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Top Spices Around the World: Sri Lanka

27 February 2024

Sri Lanka has grown, harvested, and traded various spices throughout the centuries. Many of today’s most sought-after spices originate in Sri Lanka, and their names reflect this. Ceylon cinnamon is the perfect example.

However, the significance of these spices extends beyond just trade and commerce. They’re also the foundation of Sri Lankan cuisine and its distinct taste.

The country’s cooking is vibrant with intense aromas, bold colours, and layered flavours. It expertly incorporates a variety of robust and flavourful ingredients, from sweet cardamom to bittersweet cloves. Sri Lankan cooking has a fair amount of heat from one of the many chilli varieties grown on the island.

This article examines fourteen classic and enticing Sri Lankan spices and herbs. To learn how to incorporate any of these spices into your product offerings, contact the food experts at Hela Spice.

The Top Sri Lanka Spices and Herbs

1. Cinnamon (Kurundu)

True cinnamon (also known as Ceylon cinnamon) is the most desirable variety of this spice—and it originates in Sri Lanka. Ceylon cinnamon is renowned for its unique flavour, colour, and aroma. It’s sweeter and lighter than its cheaper Cassia cousin.

To this day, cinnamon remains a significant export for Sri Lanka. In Sri Lankan cuisine, meanwhile, cinnamon is commonly found in baked products, flavoured teas, and meat preservation.

2. Curry Leaves (Karapincha)

Curry leaves (known as “Karapincha”) are a staple in Sri Lanka gardens and cooking. The leaves possess a strong fragrance, making them an ideal seasoning. However, they are most potent and effective when freshly plucked, so you must store them in an airtight pack. As the name suggests, this aromatic herb enhances the flavours of Sri Lankan curries.

3. Cardamom (Enasal)

Cardamom is one of the world’s most valued spices and the most expensive in Sri Lanka. Its value has earned it the nickname: The Queen of Spices. Green cardamom is endemic to the island and is also called Ceylon Cardamom. It possesses a strong and pungent smell with a slight hint of floral and lemon. The black seeds inside the small pod exude a desirable sweet fragrance. It is in yellow rice dishes, meat curries, and desserts.

4. Turmeric (Kaha)

Turmeric is an iconic spice throughout Asian countries, particularly in Sri Lanka. It’s what gives Sri Lankan curries their distinct golden-yellow colour. People value its powerful aroma, unique flavour, and robust hue. Turmeric is a foundational element in the country’s cuisine. It seasons rice, soups, stews, sauces, and marinades. Additionally, turmeric’s warm, peppery flavours work well in teas.

5. Cloves (Karambunatti)

Cloves originated in Indonesia. However, they are grown and harvested throughout Southeast Asia, Africa, and Sri Lanka. These dried flower buds have an intense aroma and warm, spicy flavour, used to enhance meat and savoury rice-based dishes. Pungent and bittersweet, they are an essential spice in Sri Lankan cuisine.

6. Black Pepper

Ceylon black pepper is a globally renowned spice and one of Sri Lanka’s most famous exports. It is the second-largest spice crop grown in the country. The black pepper produced in Sri Lanka has high amounts of piperine, resulting in a strong spicy flavour and distinctly pungent aroma. You can also substitute it for chillies.

7. Red chilli

Red chilli is another indispensable component of Sri Lankan cooking. Whether powdered, spiced, or dried form, it always brings a spicy punch and hotness to dishes. Both red and green chillies add extra crunch, as well as heat. Sri Lanka cultivates several varieties of chilis, which come in various colours, sizes, and hotness.

8. Lemongrass (Sera)

Lemongrass is a fresh tropical grass used as a herb in many Sri Lankan dishes. The stalks and leaves have a vibrant lemon-like fragrance, which releases a pleasant aroma when cooked. Since they harmonize well with meat and savoury dishes, lemongrass is a widely used herb in Sri Lankan cuisine.

9. Ginger

Ginger is a heavily used spice in Sri Lanka. People choose it for its sharp flavour, subtle heat, and mild sweetness, which gives curries a unique and complex taste. Additionally, ginger can tender and flavour meats, making it a popular seasoning for meat-based dishes. Powdered ginger is commonly used in desserts, whereas sliced ginger makes tea.

10. Nutmeg and Mace (Sadikka and Wasawasi)

Both nutmeg and mace come from the same evergreen tree. Nutmeg is the seed, whereas mace is the reddish covering that surrounds the seed. It grows well in Sri Lanka and, as a result, is a common ingredient in the country’s cuisine. Both nutmeg and mace are highly aromatic with a spicy flavour that pairs perfectly with sweet dishes.

11. Cumin (Suduru)

Cumin is one of the star ingredients in Sri Lankan curry powder. In their whole form, you toast cumin seeds early in the cooking process to release their warm, earthy aroma and sweet-spicy flavour. These flavours are a delicious accompaniment for vegetable curries and meat-based dishes.

Alternatively, cumin is available in powdered form, ideal for creating spice blends and distributing evenly throughout a dish.

12. Coriander

Coriander is another component of Sri Lankan curry powder. Moreover, it has been an essential ingredient in Sri Lankan cuisine for centuries. Traditionally, Sri Lankan cooking has utilized both coriander seeds and leaves. The seeds have a spicy citrus flavour. The leaves and stems have a tangy, citrus smell.

13. Fennel

Fennel is also present in the curry powder and other spice blends that hail from Sri Lanka. These spice blends are the basis of curries and meat-based dishes. Fennel seeds are tiny and aromatic. They enhance the flavour of both sweet and savoury foods.

14. Pandan Leaves (Rampe)

Pandan leaves are blade-like in appearance and possess an intensely nutty aroma. Curry-based dishes and savoury rice dishes, such as yellow rice, use them. With their powerful exotic fragrance, they’re an effective way of harnessing the flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Hela Spice: Sri Lanka Spice Supplier in Canada

The bold flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine are the foundation of many curry, rice, and meat-based dishes. Consequently, these powerful herbs and spices are the secret to unlocking this exciting cuisine (or simply adding a tasty twist to a best-selling recipe).

Whether you want to add a Sri Lankan-inspired product to your line or invigorate one of your existing spice blends, the culinary experts at Hela Spice are ready to assist you. Contact us today to learn how to unleash Sri Lankan flavours today.

Are you looking for a custom spice blending supplier in Canada? Contact Hela Spice by visiting us on our website or contact us here.

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