Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sri Lankan Wattalapam (Treacle & Coconut Milk Flan)

Wattalapam is a very traditional Sri Lankan dessert.  It's uses some of the best resources from the island such as coconut milk and jaggery made out of kitul (treacle) from the palm or coconut tree. Wattalapam is basically Sri Lanka's version of a flan or creme brulee.  I love to eat it, but I have never bothered to make it myself.  My mother came over last week and we made it together with my niece.  I had my niece laughing because I did a "Wattalapam Dance" after it came out of the oven.  I was so happy that my first attempt looked and tasted amazing.  You will need to obtain Sri Lankan jaggery to get the traditional flavor and I believe you can order in online.  So if you are a big fan of sweet flans, this one is a winner. 

I cup of Kitul Jaggery
1 cup of coconut milk (canned is fine)
1 cup of eggs = 5 extra large eggs
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (plus extra for dusting)
1/4 tsp of salt
1 Tbs vanilla extract
handful of raw cashews (split) optional

Sri Lankan Kitul Jaggery

 In a saucepan, melt the jaggery with a few Tbs of water.  Start it out on medium-high heat and once it gets heated lower the heat so the jaggery melts slowly without burning.
Once the jaggery fully melts, pour in the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt.   Strain the liquid to make sure you don't have any bits of sugar leftover that didn't melt.  Allow jaggery/coconut milk mixture to cool down before proceeding. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, vanilla, cardamom powder and nutmeg.

Mix the jaggery/coconut milk mixture with the eggs and beat well.  Pour into a oven proof dish. Add the split cashews and another light dusting of nutmeg.

Cover dish with some aluminum foil and then place the dish into a water bath and steam in the oven. Note: preheat water in a kettle and pour into the bath.  Bake at 350 degree for 30-40 minutes.  Test with a toothpick in the middle of the dish and if comes out clean you're done. This dessert is best served chilled so put in the fridge for several hours before serving.  Enjoy.

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  1. You know this one is tempting me a lot. I have only had this once and that was back in SL but thankfully it was a homemade wattalappam and delicious! I wasn't sure how to prepare it and whether it was cooked over the stove top or the oven, so I'm really excited to see this recipe, Ramona. Thanks so much for posting this.

  2. great traditional recipe....yum

  3. My mouth is watering now:) I just really love learning about traditional Sri Lankan food. I'm giggling that you did a "Wattalappan Dance", I would have too:) Thanks for sharing Ramona and good job.

  4. YUM! This looks super tasty! Do you have a suggestion for a substitute if one cannot find kitul??? HUGS!

  5. OMG! This looks out-of-this-world! Can I come over for a taste? :)

  6. I'm sure taste Yummy as it's looks,,,what a beautiful traditional dessert,,,great recipe :)

  7. Wow Ramona this looks tasty and something very differnt, the raw cashews are interesting too. I've never heard of this but I sure wish that I could taste some. Hope you had a lovely Labor Day my friend.

  8. This looks amazing! And your photos are absolutely beautiful!

  9. I love custard type desserts, so I think I would totally love this. And I love your photos too, totally drool worthy with the cashews on top!

  10. I remember I've heard or seen Kitul Jaggery (I'm pretty sure I had never eaten). This flan is very interesting and I want to eat it. Usually flan is egg color, so this is very intriguing and wanna have a bite to taste this!

  11. Love the dark colour of this famous wattalapan.

  12. It DOES look amazing, Ramona! Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful dessert. And where's the video of your wattalapan dance??? ;)

  13. Lip smashing dish..looks great.

  14. What a lovely traditional dish my friend - thank you for introducing it :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. My DIL's mother told me that they used to grow, harvest and sell jaggery. Thanks for letting me know what it is and how it is used.

  16. Jaggery has always been a mystery to me. It's not common at the places that I shop,but I know I can find it. It looks it makes a yummy sweet flan!

  17. I had this wen we went to srilanka and was even planing to make it but never did :-(.....it was sooooo tasty...now you have pulled me back to give it a shot :) Thanks!

  18. Hi, I tried this and after baking for 35minutes, it's still quite runny in the middle (although the edges have gotten the correct firmness, the center is similar to what I initially put in the oven). I followed the instructions. Not sure what I did wrong- maybe I set up the water bath wrong? I have no idea. The consistency came out wrong for me- BUT, the taste of it is fantastic!

    1. Sorry it didn't come out correctly. I baked it in a very shallow/wide dish... if your dish was deeper... it may require more time in the oven.

    2. PS... glad it tasted good though. :)

    3. Dear sister
      Add half cup coconut milk (instead of 1 cup coconut milk) for this recipe n it will come out perfectly well

  19. Hi.. Found this recipe looks delicious I'd like to know if you can freeze this
    Thank you for your great recipes


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