Sri Lankan Flavours
Craig Wood

Hoppers are crispy, bowl-shaped pancakes made with rice flour that are eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are a traditional hawker street food often sold in little shops on the side of the road or from a cart attached to a bicycle. Neon signs in towns and villages announce fresh hoppers ready to eat.

Hoppers come in different varieties and can be sweet or savoury, while an egg hopper has an egg in the middle added during cooking. Tamils often include coconut milk for extra flavour. Hoppers aren’t easy to make and you have to have a hopper pan to create them. Once mastered, however, they are one of the great traditions of Sri Lankan food.


Quantity Ingredient
1 large coconut and 750 ml water
or 750ml coconut milk
1kg red rice flour, chinese rice flour or plain rice flour
1 teaspoon yeast
3 eggs
4 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons sugar


  1. If you are making coconut milk from scratch, scrape the coconut using a coconut scraper to remove the flesh and place it in a food processor. Pulse blend until soft. Put the coconut in a bowl, add water and mix well. Extract the coconut milk that results by passing the mixture through a sieve into a container.
  2. Put the flour and yeast in a large bowl. Add eggs and 400 ml of the coconut milk to the bowl and mix well. Cover and leave to stand for 45 minutes. Then add remaining coconut milk, salt and sugar and mix well until the mixture reaches a thick batter consistency.
  3. Heat the hopper pan over a high flame, put 80 ml of batter in it and swirl the batter round to coat the sides of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 1⁄2 minutes.
  4. Remove hopper from the pan with a spatula when the edges are slightly brown. Place hot hoppers in a cane basket lined with a banana leaf and serve with chicken or fish curry. I tear the hoppers in half and use them as tongs for sambols and curries.


  • Red rice flour is available in packets from supermarkets.

    You can also buy instant hopper mix from Asian supermarkets.


  • After you put the hopper batter in the pan and turn it around, break an egg into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and heat over a low flame until the egg is cooked.

    Use freshly scraped coconut to make the coconut milk rather than using coconut milk powder. This gives the hopper its true coconut flavour and adds an essential strength to the batter.

    To make honey hoppers, add 1⁄2 cup honey to half a quantity of batter made by this recipe. In Sri Lanka, these hoppers are eaten as a dessert with bananas.
Sri Lankan Flavours
South East Asian
Southeast Asian
Sri Lankan
South-East Asian
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