9 Most Popular Sri Lankan Sauces

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By dina

Sri Lanka is situated in the Indian Ocean near the southern part of India. It is a tropical island with a strong culinary tradition developed by the lavish access to spices and herbs.

The Sri Lankan condiments and spice mixtures are made to complement different types of curries, sambal and countless Sri Lankan rice and starch dishes.

So before we explore the most popular Sri Lankan Sauces, let us first talk about the most widely used condiments and spices in preparing the country’s mouth-watering and delicious dishes, as well as in preparing its popular sauces.


Let us take a look at the various factors that make Sri Lankan cuisines and sauces irresistible.

Lemon Grass

Roots of the lemon grass are usually used to add fragrance to curry powder mixtures, meat, and fish curries.

Pandan Leaves or Rampa

This herb is needed for curries and rice preparations, and usually used to deepen any dishes’ flavor. 


Coriander is the main ingredient in producing curry powders in Sri Lanka.  Its leaves are also used in salads and sambal.

Cumin Seeds

These seeds are versatile ingredients used in different Sri Lankan foods. It adds flavor to soups and broths, as well as in baked foods. Cumin seeds are also used in making curry powders.


This herb is not only used as a traditional medicine, but also a prominent ingredient in various cuisines. Also called as curcumin, this natural herb gives curries a peppery fragrance and a golden yellow color. 


Ginger is a widely used condiment in Sri Lankan cooking. The fresh ginger roots are used in meat-based curries and stir-fries, while ginger paste and ground ginger are used in making sweets and in baking.

Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true Cinnamon, is also an essential ingredient in making different types of curry powder and pastes. It is often used along with seafood, meat, and vegetables. 

Its subtle and sweet flavor does not overwhelm other ingredients’ taste as it has a very low coumadin level.

Ceylon Clove

Ceylon Clove deepens the flavor and aroma of the dish. It has a bitter, sweet, and astringent flavor that can perfectly complement meat, fish, and seafood dishes. It also pairs well with sweetmeats, desserts, and flavored rice. 

Ceylon Pepper

Is one of the essential ingredients used in both local and global culinary. It is a good source of piperine that offers a strong flavor to any dish. This condiment is also used in preparing fish, seafood, and meat dishes. It is also one of the condiments used in making pickles, sambal, and sauces.

Ceylon Cardamom

Ceylon is a widely used ingredient in Sri Lankan spice mixtures and sauces. This expensive ingredient adds aroma and sweet smoke flavor to various Sri Lankan dishes including desserts, spices, tea, and beverages.

Black Mustard

Black mustard is one of the staple spices in Sri Lanka. Both brassica nigra (black mustard) seeds and powder are used in tempered dishes, pickles, sambal, stir-fries, and one of the famous dishes in Sri Lanka — the curries.

This condiment adds extra delight to any dish.

Nutmeg and Mace

These spices come from the same fruit and tree, but have an individual and unique flavor. Thus, they are used in different cuisines in Sri Lanka. 

Nutmeg and mace have a spicy and sweet flavor and go well with puddings, baked goods, beverages, and confectionaries. 

Nutmeg is mixed with savory spices like curry powder and garam masala, and is often used with sweet desserts and Indian meats.

Dried or preserved mace is used as a condiment while fresh mace is used to make marmalade, jelly, and jam.
So these are some of the many spices and condiments you can find in Sri Lanka that are being used in the culinary field.

And now, let us move on to the different types of Sri Lankan sauces.


Majority of the Sri Lankan cuisine is seasoned with aromatic condiments and spices that will surely entice everyone’s appetite. Thus, Sri Lanka has so much to offer when it comes to food. 

Today, we will talk about the well-known sauces in Sri Lanka. Not just the ordinary dipping sauces, but the sauces of various Sri Lankan curries and some South Indian food.


Kola Kenda is a super wholesome herbal porridge usually served during breakfast. It is made with different herbs and leafy greens, coconut milk, and a handful of precooked rice. 

Aside from being a super food in Sri Lankan cooking, this healthy herbal congee can help prevent or cure diseases. In fact, this soup dish is used by traditional medical practitioners. 


Curd with palm treacle is a naturally fermented buffalo milk with a yogurt-like texture and a mildly sour flavor. This Sri Lankan food comes in clay pots, and is full of nutrients and rich in healthy fats. 

Its sauce is made of a creamy curd called meekiri (usually made from buffalo milk). The dish is sprinkled with sweet treacle, also known as kithul peni (made from toddy palm or sap of the fishtail).

Curd with palm treacle is available in most supermarkets in Sri Lanka.


Polos is a vegan Sri Lankan curry that is full of nutrients and fiber. This curry consists of young jackfruit and different Sri Lankan spices like roasted curry powder, turmeric, tamarind juice, red chili powder, cinnamon, and cardamom.

The ingredients and spices are then mixed with coconut milk to create an aromatic sauce along with the soft and tender jackfruit.

Definitely one of the curry dishes Sri Lankans love. Best served with steamed rice.


Kiri Kos is a Sri Lankan curry that is made from a mature jackfruit. Unlike polos (made from young jackfruit), this Sri Lankan curry uses a lesser amount of chili and spices. 

Its curry gravy has a creamy texture as it is blended with coconut milk and spices.

The ingredients of this Sri Lankan food includes ceylon unroasted curry powder, turmeric powder, fenugreek seeds, red chili powder, red onions, black pepper corn, green chillies, curry leaves, pandan leaves, cinnamon stick, garlic, and coconut milk.


Sri Lankan crab curry is definitely a must-try dish in Sri Lanka.  This dish is made with a tenderly cooked crab and a spicy creamy sauce. 

This curry is a bit pricey compared to chicken curry, but is definitely worth the price because of its delectable and savory flavor.

This curry dish is usually made of lagoon crab curry, mud crab, rice-coconut mix, raw white rice, freshly grated coconut meat or shredded coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, unroasted curry powder, chili powder, tamarind paste, fresh green or red chillies, curry leaf, pandan leaves, coconut milk, coriander seeds, cumin seed, mustard seed, fennel seeds, and black peppercorns.

This dish goes well with rice, string hoppers, bread, and pittu.


As the  name suggests, cashew curry is made from cashew nuts, and is an all-time favorite of most Sri Lankans.

Kaju curry has a mild and soft crunch creamy texture. 

This rich and creamy delight from Sri Lanka is made of unsalted and roasted cashew nuts, spices like turmeric, cumin powder, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, chili powder, coriander, and paprika.

To add fragrance and flavor to the final sauce, aromatics such as shallots or onion, coconut oil, star anise, fennel seeds, and fresh curry leaves are added.

To balance the spices and create a sweet creamy flavor, coconut milk is being added to the dish. If not available, this ingredient can be substituted with coconut cream.


Chicken curry is a classic curry dish usually marinated with goraka or vinegar, and various spices. The chicken meat is stir fried and cooked in a creamy relish of coconut milk. 

The curry base is usually made with garlic, ginger, onions, dry red chillies, curry leaves, coconut milk, oil, and turmeric powder.

Chicken curry is one of the best dishes Sri Lankans love.


Parippu is the most common curry in Sri Lanka. It is a staple food in the country aside from the Sri Lankans most requested dishes such as pol roti, nasi goreng, vegetable roti, fried rice and fried egg (Sri Lankan omelet), coconut roti.

Its creamy curry sauce is made with lentils, chilies, and tomatoes.

This Sri Lanka food is ideal for breakfast served with roti canai.


Known as one of the most delicious ways of cooking fish, this food in Sri Lanka has a unique taste, and is easy to prepare. 

The dish is made with goraka and black pepper that naturally preserve the fish without freezing or refrigerating for a span of one week.

The slices of fish (either maldive fish or tuna) are simmered in a mixture of different spices such as curry leaves, pandan leaf, garlic, black pepper, and turmeric until it becomes a thick sauce. 

Fish curry is best served with steamed white or yellow rice.

And that’s all about Sri Lanka’s popular sauces. I hope this information has helped you one way or another. Please show us your support by post.

Thank you for reading!

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