March 2018


Ceylon Parotta
March 2018




Relish a plate of mouth-watering parottas for breakfast or dinner

A spicy Sri Lankan rotti that is tingling taste buds across the Palk Strait.


Words: Keshini de Silva
Photography: Gugan L


Parotta is a central part of Sri Lanka street food. Whether it's parotta eaten with curry, enveloped with an egg or chopped into a spicy kottu with vegetables, it is a favourite go to dish in the island. Interestingly, this unassuming yet tasty flaky-flat rotti travelled across waters to South India years, possibly even centuries ago, and has today earned a name in the South Indian street food scene.


It is believed that the Ceylon Parotta came to be, when years ago, Sri Lankans who settled in India for work introduced it to their neighbours. They probably did so when the island was known as ‘Ceylon', hence the name. Sometimes pronounced ‘Barotta', the love for this melt-in-the-mouth rotti has since grown. Trickling with various influences, the Ceylon Parotta is distinctive to South India, especially served in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


Although the Ceylon Parotta, bears resemblance to its relatives in Sri Lanka in taste, texture and features, it has adapted to the South Indian palate. Other than being folded and multilayered the parotta is unique to other variants in South India because of the spicy filling. Mostly vegetable and at times either seafood or mutton fillings are used. Oozing with coriander, fenugreek and cummin flavours, the savoury vegetable mix is truly Indian. Paneer curry is also a popular pairing.

Parotta is a central part of Sri Lanka street food. Whether it’s parotta eaten with curry, enveloped with an egg or chopped into a spicy kottu with vegetables, it is a favourite go to dish in the island.


Part of the excitement is watching the parotta being made by the master street food chefs. The oil and flour dough is kneaded and tossed in the air, almost like a pizza. It is pulled and stretched and then spread onto the hot iron plate in a circular shape. The filling is enveloped and the circle becomes a square. Served hot, the mouth-watering aromas will be hard to resist. Although the piping hot curry will be red in colour and seeping with spices, the Ceylon Parotta won't be as hot, making it enjoyable even for those who don't have a high tolerance for chilli.


Another much-loved way to eat the parotta in India is in the typical Sri Lanka way. The flaky parottas and curry served separately.


While you can try making your own Ceylon Parotta at home, the best way to experience the Ceylon Parotta is on the streets of South India. For breakfast or dinner, order yourself a Ceylon Parotta and a cup of sweet tea; it will be sensational and truly one-of-a-kind culinary adventure. It is a simple yet spicy and flavoursome dish that will definitely make you come back for more!

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    Tomatoes, onions and eggs are finely mixed for the preparation of egg parotta

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    Vegetable, seafood or mutton fillings are placed before enveloping the parotta

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    Parotta stuffed with spicy fillings offer an unbeatable taste

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