New Yorkers tempted by traditional dishes from Sri Lanka—hoppers, lampries and frikkadels
Back on the trail of the world’s love affair with our peerless cuisine, we find Tasting Table on the case in New York’s Staten Island, otherwise known as Little Sri Lanka.
Says writer Shanika Hillocks: “Comparatively, the food of Sri Lanka—a neighboring country to India—is an untapped cuisine for most of New York City’s food enthusiasts.
“Luckily, you won’t have to venture far: Staten Island, known as Little Sri Lanka, is just a free ferry ride away. Here are three Sri Lankan foods worth trying the next time you visit SI.”
She singles out hoppers “appa in Sinhalese, curved crepes consisting of a handful of simple ingredients: rice flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs and coconut milk.
“Made plain or topped in the center with a sunny-side up egg, the crispy-edged, edible ‘bowl’ is typically served with a choice of curry; the savory notes of clove and coriander, and a slight heat from the sambal, creates a satisfying balance.”
She also especially likes lampries, “introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch Burghers, a small group of European settlers who have called the island nation home since the 16th century”.
The dish consists of a bunch of ingredients—seeni sambol (sweet onion relish); pickled eggplant; cashew curry; caramelized onions; a choice of lamb, chicken or pork curry; a deep-fried boiled egg; and frikkadels—which are first cooked separately.
Often served during celebrations and large gatherings of family and friends, lampries is a menu staple for groups both small and large to enjoy at Lakruwana, a vibrantly decorated joint located on Bay Street a bit closer to the water.
Finally, frikkadels also get the nod: “Though they’re often served inside lampries at restaurants, frikkadels, crisp meatballs, are a specialty all their own and often enjoyed as an appetizer or side dish in Sri Lankan households.
“Although they’re made with ingredients you’d find in a traditional meatball—minced beef, fresh bread crumbs, egg, onion, garlic, pepper and Worcestershire sauce—frikkadels tout a fragrant twist, thanks to spices like saffron, cumin, green ginger and cinnamon.”
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