Sri Lankan Desserts

Milk Rice
Imbul Kiri Bath)


Coconut Treacle Mix

  • 800 g finely scraped Coconut
  • 2 Cups Treacle (Coconut or Kithul treacle)
  • 4 Cloves
  • Pinch of Salt

Milk Rice

  • 2 Cups short grain white Rice
  • 2 Cups thick Coconut milk
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 3 Cups Water


Coconut Treacle Mix

  • Pour the treacle into a pot and bring to a boil while stirring.
  • Add the Coconut and mix well.
  • Take off the heat.
  • Add the pinch of salt and the cloves, mix well.

Milk Rice

  • Put Rice and water into a pan and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and Salt.
  • Stir with handle of wooden spoon, cover and cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes (until the milk has been absorbed).


  • Divide the slightly cooled milk rice into two portions.
  • On a flat dish, evenly spread out a layer of milk rice using one portion (should be at least. 1 cm thick).
  • Then evenly spread the coconut treacle mix on top.
  • Cover it completely (including from the sides) with the second portion of the milk rice.
  • It is important to do all this before the milk rice cools down too much as it will become too sticky to handle.
  • Cut into blocks.
  • Serve with bananas for breakfast or at tea time.


After a rich fish curry meal, serve this sweetmeat with black coffee.

Makes about 18 pieces


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 x 410 g (141/2 oz) cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 125 g (4 oz) butter
  • 1 cup cooked mashed potato
  • 1 cup finely chopped cashew nuts optional
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional


Put sugar, milk, condensed milk and ghee into a large heated saucepan (a non stick pan is excellent for this). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches soft ball stage or 116°C (240°F) on a candy thermometer. (To test for softball stage, drop a little into a cup of ice.cold water. If it firms enough to be moulded into a soft ball. it has reached the required temperature. Remove from heat, add smoothly mashed potato and beat with a rotary beater until all lumps are beaten out. If using a pan with non stick lining, pour mixture into a bowl before doing this or the metal beaters will scratch the non stick surface. Return to heat and cook to soft ball stage or 116°C (240°F) once more. Remove from heat, stir in nuts, rose water and cardamom and mix well. Pour into a well buttered shallow dish or baking tin. Pres lightly with a piece of buttered banana leaf or aluminium foil to smooth and flatten the surface. Allow to cool and set, then cut into diamond shapes.

Avocado Crazy

Serves. 4-6


  • 3 large, fully ripe avocados
  • caster sugar to taste
  • 1 cup cream
  • dash of rum (optional)


Cut avocados in halves lengthways, remove seeds and reserve. Scoop pulp from shells and mash smoothly with a fork. Add sugar to taste and stir in the cream. Put into serving bowl, return seeds to the pulp, cover closely with plastic wrap and chill before serving.The presence of the seeds in the pure’e is said to keep the avocado from discolouring, but make sure that the surface is protected from air by putting the plastic on the surface of the mixture. If you like, extra whipped and sweetened cream can be piped over the top of the dessert and a few paper.thin slices of avocado (sliced at the last moment and sprinkled with lemon juice) used for decoration. Note: While some favour rum for flavouring, I prefer to let the delicate avocado flavour stand alone.



  • 1 lb Semolina
  • 1/4 lb Raisins
  • 4 cups Honey
  • 1/4 lb flour
  • 25 Cashew nuts
  • 2 cups Scraped Coconut
  • 2 ozs Butter
  • rind of Lime
  • 1/4 lb Sugar
  • 2 tsps Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Rose water
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Dates, Ginger preserves, Sultanas, Chow-Chow and any other fruit you like.


Add sugar and honey to scraped coconut and cook over slow flame until coconut is cooked. Add all fruits and cool over night. Next day add butter semolina and flour to mixture. Then add vanilla, rose water, cinnamon and cardomons. Bake in moderate heat.

Wattilappam 1


  • 10 Eggs
  • 2 ½ Cups thick Coconut milk
  • 1 lb Jaggery
  • Pinch of Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Salt
  • ½ tsp Cardamom


  • Beat the eggs well.
  • Grate the jaggery and mix with the egg batter.
  • Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour the mix into a greased bowl.
  • Cover with oil paper & steam for 1 1/4 hrs.
  • Let it cool in the container before serving.
  • Sprinkle some chopped cashews for added taste and decoration.

Mung Kavum

Courtesy of Eva De Silva


  • 1 lb Rice flour
  • 2 lb Mung flour
  • 3 cups Coconut or Kithul Treacle (available in Sri Lankan Grocery Stores)
  • 1 tbs. Ghee or Butter
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


  • 1/2 lb Rice flour
  • 1 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of Tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt


Mix the rice and mung flour to get an even mixture. Boil the treacle in a saucepan. Add the flour mix. When the mixture starts to thicken add butter and salt. Transfer the thickend mixtue into an aluminum tray (cookie tray) and allow to cool. Add about 1/2 cup water into the saucepan, leave on the hot plate and stir until thick syrup like consistency. Remove from heat. Add small amounts of this syrup to the flour mix in the aluminum tray and spread into 1/2 -1/4″ thick block. Cut into shapes. Prepare the batter by mixing the ingredients well. Dip the above pieces in the batter and deep fry in vegetable oil.

Rulang Aluwa


  • 1 lb Semolina (Wheatlets)
  • 2 lbs Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp powdered Cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp powdered Cloves
  • 50 Raw Cashews, chopped


Roast the Semolina and set aside. Prepare a cutting board by sprinkling some roasted semlina and have it ready. In a saucepan add 1 cup of water to the sugar and heat. When the syrup thickens and starts to form a crust like layer on the sides of the saucepan, add the semolina and the spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the chopped cashews and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat before the mix thickens and transfer onto the cutting board. Flatten and form into a block (about 1-1/2″ thick). Cut into pieces.

Sau Dodol
(Weli Thalapa)


  • 2 lbs Rice flour
  • 4 cups thick Coconut milk
  • 4 cups Kithul or Coconut trealce
  • 2 tsp Salt


In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt thoroughly. Add a little coconut milk to the flour and mix until the flour forms into small balls like beads. Do not add water. Cover and steam the flour beads for abourt 30 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the steamer and separate the flour beads and set aside. Boil the treacle and coconut milk in a large saucepan and add the flour beads while stirring. Keep stirring the mixture until oil starts to separate. Remove from heat. Transfer into a greased dish and shape into a block. Cut into pieces of any shape.

Love Cake

A legacy from the Portuguese who once ruled the island of Ceylon as it was then called. There are as many recipes for Love Cake as there are cooks, and as many strong opinions on just how to achieve a soft texture in the centre while having a firm and chewy exterior. The secret is in slow baking and correct size of cake tin.


  • 1/2 lb Semolina (Wheatlets)
  • 1 lb Sugar
  • 1/2 lb Butter
  • 750 g Cashew nuts
  • 6 ozs. Pumpkin Preserve
  • 12 Eggs
  • 1/2 bottle Rose Essence
  • 1/2 bottle Almond Essence
  • 1/2 vine glass Brandy
  • 1/2 vine glass Bees Honey
  • 2 sheets Oil Paper


  • 1/2 tsp each of Cardamon, Cloves Cinnamon (in fine powder form)
  • 1/2 tsp grated Nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp Grated Lime Rind


  • Warm Semolina with a few lime leaves. Add the butter to it and heat until well mixed. keep overnight.
  • Beat egg yolks with sugar until nice and creamy with air bubbles forming.
  • Remove lime leaves from semolina. Add semolina and butter mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and beat well.
  • Add cashew nuts (cut) and mix well. Next add pumpkin preserve (cut).
  • Add Spices and essences and lime rind.
  • Beat 8 egg whites until nice and fluffy and gradually add to cake mixture. Do not make it too watery.
  • Line tray with news paper, final layer buttered oil paper
  • Bake in slow oven.

Love Cake Recipe #2


  • 6 large eggs
  • 500 g/1 lb/2 cups caster sugar
  • 150 g/5 oz unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rose water or 1/4 teaspoon rose essence
  • finely chopped zest of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 250 g/8 oz raw cashews
  • 250 g/8 oz coarse semolina
  • 125 g/4 oz crystallised winter melon or pineapple (optional)


Line a 25 x 30 cm (10 x 12 in) cake tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F).

Beat eggs and sugar until thick and light. Add softened butter and honey, rose water, lime zest, nutmeg and cardamom. Beat well. Chop cashews coarsely and stir in together with the semolina and crystallised fruit. Turn into prepared tin and bake in a slow oven for

1 hour or until pale golden on top. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Do not use the skewer test, because if a skewer comes out clean it means the cake is overcooked by Sri Lankan standards. It will taste good, but there won’t be the moist centre which is typical of this confection. Leave cake in tin to cool. Cut into small squares to serve.

Kiri Pani
(Yogurt And Treacle)

This is the most traditional of Sri Lankan desserts. The buffalo milk yogurt which is set in eathenware pots, has a delicious layer of cream. It is always eaten with treacle (kitul pani ) which can be made by boiling down jaggery which can be bought in Sri Lankan shops. Greek yogurt made from ewe’s milk is an excellent subsitute.

(Preparation time 5 minutes. Cooking time 30 minutes)


  • 2 200g (7oz) cartons of yogurt
  • 225g (8oz) jaggery
  • ½ cup water.


1. In a heavy-bottomed pan bring the jaggery and the water slowly to the boil. The heat should be kept to a minimum until the jaggery has dissolved. Once the jaggery has dissolved bring it to the boil and allow to reduce until you have a thick pouring sauce. Strain into a sauceboat or jug and pour over the yogurt before serving.

Sri Lankan Christmas Cake

From Catherine S.

This cake combines traditional ingredients with exotic fruits and spices. In Sri Lanka, a marzipan made of cashewnuts is the only icing used, and the cake is served in small pieces which are individually wrapped in decorative paper. Eating this cake was the culunary highlight of my year and I used to sneak into the kitchen and taste it during its preparation. Using a food processor to chop the fruit and nuts tends to alter the texture of the cake and although it is time consuming, I would advise you to chop all the ingredients by hand.

(Preparation time 55 minutes. Cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes.)

Makes 2 cakes.


  • 50g (2 oz) candied peel
  • 100g (3.5oz) chow (without syrup)
  • 100g (3.5oz) stem ginger (without syrup)
  • 100g (3.5oz) raisins
  • 300g (10oz) sultanas
  • 125g (4oz) currants
  • 225g (8oz) candied ash pumpkin or crystalised pineapple
  • 225g (8oz) cashew nuts chopped
  • 50g (2oz) almonds chopped
  • 100g (3.5oz) glacé cherries
  • 3 tablespoonsful brandy
  • 3 tablespoonsful rose water triple strength
  • 2 tablespoonsful honey
  • 1 tablespoonsful vanilla
  • 1/2 a nutmeg grated
  • 2 teaspoonsful ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoonful ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoonful ground cloves
  • 225g (8oz) semolina
  • 225g (8 oz) butter at room temperature
  • 12 size 2 eggs
  • 400g (14 oz) soft brown sugar


1. Finely chop the fruit and the nuts (the first 10 ingredients). Put into a bowl together with the honey and essences (the brandy, rose water, vanila) and the spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves). Mix thoroughly and leave covered for 24 hours.

2. Double line 2 cake tins of diameter 20 cm (8″) with lightly- oiled greaseproof paper. Put the oven on to 140oC (275oF)

3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the semolina and the butter. Separate the eggs. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar until pale. Mix in the semolina. Add the fruit, a little at a time using a cutting motion, to make sure that the cake batter is thoroughly mixed in with the dried fruit. This movement provides a lot of wrist exercise!

4. Whisk half the egg whites until stiff. (The rest can be used for meringues.) Add 4 tablespoonsful of the egg whites and beat into cake mixture to slacken it. Fold the rest of the beaten egg whites and mix thoroughly. Put the cake mixture into the two tins and cook for about 1½ hours, or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Once cold prick the surfaces with a skewer and pour two tablespoonsful of brandy over each cake. Cover with foil, place in an airtight tin and leave for a week before icing.

Triple strength rosewater is available from chemists shops. In Sri Lanka the christmas cake is cut into pieces and individually wrapped and served during the festive season. The marzipan is made from ground cashew-nuts.


This is a Sri Lankan interpretation of a steamed egg custard. It is considered to be the King of puddings, and was served to the Queen Elizabeth 11 on one of her visits. Use only Sri Lankan Kitul Jaggery.

(Preparation time 15 minutes. Cooking time 1 hour)
(serves 6)


  • 150g (5 oz) creamed coconut
  • 225g (8 oz) jaggery
  • 5 eggs (size 4)
  • 1 teaspoonful grated nutmeg


1. Place jaggery in a pan with 50ml (2 fl oz) water. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the jaggery has dissolved. Dissolve the creamed coconut in 50 ml (2 fl oz ) of hot water and allow to cool. Beat the eggs and strain into a 1¼ litre (2 pint) bowl. Mix the jaggery and milk into the beaten eggs. Add grated nutmeg. Cover bowl with greaseproof paper. Steam in a pressure cooker or colander for 1 hour. Alternatively the mixture can be divided into 6 ramekin dishes and steamed covered for 20 minutes in a pan of simmering water.

[Jaggery is an unrefined brown sugar made from the sap of the toddy palm (Caryota urens). It is available in Sri Lankan shops in a ready-to-use form known as Kitul Treacle.]

Pudding of Dulya


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint (565 millilitres) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) fine bread crumbs
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) sugar
  • 4 level tablespoons jam (raspberry jam is really nice)


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Separate 3 of the eggs. Put the yolks in a bowl with the remaining whole egg and beat together. Add the milk, vanilla essence, bread crumbs, and 3 ounces (85 grams) of the sugar.

Put the jam on the bottom of a pie dish and spread it evenly. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the jam.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until set.
Whisk the remaining egg whites until stiff. You could use an electric whisk for this. Slowly add the remaining sugar until it is all mixed in. Pile this mixture on top of the pudding mixture, then bake in the oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the meringue is set and lightly browned.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Sago Pudding


  • 2 tablespoons Sago
  • 2 tablesp. sugar
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 2 or 3 eggs
  • lemon essence and a pinch of salt


Wash Sago and put into a saucepan with milk and cook until very thick. Add sugar & salt. Remove saucepan from the fire and when the contents have cooled a little, add yolks of eggs well beaten. Pour the mixture into a greased pie dish. Beat the egg whites into a stiff froth and put it into an icing bag. Pipe rosettes & cover the top of the pudding.

Another variation is, with a tea spoon put the beaten egg whites like small mounds or peaks on the pudding. Bake in a moderate oven (325 degrees F.) for about an hour until the egg whites look brown. Enjoy!!!

Jaggery Cake


  • 250 g. Rulang
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 4 Eggs (2 whites & 4 yolks)
  • 250 gr Butter
  • 100 g Jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 100 Cadjunuts (grated)
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk (optional) 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Bottle Rose Essence
  • 150 g. pumpkin preserve
  • 2 table spoon Bees Honey (or Imported Sugar syrup)


Grate Jaggery. Cut Pumpkin preserve and mix in the grated cadju and the brandy (3 table spoon) and leave aside. Roast ruling slightly and add butter and leave it aside.

Now beat the sugar and the yolks together then add the beaten egg whites. Then add the vanilla, Rose Essence and the spices. Then add the ruling mixture and the bees honey. Lastly add the Cadju mixture. If the mixture is too dry then add the milk.

Then pour this into a buttered baking tray and bake on a slow oven.

Tea Cake


  • 1 lb. butter (room temperature)
  • 1 lb granulated sugar
  • 1 lb. All-purpose flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup milk ( room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon butter extract


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10″x 10″ metal baking pan and dust with flour. In a bowl mix flour, baking soda and baking powder. Shift three times.

2. In a large bowl mix sugar and butter, high speed until creamy. About ten minutes. Add one egg a time to the mixture, beat for about 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add one tablespoon flour with one tablespoon milk at a time until all add to the mixture. Add vanilla extract and butter extract and beat few more minute. Do not forget to frequently scrap bowl with rubber spatula.

3. Pour the batter into pan place it in middle rack and bake 45 to 50 minutes. Insert toothpick in center of cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in pan few minute, then invert onto wire rake cool it completely before it icing the way you want.

* It is very important that every ingredient is in room temperature

Masoor Paak


  • 250g gram flour
  • 5oog sugar
  • 5oog ghee
  • half a cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardomom powder


Roast the gram flour till it is golden colour and aromatic. Make thick syrup with sugar add salt and cardomom. The syrup should be of thread consistency. It is the correct consistency of syrup that gives you a good masoor paak.

Now add the flour and ghee alternatively till both are used. Now you see bubbles forming in the mixture. Take it from fire and pour on to a tray and cut while it is hot. Now you get the famous bombay sweet Masoor paak.

Semolina and Jaggery Pudding



  • 600 ml milk
  • 70 gm semolina roasted
  • 200 gm grated jaggery
  • small piece cinamon stick
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 01 tbsp vanila essence
  • 70 gm sultana or raisins
  • 50 gm toasted cashew nuts crushed


1. Heat the milk and juggery in a gentle heat with the cinamon stick until jaggery is dissolved in the milk.

2. Add semolina little by little to the milk and stir well.

3. Let the mixture boil for 8-10 minutes stirring constantly till the mixture becomes thick and cook through.Remove from heat.

4. Mix in vanila essence salt nutmeg and sultana.

5. Transfer in to a serving dish, sprinkle with toasted nuts. Serve warm or chilled.

(sweet coconut balls)


  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 grated coconut
  • 1/2 lb. brown sugar
  • 1/4 lb. flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • frying oil
  • pinch of yellow powder


Mix Grated coconut, sugar, salt. Add a little water. Cook the mixture until thick. Add vanilla. Mix little flour to get sticky consistency. Make small balls with your palm.(just like you make cutlets)

Make a batter with the rest of the flour. Use 1/2 cup of milk or water to dissolve. Add a little salt and yellow powder to the batter.

Heat the oil. Dip the sweet coconut balls in the batter and deep fry until brown.

Puhul Dosi
Pumpkin Preserve)


  • 1 1/2 lb. white pumpkin (before peeling)
  • 1 lb. sugar
  • 1/2 wineglass rose-water
  • 1/4 pint water (1/2 cup)


Thinly peel the pumpkin. Prick the pumpkin well with a fork. Cut into two halves, then cut each half into about 12 pieces. Remove the seeds and pulp. The pumpkin pieces should weigh around 1 pound after peeling and removing seeds and pulp.

Prick each piece well again and squeeze water out from each piece, keeping the pumpkin pieces whole and not broken. Put the sugar and water into a preserving pan, boil and keep stirring till very thick. Then add the pumpkin pieces and boil again, constantly stirring. When the sugar syrup is very thick again, add the rose-water.

As the syrup thickens, reduce the heat and stir carefully so that all pieces are well coated with sugar. Take off of the fire and stir until the sugar crystalizes. Remove the pieces from the pan and place onto a sheet of wax paper and allow to cool. Store in a plastic zip-lock bag. ***Use this pumpkin for love cake or it is good just for eating as a candy.***



  • 1 pint milk
  • 1 tea cup anchor milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • little chopped cashewnuts
  • little cardamom powder


Mix milk powder and cornflour together. Add little milk to make a smooth batter. Then add the rest of the milk and sugar. Keep this on a slow fire and cook until the batter becomes thicker. Take off from the fire and add the cream. Pour it in to a bowl. Sprinkle cardamom powder and chopped nuts. Keep it in the refrigerator. Freeze overnight.

Aggala – Rasa Kavali


  • 1/4 measure kittul treacle
  • 1/2 measure roasted rice flour
  • salt
  • pepper


Reserve one-fourth of the roasted rice flour in a bowl to coat the aggala when ready.

In a saute pan, boil the treacle over medium heat until thickened. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from fire.

Add the roasted rice flour to the thickened treacle. Mix in well. Mixture should be a little bit sticky.

When mixture has cooled enough to handle, form into 3/4″-1″ diameter balls and coat with the remaining roasted rice flour.

Enjoy after a meal or at tea time.

(Coconut Stuffed Pancakes)

This is a very popular Sweet that is usually served with tea in the evening.

Serves 6.

For the Filling:


  • 1 1/2 cups grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup trickle (or 1/2 cup Brown sugar dissolved in 1/8 cup of water)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon seeds
  • dash of ground black pepper
  • Salt to Taste.


Heat the trickle in a heavy bottom pan. When it is boiling add the grated coconuts and the black pepper. Stir and cook under low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Add salt to taste and cool.

For the pancakes:


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup oil for frying


Place all ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and beat with a wire wisk until smooth. This batter can also be prepared in a blender or food processor.

Place a non-stick or cast iron skillet over low heat. When hot, add about 1/4 tsp oil and spread over the pan evenly. Pour two tbsp of batter into the pan. spread it quickly by tilting the pan. The pancake will set in a minute or so. Let it cook for a further minute, then carefully turn it over with a thin spatula, or toss it.Cook the otherside for about 1 minute(Brown spots should appear on both sides).

Spread 1 tbsp of filling on one side of the pancake and roll it up. Make the rest of the panckaes in the same way. Serve hot