Spices and Herbs


Botanical name – Coriandrum sativum
Sinhala name     – Koththamalli
Largely use for curries. This is an essential ingredient for curry powder. Use unroasted for white curry. Lightly dry roasted for the black curry. When lightly dry roasted it gives a special aroma.


Botanical name – Cuminum cyminum
Sinhala name     – Suduru
This is an essential ingredient for curry powder. Use either unroasted, roasted or added to hot oil for the best flavor and aroma.


Fennel – also known as sweet cumin
suduru sweet
Botanical name – Foeniculum vulgare
Sinhala name     – Maduru
This is essential for making curry powder. It has little sweetish flavor.


Botanical name – Cinnamomum zeylanicu
Sinhala name   – Kurundu
This is a warm, sweet aromatic spice. Available as a curled stick or as ground powder. It is used for both savory and sweet dishes.



Botanical name – Elettaria cardamomum
Sinhala name   – Karandamungu
There are two types: small green type and large brown type. For the curries it’s used with the husk. But some sweet dishes it’s used only the seeds grounded. This has a highly aromatic flavor.


Botanical name – Syzygium aromaticum
Sinhala name     – Karabu Nati
This is an aromatic spice and is used either whole or ground. This is also used for both savory and sweet dishes.


Fenugreek Seeds

Botanical name – Trigonella foenum-graecum
Sinhala name     – Ulu hal
They are small and light brown in colour. This tastes bitter and is used in small amounts in curries. It’s especially added to the kiri hodi and white curries.


Botanical name – Curcuma longa
Sinhala name   – Kaha
This belongs to the ginger family. When it is fresh it’s orange in color. Mostly use dried and grounded to a powder. It is mainly used in every curry and is also used as an antiseptic.

Botanical name –  Piper nigrum
Sinhala name     – Gammiris
This is a spice, which strengthens the food flavor without making them hot. The white pepper is less pungent than the black pepper. Mainly used for seasoning with salt.


Botanical name – Myristica Fragrans
Sinhala name   – Sadikka

Botanical name – Garcinia cambogia
Sinhala name     – Goraka
Orange fruit divided into segments. When dried segments are black and used as a souring agent. Tamarind can be used as a substitute if Goraka is not available. Mainly used for fish dishes.

Botanical name – Tamarindus indica
Sinhala name – Siyambala
An Acid tasting fruit. Used as a souring agent for meats.

6 thoughts on “Spices and Herbs

  1. Dear Anoma,
    First of all I must state that I do enjoy watching your recipes & even looking at you demonstrate these lovely recipes with a geniun smile.Let me tell you how I happened to see your site I was searching for Sri lanka recipes for baked cutlets & this is how I saw your page for which I am very thankful.
    I am a Sri Lankan at birth but my moves to Sweden many many years ago (that’s another saga)
    I too love to cook am must admit I too am very concerned with good house keeping, cleandiness to name a few.At times friends think Iam crazy with cleandiness.
    Iam so glad that I was able to read & follow your recipes in English since my Singala is horrible, now my son who loves cooking SL food too can follow your superb recipeswhich Iam very thankful to you.
    Finally may I ask you for a recipe for baked patties, love cake & rich cake.
    Wishing you God’s strength in helping others with your gift of cooking.
    Gods blessings!

  2. Hi,. I do enjoy watching your recipe .and I live in USA . Thank you very much for your kitchen tips . And also your baking tips video is really helpful . Now I’ve learned more tips about East, baking powder and baking soda . Thank you.

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