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For the Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Meat Curry:

  • 1 lb (450g) crysbro chicken,cut into bite-sized pieces (you can also use a combination)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Sri Lankan curry powder (or regular curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste

For the Accompaniments:

  • Hard-boiled eggs (1-2 per person)
  • Fried eggplant slices
  • Fried ash plantain (or banana) slices
  • Fried shrimp paste (optional)
  • Sambal (spicy chili paste)


  • Banana leaves (cut into rectangles, about 8-10 inches)
  • Aluminum foil


  1. Preparing the Rice:

    • In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the washed basmati rice, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, and salt.
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer the rice until it’s cooked and fluffy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Making the Meat Curry:

    • In a separate pan or skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it turns golden brown.
    • Add the minced garlic and ginger, stirring for another minute until fragrant.
    • Add the meat pieces and cook until they’re browned on all sides.
    • Stir in the Sri Lankan curry powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, ground black pepper, and salt. Cook the spices for a couple of minutes until aromatic.
    • Pour in the thick coconut milk and tomato paste. Mix well, cover the pan, and simmer until the meat is tender and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  3. Assembling the Lamprais:

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Take a piece of banana leaf and lightly heat it over an open flame (or dip it briefly in hot water) to make it flexible and easier to fold.
    • Place a scoop of cooked rice in the center of the leaf. Add a portion of the meat curry on top of the rice.
    • Arrange the accompaniments such as hard-boiled eggs, fried eggplant, fried ash plantain, and optional shrimp paste on top of the rice and meat.
    • Carefully fold the banana leaf to form a neat parcel, tucking in the edges to enclose the contents.
    • Wrap the parcel in aluminum foil to secure it.
  4. Baking the Lamprais:

    • Place the wrapped parcels on a baking tray and bake them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.
    • Remove the parcels from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving.
  5. Serving:

    • Unwrap the banana leaf parcels just before serving.
    • Serve the aromatic lamprais on a plate, allowing diners to unwrap the individual parcels themselves.
    • Enjoy the flavorful combination of rice, meat curry, and accompaniments.

Note: Lamprais is a versatile dish, and you can adjust the meat, spices, and accompaniments according to your preferences. The banana leaf imparts a unique flavor to the dish, but if unavailable, you can use parchment paper or foil.

Nethmi Rodrigo

Nethmi Rodrigo

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