Travel is an immersive experience that delights our senses and offers a unique opportunity to explore different cultures. And what better way to bring back a little piece of your travels than by replicating a favorite taste? As a passionate traveler and food lover, I’m excited to share one (or two) of my favorite recipes from one of my most memorable trips.
In 2018, I had the pleasure of joining a G Adventures trip to Sri Lanka as an Ambassador of Change. It was a dream come true, as my family has a deep connection to the country. My father spent time there on Project HOPE, and my sister, who served in the Peace Corps, ended up marrying a Sri Lankan man she met during her service. The trip was an incredible journey, filled with amazing sights, sounds, and smells, but it was the food that truly stole my heart. Every curry was better than the last, and the bread and coconut accompaniment were simply divine.
I’m delighted to say that the recipe for this delicious bread and coconut condiment is surprisingly simple to make, and I’ve been sharing it with my family and friends ever since. So, whether you’re a foodie, a Sri Lanka enthusiast, or just looking to try something new, I encourage you to try this recipe and bring a little piece of Sri Lanka into your home. And if you’re interested in experiencing the food and culture of Sri Lanka firsthand, I’m here to help you plan an unforgettable trip to this beautiful country.
Recipe: Sri Lankan Coconut Roti (serve with sambol, recipe follows)
*** NOTE: must leave at least one hour to let dough rest before cooking ***
* 2 cups flour
* 1 1/4 cups fresh grated coconut or unsweetened desiccated coconut
* 2 to 3 fresh green chilis, seeded & finely chopped – OR – red chili pepper flakes to taste (optional)
* fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional; can find at an Asian grocery store)
* 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
* 1 teaspoon salt (add more to taste)
* 2/3 cup warm water or as needed
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut, chilis, curry leaves, oil and salt. Using your hands, work the coconut oil into the mixture until well distributed. Gradually add the water to the bowl until you have a soft dough that is not too sticky but moist enough to shape into a ball.
- Knead the dough in the bowl for about 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 1 hour or longer.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into balls. Using the palms of your hands, press each ball into a small round that is roughly 1/4 thick. Keep the uncooked dough covered with the towel while you cook up batches of the roti so the dough doesn’t dry out.
- Brush a cast-iron skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium-high heat. When hot, cook the rotis in batches until browned on both sides – about 2-3 minutes per side. Take care not to overcook, otherwise the roti will be too hard and won’t have a nice bready consistency. Keep warm in foil while you cook the remaining rotis.
Recipe: Coconut Sambol
* Fresh coconut – 1 cup (can use unsweetened shredded)
* Red chili Flakes – 1/2-1 Tablespoon (to taste)
* Red onion – 1/2 chopped
* Tomato – 1/2 medium chopped
* Salt – 1/2 teaspoon (to taste)
* Sugar – pinch
* Fresh lime juice to taste (optional)
Put coconut in food processor & pulse until the right consistency (crumbs). Remove and set aside. Put all remaining ingredients in food processor & pulse until really blended; add coconut back in.