Sri Lankan Rolls

These most delicious pancake rolls are a specialty of Sri Lankan finger food..  they may be made ahead and frozen, then deep fried before serving.

Here's the recipe,


12 tbsp oil

1large brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

10 curry leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon corriander powder
500g minced beef or (cooked beef)
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh green chillies(large), chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder.


300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 eggs
500ml milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter or oil
220g dry breadcrumbs and sprinkle of sesame seeds

oil, for deep-frying


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the onion, garlic,and curry leaves until soft. Stir in the corriander powder, curry powder and turmeric powder. Add the beef and cook over high heat until it browns. Add the potato, lemon or lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, ginger and 125 ml water. Cover, and cook over medium heat until the potato is cooked through and the liquid has absorbed — the mixture should be moist, not wet. Finally, add the green chillies  and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed — you may like to add a teaspoon of chilli powder or  chilli flakes. This filling may be made beforehand and refrigerated. Allow to cool as it is easier to work with a cold filling.
  2. To make the pancakes, sift together the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk 3 of the eggs in a separate mixing bowl. Alternately add the flour and milk, then add the salt, sugar and melted butter or oil and beat until smooth —the batter should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If necessary, thin out with a little extra milk or water. Set aside.
  3. Lightly oil a small pancake pan and place over medium heat. Pour in enough batter to make a pancake with a 14 cm diameter. When cooked on one side, remove to a plate and start cooking the next pancake. While it cooks, place a tablespoon of filling on the cooked pancake. Fold in the two sides and then roll up like a spring roll. Move to a tray and continue making, filling and rolling the pancakes.
  4. When all the mixture has been used and the pancakes are rolled, dip each one in the remaining beaten eggs and roll in dry breadcrumbs and sesame seeds to coat — the rolls may be refrigerated at this stage.
  5. To serve, fry the rolls in moderately hot oil, then drain on paper towel and serve plain or with chilli sauce. These rolls also freeze well. Thaw, then heat in a moderate oven when required.

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