Paddy Island Cooking ClassBack
Sri Lankan cuisine is one of the most complex cuisines of South Asia. Due to its proximity to South India, Sri Lankan food has some similarities to Indian cooking, yet is in many ways quite distinct. As a major trade hub, the cuisine also draws from a multitude of international influence. Foreign merchants and colonial powers all brought their own recipes and ingredients with them and many were incorporated into the dishes seen today. Rice, which is consumed daily, can be found at any occasion, while spicy curries are favorite dishes for lunch and dinner. There are many different ethnic groups living within Sri Lanka, each with their own individual take on Lankan cuisine. Sinhalese cooking techniques are most prevalent in the south of the island and, broadly speaking, the cuisine relies heavily on the core ingredients of coconut, vegetables, rice, fresh chillis, spices, and curry leaves, all of which grow in abundance on this part of the island. Spend the day learning how to cook a traditional Sinhalese meal at a beautiful private paddy island just north of Galle.
This experience is run by host chefs who will pick you up bright and early in the morning and take you to the local markets where you will get an introduction to some lesser known ingredients such as bitter gourd, wing beans and gotukola. Just next door are the spice markets, where giant buckets are brimming full of tumeric, cinnamon, curry powder and a kaleidoscope range of Sri Lanka’s staple spices. After this you will take a short drive to the fish markets which border the ocean. Here, tempered by a fresh salty breeze and the alluring backdrop of the Indian Ocean, the fishermen gather daily to sell their catch of the day. From the chaos of the markets you will then make your way to one of the most serene areas in Galle to begin cooking. The Paddy Island is a private property with an open-air dining area and kitchen set in the middle of several rice paddies. During the summer months, these paddies glow emerald green and the scenery is lush and dense with flowers and plants. The preparation and cooking of lunch is done in the outside kitchens by two village locals and the chefs. You will have the opportunity to scrape coconuts in the traditional manner, prepare the vegetables, and learn the secrets to making popular curries and side-dishes such as chicken curry, dahl, fish balls and coconut sambol. Once the cooking is finished a leisurely lunch is served in the dining area with panoramic views over the rice paddy. Afterwards you can lounge around and enjoy the views of the paddy island with its lotus pond, large variety of bird life and surrounding rice fields.