Sri Lanka The Cookbook - Review, Recipe and Giveaway

The Sri Lankan Civil War raged for over a decade due to ethnic tensions between the Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Hindu Tamil minority. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 citizens lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced. But in the pages of Sri Lanka: The Cookbook, husband and wife team, Prakash Sivanathan (who is Tamil) and Niranjala Ellawala's (who is Sinhalese) love for their homeland cuisine and each other comes together with the melding of recipes from both ethnic groups coming to the table as one.  

This beautiful book shares a collection of authentic and vibrant recipes including feather-light hoppers (rice pancakes), fiery sambols (relishes), curries and unique 'vada' (fried snacks). 100 recipe celebrate the island's wonderful ingredients, from okra and jackfruit to coconut and chillies, and explore its culture through original travel photography of the country, its kitchens and its people. 

As you know, I am an avid fan of cookbooks that share more than the recipes of an area - I love to study the photographs of the people, markets and landscapes to soak in that region's unqiueness. The terra cotta pots that line a galvanized metal store front or the the shoulder-high stacks of bananas in a marketplace all provide me a glimpse into the scenery of Sri Lanka. 

The couple, who moved to London in the seventies, use to own a restaurant and would fight over who will do the cooking both there and at home. They find it is easier to take turns in the kitchen to avoid tensions finding a way to balance  their slighly different styles of cooking.

The recipes in Sri Lanka: The Cookbook are approachable but some have a long list of spices and ingredients such as the chicken biryani. I have made the Spicy Baked Chicken which was super easy to throw together and full of flavor. As always, you can browse the index here at Eat Your Books to see the recipes that are available in this title. 

Special thanks to Frances Lincoln for sharing the Devilled Prawn recipe with our members today and for offering three copies of this book in our giveaway below.  

ISSO BADUMA  Devilled prawns (shrimp)
Add this recipe to your Bookshelf (click the blue +Bookshelf button).

This is a bar food originally served in drinking clubs during the era of the British Raj, and it has found its way into the homes and hearts of Sri Lankans. As a nation, we're also fond of devilling squid, cuttlefish, pork, potato…you name it.

Serves 4

  • 400g (14oz) raw prawns (shrimp), shell on
  • 1 green (bell) pepper
  • 1 red (bell) pepper
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • 1 tbsp medium soya (soy) sauce (not dark)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Wash and clean the prawns (shrimp). Remove the head and most of the shell, leaving it just on the tail. Wash them again, drain and set aside. Remove the stems from the (bell) peppers, quarter and remove the seeds. Halve each quarter and cut them into about 1cm (½-inch) chunks and set aside. Loosen the layers of the onion quarters and set aside. Put the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) or wok over a very high heat, and immediately add the onion. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the (bell) peppers and stir-fry for a minute. Tip in the prawns (shrimp) and stir-fry for just over a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir-fry for another minute. Serve immediately.

Note: When making other devilled dishes, the main ingredient will need pre-cooking with a pinch or two of salt, before adding into the (bell) peppers and onions. You can use this method with prawns (shrimp), but they do not need to be cooked for long.

The publisher is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US. and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 21, 2017.



  • lgroom  on  8/15/2017 at 10:27 AM

    The fish buns sound good to me.

  • eveaway  on  8/15/2017 at 10:40 AM

    Aubergine [eggplant] and tamarind curry (Kathirikai pitattal) and Plain hoppers (Appa).

  • lean1  on  8/15/2017 at 10:44 AM

    plain hoppers

  • lisatrev  on  8/15/2017 at 10:58 AM

    Wild boar curry

  • Joy001  on  8/15/2017 at 11:12 AM

    Coconut flatbread

  • MelMM  on  8/15/2017 at 11:37 AM

    Without question, it would be hoppers!

  • sgump  on  8/15/2017 at 11:42 AM

    I'd try the stir-fried chicken livers (koli eeral)!

  • michalow  on  8/15/2017 at 11:49 AM

    Pumpkin curry for me!

  • Anshie  on  8/15/2017 at 12:30 PM

    The Sinhalese Lamb curry. I don't think I have ever had Elumas. Sounds so delicious!

  • Siegal  on  8/15/2017 at 1:34 PM

    I want to cook the fish buns

  • Kristjudy  on  8/15/2017 at 2:36 PM

    Fish patties...

  • kmn4  on  8/15/2017 at 3:58 PM

    Potato masala pancakes (Masala thosai)

  • vinochic  on  8/15/2017 at 4:35 PM

    Spiced coconut salad (Pol mallung)

  • thecharlah  on  8/15/2017 at 8:17 PM

    Lemon rice sounds great

  • DarcyVaughn  on  8/15/2017 at 9:43 PM

    Chilli-fried fish steaks, anchovies and onions

  • RSW  on  8/16/2017 at 6:28 AM

    Jaggery hoppers

  • tinaellen  on  8/16/2017 at 11:14 AM

    Dark pork ‘padre’ curry (Uru mas)

  • sarahawker  on  8/16/2017 at 3:19 PM

    Chana dal deep-fried patties (Parippu vadai)

  • laffersk  on  8/18/2017 at 9:23 AM

    Coconut Flatbread- all bread all the time. lol

  • sipa  on  8/18/2017 at 9:28 AM

    The recipe you shared, finally a way to use up some of the ketchup I've inherited and prawns. Yum.

  • skipeterson  on  8/18/2017 at 11:39 AM

    Garlic curry (Sudu lunu hodi)

  • lpatterson412  on  8/18/2017 at 6:36 PM

    I want to try the spicy shrimp paste balls!

  • hirsheys  on  8/18/2017 at 7:08 PM

    Jackfruit curry (Kiri kos)

  • Amandaspamanda  on  8/18/2017 at 8:37 PM

    Steamed coconut and red rice flour rolls (Bamboo pittu) - these sound so yummy!

  • LaurenE  on  8/18/2017 at 9:39 PM

    Potato masala pancakes (Masala thosai)

  • Scotsman61  on  8/18/2017 at 10:14 PM

    Dark pork ‘padre’ curry (Uru mas)

  • t.t  on  8/19/2017 at 12:03 AM

    Chana dal deep-fried patties (Parippu vadai)

  • love2chow  on  8/19/2017 at 9:28 PM

    Egg hoppers

  • percussion03  on  8/19/2017 at 11:12 PM

    Pumpkin and coconut curry

  • matag  on  8/21/2017 at 9:57 AM

    Prawn and coconut curry

  • ravensfan  on  8/21/2017 at 2:37 PM

    Steamed coconut and red rice flour rolls (Bamboo pittu)

  • mpdeb98  on  8/21/2017 at 7:36 PM

    Cashew nut curry

  • Nataliecrue  on  8/23/2017 at 1:28 AM

    Egg hoppers with coconut flat bread

  • Shelley.b  on  8/23/2017 at 3:54 PM

    Deviled prawns

  • bookreadera  on  8/24/2017 at 9:11 AM

    Chilli coconut relish...on everything

  • skenoyer  on  8/24/2017 at 1:49 PM

    Chana dal deep-fried patties sound delicious!

  • jdub1371  on  8/24/2017 at 2:37 PM

    Hoppers and egg curry!

  • lean1  on  8/24/2017 at 5:57 PM

    Since I have been to Sri Lanka and tried many different foods my favorite would be Masala potato pancakes.

  • motherofpearl81  on  8/24/2017 at 6:46 PM

    Lemon rice (Pulli chatham)

  • kristenlynnmcclure  on  8/25/2017 at 7:13 AM

    Pumpkin Curry

  • kitchen_chick  on  8/25/2017 at 11:15 AM

    Plain hoppers (Appa). My husband had Appa in Chennai several years ago and has craved them ever since.

  • bcarpenter  on  8/25/2017 at 1:49 PM

    pumpkin and coconut milk curry

  • LizyB  on  8/25/2017 at 4:39 PM

    pumpkin curry!

  • ChazBrenchley  on  8/25/2017 at 8:34 PM

    Devilled prawns for me. I can never get enough seafood.

  • Julia  on  8/25/2017 at 8:43 PM

    Lemon rice.

  • mfgramley  on  8/25/2017 at 10:35 PM

    Chili coconut relish

  • sequoia55  on  8/25/2017 at 10:59 PM

    Pumpkin Curry

  • Blaider  on  8/26/2017 at 9:03 AM

    Spicy chicken curry - yum!

  • br22  on  8/26/2017 at 5:03 PM

    I'd definitely make the Hot and Sour Fish Curry. Fenugreek is one of my favorite spices; love that so many recipes in this book use it!

  • Suzw  on  8/26/2017 at 5:44 PM

    Lemon rice (Pulli chatham)

  • dna  on  8/27/2017 at 4:12 AM

    deviled prawns

  • RickPearson54  on  8/27/2017 at 8:42 AM

    Fish patties

  • stephanieyee  on  8/27/2017 at 10:08 PM

    dal and spinach curry

  • Patoliv1312  on  8/28/2017 at 2:15 PM

    I definitely would like to try the Prawn and Coconut Curry. I love shrimp and I love curry.

  • Katiefayhutson  on  8/28/2017 at 2:30 PM

    Sweet potato (Bathala

  • fbrunetti  on  8/28/2017 at 3:23 PM

    String hoppers

  • erasmus  on  8/29/2017 at 5:18 PM

    Thosai, definitely. Mine never turn out, I need a new recipe!

  • reenz26  on  8/30/2017 at 5:53 PM

    coconut rice congee.i try to make it from the recipe i remember tasting in the dorms...

  • reensarai  on  8/30/2017 at 6:05 PM

    jaggery hoppers,sounds yum!

  • ReenaCooks  on  8/30/2017 at 6:11 PM

    Cashew nut curry

  • AnnaZed  on  8/31/2017 at 12:57 AM

    Tamil roasted curry powder (Thool) Method A (page 16)

  • Lem9579  on  9/1/2017 at 9:45 PM

    spicy baked chicken

  • Shanthz  on  9/1/2017 at 11:12 PM

    Omelette curry

  • jlemoine  on  9/3/2017 at 7:13 PM

    Spiced okra curry looks delish!

  • JenJoLa  on  9/6/2017 at 10:09 PM

    Potato masala pancakes (Masala thosai)

  • bstewart  on  9/8/2017 at 6:03 PM

    The coconut milk congee!

  • choppergirl  on  9/8/2017 at 7:16 PM

    Chana dal deep-fried patties

  • PennyG  on  9/9/2017 at 2:40 PM

    Garlic Curry!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  9/14/2017 at 11:17 AM

    Wild boar curry

  • ladybrooke  on  9/14/2017 at 10:01 PM

    Lemon rice (Pulli chatham)

  • orchidlady01  on  9/17/2017 at 8:23 AM

    String hopper stir-fry (Indiappa kothu)

  • pcaradonna  on  9/17/2017 at 8:35 AM

    String hopper stir-fry (Indiappa kothu)

  • rchesser  on  9/18/2017 at 9:51 PM

    Plantain and coconut milk curry (Valakkai paal) .

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  9/19/2017 at 1:37 AM

    I would like to try making the Black gram doughnuts (Ulundu vadai).

  • milgwimper  on  9/20/2017 at 9:38 PM


Post a comment

You may only comment on the blog if you are signed in. Sign In

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!