310 - Say goodbye to bland

By Lauren Gosnell

I grew up eating meat and potatoes in an as Canadian a family as they come. Spicy food was not my friend. In fact, I objected to eating my dad’s spicy spaghetti and always opted for mac and cheese instead.

My taste buds have come a long way, but I’m still a little apprehensive when it comes to trying spicy food. Needless to say, my assignment to try out Sri Lankan cuisine at the Hopper Hut was going to be a challenge

Sri Lankan food is as spicy as it gets.

Its curries are several degrees hotter than Indian curries. The difference is in the cooking process. Sri Lankan spices are pan-roasted dry with chilies until they are dark, bringing out different flavour patterns in the spices.

The aroma in a Sri Lankan kitchen itself is powerful and enticing.

Cautiously, I braved the fiery flavours of Sri Lanka and tried kotthu roti – a hash like mix of onions, curry, eggs, shredded roti bread with beef, mutton or chicken, and of course, chillies. I was surprised to find that the intense flavour of the dish was remarkably tasty. I ate as much as I could until I couldn’t handle the heat anymore; a whole three spoonfuls!

My interest in Sri Lankan cuisine was definitely piqued.

Next up, the lamprais. Also known as the banana leaf dish - rice and several different curries are steamed in a banana leaf.

Lamprais

I tried the vegetarian lamprais, which included curried lentils and beans.

The first bite of this tasty dish was an easy one: some rice, a bit of curry, no problem.

But the more I ate, the more the spice intensified, building up with each bite. I had to admit defeat.

Lucky for me, the Hopper Hut is the right place to try Sri Lanka’s famous hoppers.

This plain crêpe-like dish is the perfect thing to balance out the spices that are dancing on my tongue.

The bowl-shaped hoppers come in milk, plain or egg styles. The batter is made from fermented rice flour with a little bit of coconut milk.

Hopper

Expertly swirled in a round iron pan, the hopper is a crêpe with a little more weight in the middle and delicate lacy walls. It's especially popular for breakfast. This mild dish was exactly what my taste buds were craving!

The Hopper Hut was an eye-opening experience. I may not have the best tolerance for chilies, but I can still enjoy a little spicy Sri Lankan now and then - especially with a few hoppers on the side.

The Hopper Hut
880 Ellesmere Rd. Unit 2
Scarborough, Ontario
(416) 299-4311