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Deriving from the Dutch lomprijst and closely related to the Javanese dish lemper, Lamprais is a gift of Sri Lanka’s Dutch Burgher community to the world. It is quite simply made by wrapping a flavour induced rice with a group of meat and vegetable curries in a banana leaf and baked in an oven. There is no specific recipe for this dish and is a time consuming and arduous process that is handed down the generations. Each family would have their own version, but the different types of meat used in the dish remains the king. 

So how could you make a well loved meat based favourite suitable for vegetarians or vegans? This is where tenacity meets experimenting and while traditionalists would shudder at the thought of a completely plant based lamprais, vegetarians are always in search of a lamprais that makes their hearts sing. 

While there are many restaurants and cafes offering vegetarian and rarely vegan lamprais, it does not always meet with approval. Often it is either too oily or has not matched the rich but delicate balance of spices that comes hand in hand with a lamprais.

That’s what makes Lamprais by Shey ever so special. The pack contained aubergine curry, ash plantain curry, seeni sambol, TVP (soya) curry and not one but two cutlets. The spice induced rice was fragrant but not overpowering. Each curry complimented the other and was very filling. The banana wrapping brought in its own fragrant magic. We enjoyed every bite.  Most of all, we were pleasantly surprised when we received our order by noon.

A vegetarian lamprais is not always easy to master and we are pleased to say that we were not disappointed at all.

We do recommend Lamprais by Shey and remember, pre-ordering is necessary. We are glad we found this gem amidst this pandemic and glad to support home based businesses. 

Suramya Hettiarachchi