a Sri Lankan curry prepared with young green jackfruit.

The fruit is sliced into bite-sized chunks and boiled until soft.

It's then cooked with onions, garlic, ginger and spices like mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder, roasted curry powder, pandan leaves and curry leaf sprigs. The final step is to add coconut milk and simmer to reduce most of the liquid, leaving all the beautiful flavors within the cubes of jackfruit.

Jackfruit has a starchy texture, somewhat similar to cassava or potato. Polos is a standard dish available at most Sri Lankan curry restaurants

Polos
8. Wambatu moju (eggplant/brinjals pickle)

Served mostly with rice and curries, wambatu moju is an extremely flavorful candiedeggplant (brinjals) pickle.

The eggplant  usually the purple-skinned, long and slender variety  is cut into bite-sized wedges and deep fried, giving the eggplant a crispy texture with a soft and silky interior.

It's then caramelized with a spoon of sugar, vinegar, red onions, green chilies, mustard seeds, chili powder and a hint of turmeric powder until the color turns almost black.

Take a bite and the soft and juicy texture of the eggplant should melt in your mouth the slightly sweet, sour and salty contrast is absolutely sensational.

Wambatu moju
9. Gotu kola sambol (pennywort salad)

One of the most readily available green vegetable dishes in Sri Lanka is gotu kola sambol.

Gotu kola (known in English as Asiatic pennywort) is a medicinal herb in Asia. It's shredded into slivers, then combined with shallots, tomatoes, fresh grated coconut and chili and seasoned with a dressing of salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Sambol is a term used in Sri Lanka for ingredients that are combined and eaten raw, sometimes more of a chili sauce and sometimes more of a salad, like gotu kola sambol.

Gotu kola has a powerful, herbaceous flavor similar to kale, making it an extremely fresh and crisp dish. It's typically a side dish served with curry and rice.

Gotu kola sambol
10. Kiribath with lunu miris

Kiribath is a special type of rice, cooked with thick coconut milk and often served during special or auspicious occasions, such as Sinhalese New Year.

There are a few versions of kiribath, but the basic procedure is to start by boiling a pot of rice.

Before the rice finishes cooking, add coconut milk and a pinch of salt. The coconut milk makes the rice creamy and rich and helps it form a sticky consistency. Once the rice is finished cooking, it's cut into wedges and served like slices of cake.

Kiribath can be eaten along with a number of different Sri Lankan dishes, often either sweetened with jaggery or consumed salty with chili sauce or curry. One of the most common ways to garnish kiribath is with lunu miris, a sambol chili sauce made from red chilies, onions, lemon juice, salt and sometimes dry Maldive fish, all ground into a paste using a stone mortar and pestle.

Kiribath with lunu miris
11. Pol Sambol (coconut relish)

In a country in which the coconut is of supreme importance, there's one Sri Lankan side dish that pays fitting tribute.

Pol sambol, which might also be called fresh coconut relish, is a simple blend of finely grated coconut, red onions, dried whole chilies or chili powder, lime juice, salt and Maldive fish (if available). The ingredients are diced or ground, then combined in a bowl.

In Sri Lanka, pol sambol is used as a garnish or side dish for everything and anything. It goes well with rice and curry, pol roti (coconut roti), a hot paratha, string hoppers or even just scooped up with slices of bread. If you love coconut, there's no better garnish in the world.

 Pol Sambol
12. Wood apple

It wouldn't be a Sri Lankan food discussion without wood apple.

The wood apple is a Southeast Asian fruit about the size of a de-husked coconut. It also has just as hard of a shell, and a pungent, almost blue cheese aroma.

Walking through a market in Sri Lanka your nose will detect it long before your eyes do. Inside the shell is a dark brown paste that resembles something between tamarind pulp and fermented raisins.

Wood apple can be eaten directly out of the shell, but one of the most popular ways to eat (or drink) it throughout Sri Lanka is in a thick smoothie, known as wood apple juice.

The fruit is blended with jaggery (or sugar) and water to smooth it out. It has a unique sour and sweet flavor. Mention that you love wood apple to any Sri Lankan you meet, and they probably won't be able to hold back a knowing smile.

Wood apple

(According to edition.cnn.com)

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