70 Min


Almost all of Asia was a victim of colonialism and Sri Lanka was no different. The Portuguese ruled Sri Lanka for 150 years, followed by the Dutch, who were there for 138 years but many of their descendants stayed on in this prosperous land. In true Dutch tradition, they brought recipes laden with eggs and butter but in this spice-drenched land, the recipes took on new flavors with the addition of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Lamprais (pronounced lamp-rice), is to Sri Lanka what biryani is to India, a decadent meat and rice dish. The name is derived from lomprijst (meaning rice packet) and it is truly a feast of rice, curries, pickles and sambals and more wrapped up in a tidy banana leaf package. You can go as elaborate as you like. Here we used the Kukul mas and ghee rice as a base and served the eggplant pickle and boiled eggs next to it. The ghee rice is made with brown basmati giving it a great deal of texture. The banana leaf packets can be made ahead and just baked off when ready to eat. A true Lamprais has several meat curries including frikkadels (fried meatballs) but this is a much simpler way to go.
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Cook Time

70 Minutes



Step 1
Warm the banana leaves over a hot flame to soften them. Cut into 4 large squares, roughly 10 to 12 inches square.
Step 2
Inside each packet, place one piece of chicken with some sauce and the ghee rice nestled right next to it. Wrap the banana leaf over it and fold again to make it into a packet. Place the packet cut side down on a baking pan. Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces and rice. This can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
Step 3
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover the pan with the banana leaf packets tightly with foil. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Let the tray rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4
To serve, on each plate, open the banana leaf packet and serve with boiled eggs, pol sambal, eggplant pickle, slices of radish and mango and lime wedges.
4 chicken thigh (kukul mas) with some curry
4 cups of Ghee rice
2 large banana leaves
A few tablespoons of eggplant pickle
6 soft boiled eggs, cut into halves
4 tablespoons of pol sambal
Slices of radish and mango
Lime wedges

Notes & Variations

  • This dish can be made in so many ways – use meatballs or a beef curry instead of chicken. Or make an entirely vegetarian lamprais with a squash or cauliflower curry.
  • Once the banana leaf packages have been made, they can be refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days and can go straight from refrigerator to the oven.
70 Min

Ready to go all in?

Below are the recipes for the specific ingredients called for in the Lamprais. Enjoy!