Spices to Use in Sri Lankan Recipe

Best 20 Spices to Use in Sri Lankan Recipes.

The delectable food from Sri Lanka, the country of spices, is renowned for its rich, spicy flavors. Spices have always been a crucial component of Sri Lankan cuisine. All of the vegan curries, side dishes, and quick bites feature flavors that will pique your palate. These necessary herbs and spices undoubtedly give Sri Lankan food a great flavor and scent.

Best 20 Spices to Use in Sri Lankan Recipes

Sri Lankans typically use curry powder and chili powder as the main components to give their curries a tasty flavor. Garlic, ginger, and a variety of other spices and herbs also contribute to the necessary quantity. The flavor of Sri Lankan food is truly authentic because of the mixture of all these spices. Additionally, one of the primary ingredients in Sri Lankan cuisine is coconut. Coconuts are used to make mild, creamy curries because they are widely available in the nation.

Here, we’ll list the spices that Sri Lankan cuisine relies on the most. To acquire an authentic Sri Lankan flavor, don’t forget to include them when preparing a dish. We sincerely hope you would appreciate using these spices to make a delectable Sri Lankan dish.

1. Red Chilie

One of the main spices and a necessary ingredient in Sri Lankan cuisine is red chile. It is used to provide heat and a spicy punch to food. Sri Lanka grows many different types of chilies. Depending on the desired level of heat, they are used in practically every dish in Sri Lankan cuisine. Red and green chilies are used to add extra crunch because some Sri Lankans prefer spicy meals.

Just the right amount of red chili powder or chili pepper pieces can be added to a dish to make it appetizing. For instance, while chile powder is necessary for dishes with meat and fish, it is typically omitted from most yellow curries. Chili powder gives meat and fish curries their pleasant, spicy flavor. If you can’t handle spice, be sure to request fish or meat meals in Sri Lankan restaurants that aren’t as hot.

Spices – Red Chili

2. Turmeric

Throughout history, Sri Lankan cuisine has incorporated turmeric. Sri Lankan curries’ distinctive golden yellow color is a result of the spice. Most importantly, this lovely shade significantly improves the dish’s aesthetic. Thus, it is crucial to prepare mild curries, like potato curry.

One of Sri Lanka’s most amazing therapeutic spices is turmeric. Sri Lankans utilize it in practically all curries, including fish and meat meals, due to its disinfectant properties. It is a fantastic spice that is also used to prepare the delightful savory rice meal known as yellow rice.

Since turmeric needs a warm climate with lots of rainfall, Sri Lanka has an abundance of it. With a high curcumin content of 5%, Sri Lanka produces some of the top turmeric products in the world. It is used in conventional medicine for both home cures and cooking.

Read this article to know more about Turmeric. How To Make Turmeric Powder Easily

Spices Turmeric

3. Coriander

The primary ingredient in Sri Lankan curry powder is coriander. It has long been a mainstay of Sri Lankan cuisine. Coriander is used to flavor vegan meals because of its delicate, fragrant scent. It produces a rich aroma when roasted, which is necessary to taste the meat meals.

Most vegetable gardens contain this delicate plant, whose leaves are used to dress salads and side dishes. Sri Lankans love coriander seeds for their antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. A drink made from boiling coriander seeds and ginger is very effective at boosting resistance to colds.


4. Cumin

The main flavoring agent in Sri Lankan curry powder is cumin. Both roasted and unroasted curry powders can be used with it. The scent and spicy-sweet flavor of the cumin seeds are released during toasting. Thus, it is a necessary ingredient in the preparation of roasted curry powder. Both meat-based recipes and curries made with vegetables benefit greatly from the use of cumin.


5. Black Pepper

Similar to Ceylon Tea, Ceylon Black Pepper is a well-known spice throughout the world. One of the most well-known Sri Lankan goods on the international market is this one. Sri Lankan black pepper has a lot of piperine, which gives it a potent spicy flavor. As a result, Sri Lanka is recognized around the world as a producer of premium black pepper.

Black pepper is regarded as the king of spices, and thanks to its hot flavor, it can frequently be used in place of chilies. It is a crucial component of sambol, pickles, sauces, appetizers, and savory bites in addition to being used to prepare meat, fish, and seafood dishes. Pepper has therapeutic qualities and is used in natural healing techniques in addition to flavor.

Black Pepper

6. Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is a well-known commodity that is prized for having distinct characteristics like flavor, color, and scent. For years, it has been a significant spice in Sri Lankan culture due to its inherent flavoring abilities. Its thin, light brown cylinder shape and deliciously sweet scent are both characteristics of the bark. Almost all recipes, including vegan, meat, and fish dishes, benefit from the pleasant aroma that a bit of cinnamon adds.

It is a versatile spice that may be utilized in a variety of ways, including baking, flavored beverages, and cooking. These priceless spices have great therapeutic qualities and can be processed into powder or essential oils. Numerous health benefits of cinnamon include the treatment of cancer and diabetes, two chronic diseases.

Read this article to know more about Cinnamon. The Amazing Health Benefit Of Cinnamon


7. Mustard

In Sri Lanka, mustard seeds are a common spice. When these small black seeds sputter in hot oil, they provide a potent scent that was used to temper curries. The flavor and perfume of the food will improve with the addition of mustard seeds.

Mustards, in particular, can be finely ground to create a paste that flavor pickles and chutneys. To produce a vegetable pickle known as Sinhala Achcharu, a mustard spice blend is used. This is a very tasty traditional side dish from Sri Lanka.

8. Fennel

Another essential component of Sri Lankan curry powder is fennel. Both roasted and unroasted curry powders can be used with it. Compared to roasted fennel, which is a common home treatment for stomach problems, it offers several health advantages.

9. Cardamom

Cardamom is a tiny seed pod that contains black seeds and has a distinctively pleasant scent. It is known as the Queen of Spices and is the most valuable and costly spice in Sri Lanka. To improve the scent and flavor of the food, it is frequently added to savory rice dishes such as yellow rice and meat dishes.


Cardamom is also used to make sweets and desserts since it has a very strong aroma and imparts a unique flavor. It provides Sri Lankan delicacies like Watalappam with a delectable, alluring scent. Even it can be added to your afternoon tea to create a deliciously flavored cup of tea.

10. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most important spices in Sri Lanka and is used both in cooking and medicine. It is a commonly used spice for fish and meat recipes, as well as vegan curries. It is used to make garlic curry in addition to being a flavorful element in food. Since it can be used in so many different ways, garlic is a staple in Sri Lankan cuisine.


11. Ginger

One of the spices that are most frequently used in Sri Lanka is ginger. It provides the curries with a distinctive flavor by imparting a strong peppery heat flavor and a slight sweetness. Because it can flavor and tenderize meat, ginger is primarily used to prepare recipes with meat. The dish also gains the ideal aroma from it.

Beyond its use as a spice, ginger is recognized for its health advantages to treat nausea and gastrointestinal problems. In addition, ginger can be chopped and heated with water to make ginger tea, a tasty beverage popular in Sri Lanka. As a result, every household in Sri Lanka has ginger plants in their yard.


12. Fenugreek

For making Sri Lankan curry meals, fenugreek is a necessary spice. It is typically roasted to lessen the bitterness because it has a bitter flavor. Fish or vegan curries benefit from the thickening effect of fenugreek. It enhances the taste of any food with a pleasant flavor and spicy kick.

13. Curry Leaves

Almost all Sri Lankan curries are spiced with curry leaves, also known as “Karapincha.” It is a typical plant that grows in most Sri Lankan backyard gardens. Curry leaves are a great addition to curries, as the name implies. Curry dishes benefit greatly from the flavor and scent that freshly picked curry leaves impart. Additionally, it is used to temper the curries, making them the perfect mate for mouthwatering curries.

Curry leaves are used for medicine and have several health advantages in addition to giving food a pleasant flavor. It is said to be quite effective in lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Although curry leaves work best when picked right away, they can be stored in the fridge for over a week if they are kept in an airtight container. This magnificent herb is a must-have ingredient in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it can take a dish’s flavor to entirely new heights.

Curry Leaves

14. Cloves 

The dried flower buds of the clove tree are called cloves. They smell really strong and taste warm and spicy. It is used to flavor and aromatize savory rice meals or meat dishes. It offers a pleasant aromatic scent and improves the flavor of rice or meat curries.

Another well-known application for this spice is as a medication to treat toothaches or help with digestive issues. Cloves from Sri Lanka produce high-quality oils that are used to make toothpaste, soap, and other cosmetics.


15. Pandan Leaves

The pandan leaves, also known as “Rampe,” have blade-like leaves with a potent aroma that makes them the perfect complement to recipes with curry as their base. Additionally, it enhances the flavor of fragrant savory rice dishes like yellow rice. The unique scent of the fresh pandan leaves may fill the entire kitchen. It is a quick and easy way to give Sri Lankan food more taste and scent.

16. Nutmeg 

Since the soil in Sri Lanka is perfect for cultivating them, nutmeg, or “Sadikka,” is abundantly available there. In the world of spices, where nutmeg is the oval-shaped fruit and mace is the reddish webbing that encircles the pit, it is a huge star. Both of them have a strong spicy flavor and are very aromatic. Cakes and pies, among other delicacies, are known for using nutmeg and mace.


17. Gamboge

Orange-colored fruit known as “gamboge” or “Goraka” has a sour, harsh flavor. Before adding it to curries, it is fully dried with salt. This dried Gamboge can be stored without going bad for several months. It is mostly used to season and thicken the fish gravy. Gamboge paste provides fish curries with an original, distinctive flavor.

Ambul Thial, often known as tuna curry, is one of the most popular fish curries in Sri Lanka. Tuna is cooked in this fish curry along with a variety of spices and Gamboge paste. It won’t go bad if left at room temperature for even a week. Gamboge not only imparts a pleasant flavor but also serves as a preservative and prolongs the shelf life of the curry.

18. Lemon Grass

Fresh tropical grass known as “lemon grass” or “Sera” is used as a herb in various cuisines. Lemon grass is the name given to the plant because both the stalks and the leaves smell strongly like lemons. It has aromatic essential oils that give off a pleasant aroma when cooked that is reminiscent of lemon.

The thick, bottom bulbous region of the plant is where the scent is strongest. The tall upper section is used whole or cuts into slices for cooking. One of the herbs most frequently used in Sri Lankan cookery is lemon grass since it complements both meat and savory dishes.

19. Tamarind

A curving brown pod from the tamarind tree produces the sour-tasting spice known as tamarind. The Tamarind pod contains lustrous, black seeds with sticky, brown flesh surrounding them. This flesh’s acidic flavor is employed as a flavoring. Its sour and moderately sweet flavor gives fish or meat dishes a wonderful fruity acidity.

20. Vanilla

In Sri Lanka, vanilla is the second-most expensive spice. Whole pods, powder, or vanilla extract are the available forms. In addition to being used in cooking, vanilla essence is used to flavor cakes, candies, and pastries.

In conclusion, we have listed the top 20 spices used in Sri Lankan cuisine. Remember to bring back some spices from Sri Lanka as mementos when you travel there. The numerous renowned Spice Gardens on the island are the greatest places to buy spices in Sri Lanka. There, you can purchase any spice or curry powder you desire or simply observe the development of the spice plants. I hope you all appreciate the true flavors of Sri Lanka!

The picture was taken on Pixabay

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