Over a distinctly mediocre curry before Christmas, my friend Nuf mused that the next time we were out, we should try his local Sri Lankan restaurant. I was a bit sceptical until he revealed that noodles in the form of string hoppers or to use their Tamil name, idiyappam are a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine.
We finally got round to trying noodles Sri Lankan style, a couple of weeks ago but the subsequent write-up was in danger of becoming the world's longest blog post. That's why I've decided to cover some background information in this post.
As you can see from the top photo, string hoppers are noodle cakes, which can either be made out of rice flour or wheat flour. The noodle dough is pressed through a special sieve to form the cakes, which are then steamed. There are loads of recipes on the internet like this one from the blog, Sri Lanka Cooking.
String hoppers are popular throughout Sri Lanka and South India where they are served with curry as an alternative to rice or bread. They are also used in a variant of the renowned Sri Lankan street snack, kothu (usually made with roti). Pictured above is seafood kothu where string hoppers are chopped up and mixed on a griddle with egg, onions, chilli, and seafood.
So would the combo of string hoppers topped with a Sri Lankan curry be to my liking ? And would the kothu be as tasty as it looked ? All will be revealed in the next post. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from any readers who can provide more insight into string hoppers and their role in Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine.