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  • Condiments and Spice Mixtures from Sri Lanka

    Ceylon Spices and condiments

                                    Ingredients used Spice Mixtures & Condiments

    Sri Lanka, the celebrated spice island of the East, has a strong culinary tradition that has been formed by the abundant access to exotics and flavourful spices and herbs.

    The celebrated flavours of Sri Lankan cuisines have long been formed by the numerous condiments, spice mixtures and pastes prepared by the local housewives using a connotation of favourite spices and herbs.

    Prepared to suit the rich variety of curries, sambal and numerous rice and starch dishes consumed at an average Sri Lankan home daily, Sri Lankan condiments and spice mixtures are now produced and exported around the world sharing the secrets of flavours.

    Ingredients Used in Sri Lankan Spice and Condiments

    Many celebrated spices and herbs go into producing Sri Lankan condiments and spice mixtures, each with its flavour and aromatic compounds. Spices and herbs from Sri Lanka have their unique flavour and fragrance owing to the terroir of the country, and each plays an important role in enhancing the flavour and fragrance of ingredients they are combined with.

    Ceylon Cinnamon

    Also known as true Cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon ( Cinnamomum zylanicum) has very low coumarin level and a sweet, subtle flavour, which does not overpower the flavours of other ingredients. Ceylon Cinnamon is used in the making of a variety of curry powders and pastes that is used with vegetables, seafood and meat, making it one of the important items in a Sri Lankan pantry.

    Ceylon Pepper

    Ceylon Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) and Ceylon Black Pepper essential oil are one of the most widely used ingredients in local and global cooking. Celebrated for its high amounts of piperine, which gives its a strong pungent flavour, black pepper is used in the preparation of meat, fish and seafood dishes as well as sambol, pickles and sauces.

    Ceylon Cardamom

    Despite its heavy price tag, Ceylon Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) or green cardamom is one of the most used ingredients in Sri Lankan spice mixtures. Used to add fragrance and subtle and sweet smoke flavour to fish, meat and seafood dishes, as well as in the preparation of desserts, beverages and spices tea.

    Ceylon Clove

    Ceylon Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) is an essential ingredient in Sri Lankan culinary tradition and is used widely in several spice mixtures and condiments to add an intense and warm flavour and aroma. The sweet, bitter, and astringent flavour of ground cloves pairs well with seafood, fish, and meat dishes, flavoured rice like biryani and desserts and sweetmeats. Ground clove is also used in the preparation of condiment mixtures and spiced teas.

    Nutmeg and Mace

    Although they come from the same tree and same fruit, nutmeg and mace have varying flavour and fragrance notes and serve different culinary purposes in Sri Lankan cooking. Both spices have a warm, spicy, sweet flavour that blends well with baked goods, confectionaries, beverages and puddings. Mace is used to produce jams, jelly, and marmalade and is used as a condiment when preserved in sugar, or when being dried.

    Ginger

    A widely used condiment in Asian culinary, fresh ginger roots is mostly used in stir-fries and meat-based curries while ground ginger and ginger paste is used in baking and confectionery. Most of all, the best use of ginger in Sri Lanka includes brewing Ceylon Ginger Tea and ginger jaggery.

    Curry Leaves

    Also known as Karapincha in Sinhala, curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) are an essential ingredient in Sri Lankan cooking and spice preparation. Used as an ingredient, a herb and a flavouring in almost all the curries, curry leaves are good to eat, smells delicious and has many health benefits.

    Turmeric

    Used in traditional medicine and local cuisine for thousand years, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is the spice that gives curries its destructive golden yellow colour and a peppery aroma. A spice used in almost all the curries, turmeric is also used as a disinfectant.

    Black Mustard

    Another permanent staple in Sri Lankan cooking, black mustard (Brassica nigra) seeds and powder is used in stir-fries, tempered dishes, pickles, sambal and curries. In addition to traditional black mustard, yellow mustard cream is also used in Sri Lankan cooking to add an extra zest to dishes.

    Fennel seeds

    Fennel is a key ingredient used in preparing curry powder and other spice mixtures and soups while roasted fennel is a potent remedy against diarrhoea.

    Cumin Seeds

    Another prominent ingredient used in Sri Lankan curry powders, cumin seeds are also used in tempered dishes to add aroma, in baked food to add smoked and savoury flavour and as a sprinkle in soups and broths.

    Coriander

    Medicine and spice in one, coriander seeds are used in producing Sri Lankan curry powders while coriander leaves are used in sambal and salads.

    Rampa or Pandan leaves

    An essential herb in Sri Lankan curries and rice preparations, pandan leaves are found in almost all kitchen gardens across Sri Lanka and added to condiments and curry powder preparations to add flavour and fragrance.

    Lemongrass

    Lemongrass roots are mostly used to add fragrance to meat and fish curries and in curry powder mixtures used for preparing meat curries.

    Sri Lankan Spice Mixtures and Condiments

    Curry powders, condiments and spice mixtures made in Sri Lanka include some of the key spices and herbs in Sri Lanka and have been time tested through generation to enhance flavour, aroma and provide numerous health benefits.

    Sri Lankan Curry Powder

    Available in roasted and unroasted versions curry powder fondly known as Thuna-Paha in Sri Lanka, is a must-have in every local kitchen and is used when preparing almost every curry and stew.

    Regular unroasted curry powder is made by combining and grinding coriander, cumin and fennel seeds with a sprig of curry leaves and a stick of Ceylon Cinnamon. Roasted curry powder includes more ingredients such as peppercorn, cardamom, clove, pandan leaves being roasted with dried red chillies and raw rice and grounded together to provide a more robust flavour and fragrance to meat and vegetable curries Jaffna curry powder, a slightly different version featuring dill and turmeric is used in seafood dishes.

    Tamarind Paste

    Tamarind paste adds a sour citrusy taste in the preparation of many Asian dishes including noodles recipes, curries, sauces, and soups. Used in cooking meat and fish curries Tamarind is readily available in paste, juice and pulp versions.

    Curry Paste

    Sri Lankan culinary traditions include a large variety of curry pastes that can be included in vegetable, meat, fish and rice dishes.

    Sri Lankan curry pastes including red curry paste, green curry paste and yellow curry paste, that is made with vinegar, salt, cumin, tamarind, ginger, onion, chilli, garlic, vegetable oil, coriander, sweet cumin, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, dill, turmeric, garcinia, curry leaf, mustard, lemongrass and screw pine.

    In addition to the curry powders and curry pastes of local origin, Sri Lankan spice and condiment manufactures have also been producing a large variety of sauces of a traditional and non-traditional base for global and local markets. Among them are the tamarind sauce, mango sauce, pineapple sauce, lemon and mustard sauce and Chill and garlic sauce made out of locally sourced products, according to traditional recipes.

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Sri Lanka is well known for the variety and quality of spices it provides. From Ceylon Cinnamon to cardamom, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and various others, the spice exports of Sri Lanka are at an all-time high.

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