It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s vegetarian, it is, really whatever you want it to be. Kottu is the food of Sri Lanka, and you would be crazy to leave without taking a bite. Also known as kothu or koththu Roti, this dish is made primarily of Godhamba roti, spices and fried vegetables, with optional add-on ingredients of egg, meat, fish and cheese.
Religious beliefs cause dietary restrictions to vary wildly throughout the city. Muslims often do not eat pork, Hindus often do not eat beef, and Buddhists sometimes stick to vegetarian diets. With its easy customisation, it is easy to see why this dish has become so popular throughout the country.
Kottu is “the classic Sri Lankan comfort food,” according to Rukmankan Sivaloganathan, the co-owner and director of Kottuville – the country’s iconic kottu food truck. In his interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Sivaloganathan continued, “Everyone in Sri Lanka eats kottu – it’s the most egalitarian dish in the country.”
While several restaurants and food trucks now serve kottu to hungry tourists and locals alike every day, the most authentic experience of kottu happens at home. This dish rose to popularity in the 1970s as a fusion of Muslim and Tamil cuisines. The name literally means “chopped roti” in Tamil. It has only been in recent years that restaurants have opened to serve middle- and upper-class tourists and locals.
If you are looking to try the recipe before you jet off to Sri Lanka, here is a list of instructions. பான் ஆப்பீட் (Bon appetit)!
Prepare a curry with the meat of your choice (This recipe features chicken, but beef or lamb would also work well).
Cook your roti by frying them with no oil in the pan for 1-2 minutes on each side till golden. Slice roti rounds into squares.
In a separate pan, stir fry your onion, garlic, chili, spring onion and carrots for a few minutes until the onion has softened slightly. Add the spices.
Move the vegetables to one side of your pan and use the other side to scramble the eggs.
Mix in your curry meat and a bit of gravy.
Add the chopped roti and toss for a few minutes until everything is well combined.
Season with salt and pepper to your liking and sprinkle with lime juice. Enjoy!
It’s hard to focus on safety while dreaming about kottu, but if you are taking a trip overseas it is important to remember travel health insurance. From sanitary conditions to strange ingredients, there are hidden dangers when exploring new locations. Book your insurance through Cover-More Travel Insurance and have the peace of mind to explore on your holiday.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Dennis S Hurd.