Sweetmeats: Sinhala table vs Hindu table

Compiled by Khalidha Naushad | Published: 2:00 AM Apr 9 2022
Teen inc Sweetmeats: Sinhala table vs Hindu table

Compiled by Khalidha Naushad

Sinhala and Hindu New Year is known as Aluth Avurudda (by the Sinhalese) and Puthandu (by the Tamil). 

This time of the year creates an opportunity for all Sri Lankans to unite and celebrate as a nation. Nevertheless, there are certain things that distinguish Hindus’ and Sinhalese’ way of celebrating their New Year. Out of all, sweets meats and food is an essential part of the festival something that will substantially distinguish their celebration. 


Mango pachadi

14 April is the beginning of the first month Chittirai of the Tamil year (Vikrudhi year), which is celebrated as the New Year. This day is also popular as Varusha Pirappuv. This is an auspicious day for all Tamils. The food eaten on the day is maanga pachadi (mango pachadi). 

This dish is made of mangoes, jaggery, neem flowers, and tamarind. 

Medu vada

Medu vada is a South Indian breakfast snack made from Vigna mungo (black lentil). It is usually made in a doughnut shape, with a crispy exterior and soft interior. 


Akkaravadisal is sweet dish similar to sakkarai pongal but prepared with rice, jaggery and milk. The rice is cooked in milk. This is a typical Tamil Brahmin recipe. This is usually made during Tamil New year. 

Rava payasam

Wheat rava payasam — Godhuma rava payasam made with milk, jaggery, nuts and ghee. This is a simple, easy and quick sweet recipe that is popular among Tamils on all festive occasion. Wheat rava is similar to semolina but with much of the bran intact. So it is much more nutritious and is considered to be a healthy substitute to semolina or bombay rava.

Kalkandu sadam

Akkaravadisal and kalkandu sadam are almost same, both are milk based sweets, only difference is that Tamils add jaggery and dhal in akkaravadisal but in kalkandu sadam, they add only kalkandu. Kalkandu sadam is less sweet and mild taste when compared to akkaravadisal. 

Pasi paruppu/ moong dal payasam

Moong dal payasam is a delicious sweet dish made with moong dal, jaggery, coconut milk, ghee and nuts. Kheer and payasam are the terms that refer to Indian puddings mostly cooked with milk. Moong dal payasam is a traditional South Indian variety and is also known as paruppu payasam or parippu payasam.



Kokis is a deep-fried, crispy Sri Lankan food made from rice flour and coconut milk. Although considered as a traditional Sri Lankan dish, it is believed to have come from the Dutch. This is an important dish when celebrating Sinhala and Tamil New Year and plays a major role in the festivities. Although considered a traditional 

Sri Lankan treat, Kokis is believed to be of Dutch origin.


Kawum is a deep-fried Sri Lankan sweet made from rice flour and kithul (sugar-palm) treacle, with a number of variants adding additional ingredients. It is also known as oil cake. Kawum is traditionally given and consumed during celebrations of Sinhala New Year.


The main dish and the centrepiece of the table is usually kiribath – rice prepared with coconut milk –  that’s exactly what the name stands for kiri means milk and bath means rice. Adding coconut milk gives rice a distinct flavour and sticky consistency. It’s placed on a flat plate and patted it down with a spoon. Once rice is set it is cut diagonally to form diamond shaped pieces. 

Mung kawum

Mung kawum got its name from the main ingredient – mung bean which is also known as green gram. This treat is deep fried too but what makes it stand out is the tangy grainy paste inside. This paste is a mixture of mung bean flour, rice flour and kithul treacle. The greenish-yellow colour comes from adding turmeric to batter. Mung kawum is less sweet and less oily than the other treats. 

Pol toffee

Pol toffee, or coconut toffee (‘pol’ is Sinhala for ‘coconut’) is made in a similar manner but additionally grated coconut is mixed in.

Pani walalu (undu wel)

This is another sweet fiesta made by deep frying a batter made from white lentils, rice flour, and coconut milk, and soaking it in a sweet syrup generally made from treacle and some spices.


Aasmi is a traditional Sri Lankan deep-fried sweet snack, which is served on the Sinhalese New Year. It is made with a combination of rice flour and coconut milk, which is mixed with juice extracted from davul kurundu leaves (cinnamon leaves) and then deep fried in coconut oil. 

Compiled by Khalidha Naushad | Published: 2:00 AM Apr 9 2022

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