Lamprais is a Sri Lankan delicacy. It is a meal of rice and curries cooked and then wrapped in banana leaves and baked.
Origins of Lampreis or Lomprijst
Some point to Indonesia as the origins of Lamprais. Apparently, the Dutch colonizers saw farmers in Java taking their rice and curries (it is of course a question how common were curries as we know them now in Indonesia at that time) wrapped in banana leaf so that they just had to open it wherever it was possible to consume.
They brought it to the Netherlands where it underwent some customization. It was called lomprijst (‘packet of rice’ in Dutch?)
Sri Lanka was ruled by the Dutch between between the 17th and 18th centuries and they introduced it to the island nation.
In Sri Lanka, it was adapted further.
Today, a typical lamprais packet usually consists of the following:
- Rice (usually samba rice)
- Different varieties of meat (goat, beef and/or pork)
- Dhal curry
- Eggplant pieces sauteed in a special mixture
- Green beans sauteed (some use curry plantains instead)
- Dried anchovies sauteed (some use ‘seeni sambal’ which is onions sauteed with spices including dried red chillies)
- Boiled egg
In a banana leaf, the rice is first served and then the various dishes in smaller portions around the edges (I try to place them based on their color as well, as the color contrasts give a more exciting look to the meal). The egg can be placed in the middle. A little bit of coconut milk is poured over the meal and the packet is tightly wrapped and baked.