Vegan breakfasts in Sri Lanka

By Ama H.Vanniarachchy

Vegan food recipes are known to be expensive, difficult to prepare, and rare to find, in today’s urban food market. Vegan food has become a trend. However, this trend has separated Vegan food from the ideology of Veganism. This is the very reason that vegan food is labeled to be expensive as those foods are prepared to satisfy the taste buds of those who still crave the taste of meat in vegan food. Hence, vegan food in urban restaurants is prepared to match the taste of non-veg foods, completely going against the ideology of veganism. 

However, as we presented to you last week, Vegan Food is not difficult nor is it expensive if you are in Sri Lanka. These traditional Sri Lankan foods are purely vegan and stick to the ideology of veganism; plant-based, minimalism, animal-cruelty-free food, and lifestyle.

The traditional foods of Sri Lankans are mostly vegan as the traditional food of the Sinhalese and the Tamils of Sri Lanka are prepared mostly with coconut milk, water, and consists of rice and vegetables. Their snacks, desserts, and drinks are also mostly vegan. The oils they use are coconut oil or sesame oil. 

Today we will present to you ideas for a traditional vegan breakfast that you can prepare at home. These breakfast foods are delicious and nutritious. These are not instant food and you will have to add a little bit of love, care, and time into the preparation. 

Joining us today to enlighten us about the traditional vegan breakfast of Southern Sri Lanka is Nimala Wickramasinghe, who is originally from Matara.

As she would explain, rice is eaten thrice a day and herbal drinks are consumed in the evening with a homemade sweetmeat or snack. The three main meals, snacks, sweets, and beverages are prepared with rice, jackfruit, breadfruit, coconut, kithul treacle, kithul jaggery, various yams, and grains. 


One of the most famous breakfasts is diyabth, she said. Diyabath is made of rice from the previous night’s meal. The leftover rice of the clay pot is left with water overnight. In the morning, coconut milk, curry leaf, red onions, salt, and green chili are added. 

Usually, many people eat red rice and pol sambol for breakfast. 

Red rice with coconut milk curry (kiri hodi).

Red rice and tomato curry.

Olu bath is olu seeds and rice cooked together. Olu seeds are cleaned and washed. Then it is boiled and while it is boiling coconut, salt is added. This is eaten with a katta sambol. Some people eat it with lunu miris. 

Imbul kiribath – milk rice cooked with coconut and kithul treacle. 

Milk rice with tempered potatoes is eaten by some in Matara. Milk rice is also eaten with ‘game achcharu’ (local village pickle. This is different from Malay pickle).

Mun kiri bath – milk rice prepared with mung beans cooked with it. 


Some people eat porridge for breakfast instead of rice. 

Pol kiri kanda (a porridge made with coconut milk) and eaten with kithul jaggery. This is a very delicious and filling breakfast. 

Thana hal kanda – this is a porridge made of foxtail millet.

Kithul piti kanda – porridge made of kithul flour

Rathu kudu kanda – porridge made of red rice. These rice are called rathu kudu as the red powder of the rice is mixed with sun sahal, added coconut milk and kithul treacle or jaggery. (The red power is a result of pounding the rice).

Monarakudumbiya (Vernonia cinerea) and undupiyaliya (Creeping tick trefoil) kanda – this can be made together or separately. 


Coconut roti known as pol roti is eaten with katta sambol or seeni sambol

String Hoppers – eaten with kaha mallum (a type of coconut sambol).

Hoppers – eaten with lunu miris


There are a large number of yams eaten for breakfast by Sri Lankans. These are naturally grown in the home garden. They are cleaned, boiled and eaten with scraped coconut and lunu miris. 

Hulan keeriya ala




Kondol ala (purple and white)

Jackfruit and breadfruit are also common breakfast foods. Breadfruit is boiled and eaten with lunu miris and scraped coconut. 


Curd and kithul treacle (Please note that curd is not vegan as it is made out of Buffalo milk. Curd is a very famous and loved dessert in Sri Lanka.)

Kalu pittu (kurakkan pittu) coconut and wood apple juice (divul kiri).

Wood Apple juice is also eaten with red rice and coconut. 

Kalu pittu or kurakkan pittu can be eaten with kithul treacle and scraped coconut.

Veralu, also known as the Ceylon olive, is a common and delicious fruit in Sri Lanka. The flesh of ripe fruits is mixed with scraped coconut, sugar and salt and made into a thick paste. 


Delicious snacks are made of jackfruit and breadfruit. They are boiled, strained, and dried well. This drying process is continued for several days and they are kept in the atuwa in the kitchen. Hence they are called atu kos and del. 

Another snack is made with jackfruit, kithul jaggery, and coconut. These are mixed together and made into small balls (guli). 

Jackfruit pieces are also fried and eaten with kithul jaggery. 

Evening drinks

Herbal drinks made of belimal, ranawara are consumed with kithul jaggery.

A drink made of the kirala (mangrove apple) fruit juice had been common in Matara a few decades ago. 

Information courtesy Nimala Wickramasinghe

Breadfruit isolated cut out on white background

Uncategorized, Sri Lankan culture, Sri Lankan food, Vegan food