Kottu: The Ultimate Sri Lankan Street Food Delight

Kottu or Kottu roti consists of shredded pieces of flatbread tossed in a flavorful gravy and most definitely occupies the leading place among the street food preferences of almost all Sri Lankans. This is our ultimate comfort food, as well as the food that we would simply order when it ‘does not feel like cooking’.

Although it does not have a longer History, Kottu is originally from Sri Lanka. It is said to be introduced by the local Tamil folks in Batticaloa, a city on the eastern part of the island, in the early 70s.

The flatbread is called Godamba roti, and it is apparently a replication of Paratha or Canai roti from India. The dough is a simple combination of Wheat flour, Coconut oil, salt, and water, yet quite capable of adding a delightfully chewy texture to Kottu. Godamba roti are shredded into bite-sized pieces and stir-fried with aromatics, eggs, a variety of vegetables including Carrots, Onions, and Green Onions, and most essentially, gravy.

The Gravy is the hotshot of the process.

It is an inexpressibly tempting meat-based curry seasoned with a series of heavenly Sri Lankan spices. It might be Chicken, Beef, or lamb curry or rarely a fish curry. The most popular (and the most common) version is Chicken Kottu, which uses Chicken based gravy. No need to worry, we have an option for Vegans as well.

Being quite self-sufficient, a unique combination of Ceylon spices can mimic a meat-based gravy on their own! The original Kottu does not contain any Cheese. But trust me, a shot of cheese is going to intensify the delicious explosion of flavors in your mouth, whenever you take a bite.

Moving on to the coolest element, did you know that Kottu is not only textures and flavors, but also sound as well? (yeah, I’m serious). The popularity of Kottu in Sri Lankan food has another aspect. The process of stir-frying Kottu is featured by a rhythmic sound generated due to the clattering of two metal chopping blades, on a large flat griddle placed over the fire, using which the ingredients are mixed.

Noisy? Nah. It’s music. To every person who has had at least one bite of Kottu, it’s the theme music of a mouth-watering food episode. As soon as you hear the tossing ‘music’, you know that heaven will be served on a plate within a few minutes.

Here in Sri Lanka, there are restaurants, which has their own unique beats of stir-frying Kottu. It’s a vision, especially if you walk through the Neon-lit crowded streets around Colombo and you would find two Kottu chefs from two neighboring restaurants, tossing Kottu at the same time, using their own rhythms, mimicking a combative conversation.

It almost becomes a talent show, and adds a freshness to the ‘cook and sell’ monotony, although this stir-frying method using chopping blades is being used solely to ensure the proper infusion of the gravy into the roti chunks more than any other way.

So check out our menu, and I guarantee you an authentic Kottu experience.