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Lamprais – A Srilankan Delicacy

Difficulty Advanced
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 2 hour Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 2
Best Season Suitable throughout the year

Lamprais is most probably the most elaborate dish I have ever prepared in my entire life. But it was totally worth it! The blend between the different flavors and textures...oh my god!

Lamprais was introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch colonists and it is derived from the Dutch word “lomprijst” (lump rice). It consists of 5-7 dishes which are then mixed with the rice and steamed in banana leaves:

  • Ghee rice or Lampa rice
  • Chicken curry/3-types-of-meat curry
  • Brinjal moju (eggplant curry)
  • Meat/tuna cutlets (Dutch Frikadellen)
  • Seeni sambol (Caramelised onion relish)
  • Deep-fried boiled eggs
  • Fried ash plantains
  • Chilli paste
    For chicken curry
  • 3 chicken wings
  • 3 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 big onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I have used Goda masala, but you can use whatever you want)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole dry red chili
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 small piece of tamarind (soaked into 2-3 tbsp. hot water)
  • For caramelised onion relish
  • 1 big onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 small piece of tamarind (soaked into 2-3 tbsp. hot water)
  • Few fresh curry leaves
  • Eggplant curry
  • 200 grams eggplant
  • 0.5 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • For Tuna cutlets (Frikadellen)
  • 100 grams panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 small chilli (finely chopped)
  • 2 small potatoes (boiled and mashed)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 egg mixed with 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1 tablespoon flour (adjust the quantities until you get a nice and thick crepe-alike batter)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Ghee rice
  • 1 tablespoon tablespoon ghee
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 0.5 cups Basmati rice (soaked for 30 min, drained and washed (use any type of rice that you like))
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder (use vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • spring onions and cashews for garnishing
    Chicken curry
  1. Start by marinating the chicken, Add all the powdered spices to the chicken, together with the ginger garlic paste and the tamarind and mix everything well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Add the onion and some salt and Sautee until translucent (5 minutes).

  3. Add the chicken and cook everything for 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. Add some water from time to time so that the chicken will not burn. It will release its own juices anyway, so add water if required. Cover it and let it rest until all the other components are ready.

  4. Caramelized onion relish
  5. Mix the onion with all the spices and set aside.

  6. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pot and fry the curry leaves for 1 minute. Add the onion and some salt and sautee everything for 10 minutes or until it becomes caramelized. The onion should be soft and dark.

  7. After 10 minutes, add the tamarind juice and cook for further 2 minutes. Set aside and let it rest.


  8. Eggplant curry
  9. Sautee the eggplant in 1 tbsp oil until soft (5 minutes). Remove from the pan and heat some more oil (1 tbsp) and Sautee the onion together with some salt until translucent (3-4 minutes).

  10. Add the chilli and spices and Sautee everything for a few seconds Add the cooked eggplant, mix everything well and add the mustard. Set aside.

  11. Tuna cutlets (Frikadellen)
  12. Start by mixing the tuna with the mashed potatoes, spices, onion and chilli. Form little cutlets and dip them into the egg and flour mixture and then coat them with the breadcrumbs. Do the same for all the other cutlets.

  13. You have 2 options: either deep-fry them or fry them in the airfryer, just like I did. They are better deep fried, obviously, but if you want to go for a healthier version, you can just use the airfryer (if you have one). Fry until golden.

  14. Ghee rice
  15. Start by melting the ghee in a pan and add the whole spices. Let them cook for 30 seconds.

  16. Add the onion, add some salt and sautee for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock powder and the rice, mix everything well, then add the water and boil until set.