Piti Guli


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about


Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

These sweet fried balls of dough are a bit like doughnuts, and are a traditional recipe from Siyambalanduwa. Piti means flour in Sinhala and guli refers to the ball-like shape. The ingredients are really simple — so simple in fact that I didn’t expect them to be so tasty — and frying the dough in coconut oil adds a delicious and distinct flavour. The trick to getting the dough right is in the twisting and stretching, which takes a little practice.


  • 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) coconut oil*


Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) water, a little at a time, working the mixture into a wet, sticky dough. Set aside for about 1 hour for the gluten to settle. Knead in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Continue to knead and stretch the dough for 6-8 minutes, or until it is sticky and elastic.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or heavy-based saucepan to approximately 180°C (350°F) (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 15 seconds). Take a level tablespoon of the sticky dough and, using another spoon, slowly scrape the batter off the spoon into the hot oil. Deep-fry for 2 minutes, then turn it over and fry for a further 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain. Repeat with the remaining sticky dough, frying in batches of three at a time. Serve warm or cold with a cup of spicy Sri Lankan coffee.