A Sri Lankan-style breakfast is amongst the greatest meals this asbestos-tongued foodie has had the pleasure of meeting and eating. And, in my opinion, the undisputed stars of this Sri Lankan morning show are Sri Lankan egg hoppers.
Even in the morning Sri Lankan cuisine is fuelled by chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and black pepper. And while no two breakfasts are ever the same, you can expect, at the very least, fragrant curries and dahls served with fluffy bowls of red heirloom rice or coconutty milk rice, a selection of sambols and chutneys and crispy roti and the ubiquitous hopper.
Hoppers come in a variety of styles. There’s the very popular idiyappam (string hoppers), a steamed lacy noodle pancake made from a hot-water dough of red or white rice meal. And then there’s appam, deep basket-like pancakes made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk.
On my recent travels to extraordinary Sri Lanka, my favourite version of these were hoppers topped with a fried egg and a generous dollop of sweet spicy Sri Lankan seeni sambol (a sweet, sour and spicy onion relish). In fact, I may have devoured my body weight in them and have been craving them every since.
Keen to introduce the family to the wonders of Sri Lankan egg hoppers, I decided to see if I could recreate the bowl-shaped breakfast beauties at home. I brought a couple of hopper pans back with me from Sri Lanka (you can purchase them online, though at a pinch you could use a small non-stick wok with a fitted lid) and after discovering no two hopper recipes appear to be the same, experimented with a hopper mixture until I managed to get it just the right lacy and crisp, yet slightly steamed texture.
The whole family are so hooked, Sri Lankan egg hoppers are now on the menu most weekends at Casa Eats World.