Manioc with Lunu Miris


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

Lunu miris is a fiery hot onion and chilli sambol served as a condiment with many Sri Lankan dishes. During Vesak, it was served with boiled manioc for dansal at the Wickramasingharamaya Temple in Nawala. Dansal is a public almsgiving where free food and drinks are offered. Local devotees boiled the manioc in massive vats over an open fire in the temple gardens. They didn’t add any Maldive fish to the lunu miris, as the monks are strict vegetarians, but traditionally it’s usually included. I was surprised that none of the monks helped with the cooking, but I soon learnt that monks don’t prepare their own meals; all their meals are cooked and donated by local families.


Lunu Miris

  • 1 tablespoon Maldive fish pieces* (preferably flakes) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried chilli pieces*
  • salt
  • ½ red onion*, very finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lime


  • 650 g (1 lb 7 oz) manioc* (cassava) (or 600 g/1 lb 5 oz frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • kanda leaf*, to serve (or banana leaf)


To make the lunu miris, use a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) to pound the Maldive fish into a coarse powder. Add the dried chilli pieces, ½ teaspoon salt and onion, then continue pounding until all the ingredients are mixed together to form a fine paste. Stir in the lime juice and mix well. (This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.) Set aside.

Peel the fresh manioc and cut into 3 cm ( inch) cubes. To prevent discolouring, fill a large bowl with water, stir in the turmeric, then add the chopped manioc and mix. Set aside. If using frozen manioc, this has already been peeled and it doesn’t need to be placed in the turmeric water. Frozen manioc is hard to cut, so let it defrost a little first, or alternatively, cut after it has been boiled.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add teaspoons salt and the drained manioc. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and serve warm on a kanda leaf, and top with a small spoonful of lunu miris.