Lamprais (Lump Rice)
Lamprais is probably the most significant and sough 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 a 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 infuse into the Rice. And let me assure you, there isn’t an aroma that will whet the Lankan appetite as much as that of a lamprais.
- 500g suduru samba rice
- 6 cups boiling water
- 50g ghee or Butter
- 2 chicken stock cubes
- Spice bundle (2 tbs whole Cardamom, Cloves, Black Pepper, star anise and 2 bay leaves wrapped in muslin)
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 dried limes
- 2 Onion, chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbs Ginger root, chopped
- 2 Lemon Grass, chopped
- 1 piece rampa (Pandan Leaves)
- Pinch of saffron
- Banana leaves (for the parcel) (available from Asian groceries)
Heat the ghee or butter in a pan, add the garlic, ginger and onion and cook 4-5 minutes until the fragrance comes out. Then add the rice and mix well. Add the water, stock cubes, spice bunch and saffron. Cover and simmer until the rice is cooked. When cooked, remove the spice bundle.
- 3 tbs crushed chilli
- 100g dried skinless shrimps (roasted)
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tbs ginger root, roughly chopped
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs lime juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
Deep-fried Boiled Eggs
Boil eggs for 8 minutes, remove the shells and deep fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.
- Heat the oil in a pan, put all the ingredients in together and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down. Pound together, and add sugar, lime and salt. Check the seasoning and keep on one side.
To assemble the rice parcels, soften the banana leaves over a flame. Arrange two leaves one across the other in a shallow bowl and put three serving spoons of steamed rice in the centre. Arrange some of the three meat curry, deep-fried boiled egg, shrimp belacan and two tuna balls around the rice (see picture at the top of this post). Fold the banana leaves over the filling to enclose then secure with toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. When you are ready to serve, heat the oven to 170*. Place the parcels on a baking tray, making sure the opening is at the top. Bake for 12 minutes until the banana leaves start to turn brown. Remove from the oven, place a parcel on a plate and let your guests open them at the table – savouring the delicious aromas!