Lamprais is probably the most significant and sought-after remnant from the Dutch colonization days in Sri Lanka. The term ‘lamprais’ which loosely translates to a packet of lumped rice is an amalgam of very specific side dishes and delightfully flavourful rice. This is then wrapped in banana leaves and baked in a warm oven for a few minutes until the aroma of the banana leaves infuses into the rice. And let us assure you, there isn’t an aroma that will whet the Lankan appetite as much as that of a lamprais.
While a packet of lamprais can unite Sri Lankan food lovers in a jiffy, it is also a dish that is hotly debated for its authenticity. Over the years, the most authentic recipe has been modified to cater to the masses by substituting the meats (a mix of beef, pork & lamb) with simply chicken. The beef frikkadels were replaced by tuna cutlets and twice-cooked eggs were added and so on.
Making lamprais is most definitely not an easy feat. Not because of its complexity, but because of the many components that need to be prepared. In order to make things easier, we usually plan ahead and make a few of the side dishes ahead of time. This actually helps the flavors mingle and intensify.