Kalu dodol
Alternative namesDodol
Place of originSri Lanka, derived from the Indonesian dodol
Serving temperatureCooled
Main ingredientsJaggery, Rice flour, Coconut milk
VariationsMoor Dodol

Kalu dodol (Sinhala: කලු දොදොල්, Tamil: தொதல்) is a sweet dish, a type of dodol that is popular in Sri Lanka. The dark and sticky dish consists mainly of kithul jaggery (from the sap of the toddy palm), rice flour and coconut milk. Kalu dodol is a very difficult and time-consuming dish to prepare. The Hambanthota area is famous for the production of this dish.

Origins and history

Kalu dodol is believed to have been introduced to Sri Lanka by Indonesian migrants,[1][2][3] It has also been attributed to the Portuguese, who occupied parts of the country during the 16th and 17th centuries.[4] With the introduction of artificial ingredients in recent times, the preparation of kalu dodol has occasionally deviated from the traditional recipes.[5]

Kalu dodol, along with other traditional sweets, is commonly prepared and consumed in celebration of the Sinhala New Year.[6] As the process of making the dish is difficult and time-consuming, nowadays most people don't make kalu dodol themselves, instead preferring to buy it from shops.[1]

Kalu dodol capital

Hambanthota is located in Sri Lanka
Hambanthota is famous for its kalu dodol industry

The Hambanthota area in southern Sri Lanka is famous for kalu dodol, and is sometimes referred to as the kalu dodol capital.[4] The kalu dodol industry is a major source of income for many people in the area.[7]

The kalu dodol shops in Hambanthota are frequently visited by pilgrims coming to visit the nearby holy town of Kataragama.[1] In 2011, the Sri Lankan government allocated Rs. 134 million for setting up kalu dodol sales centres in the Hambanthota area, in an effort to develop the industry.[8]


The main ingredients of kalu dodol are kithul jaggery (from the treacle of the Caryota urens plant), rice flour and coconut milk.[9] Other ingredients such as cashews, cardamom and raisins may be added. It is dark brown in colour and is a thick, sticky and sweet jelly-like dish with a "slightly granulated" texture.[1][10][11]

To make the dish, the kithul jaggery and thin coconut milk is mixed and boiled in a large pan until the mixture is reduced to half the original amount. The rice flour, thick coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients are then added. It is necessary to continuously stir the mixture while simmering, to prevent it from burning and sticking to the pan. The oil that floats to the surface of the mixture must also be repeatedly removed. Once the mixture becomes thick, it is poured into a tray, pressed, and left to cool.[12] This labour-intensive process can take up to nine hours.[10] The firm kalu dodol is cut into pieces before serving.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Kuruvita, Peter (2011). Serendip: The Collection. Murdoch Books. p. 134. ISBN 9781742669854.
  2. ^ Gunawardena, C. A. (2005). Encyclopedia Of Sri Lanka. Sterling Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 9781932705485.
  3. ^ Guruge, Ananda (2003). Serendipity of Andrew George. AuthorHouse. pp. 402–403. ISBN 9781410757029.
  4. ^ a b Handunnetti, Dilrukshi (28 February 1999). "Hambantota: the kalu dodol capital". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  5. ^ Azad, Sher (20 August 2012). "The decline of watalappam". Daily News. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ Kannangara, Ananda (8 April 2012). "Tantalising sweetmeats and delicacies". Sunday Observer. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ "South of the border in kalu dodol land". The Sunday Times. 28 February 1999. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Poverty dips in H'tota". Daily News. 23 August 2011. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ Forbes, Andrew (2007). Travellers Sri Lanka (2nd ed.). Thomas Cook Publishing. ISBN 9781841577968.
  10. ^ a b "First ever traditional sweet treat mixing festivity". Daily News. 12 April 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  11. ^ Simon, Richard (1989). Sri Lanka, the Resplendent Isle. Times Editions. p. 137. ISBN 9789812040602.
  12. ^ a b Cervantes, E.P.; George, M. L. C. (2009). Coconut recipes from around the world. Bioversity International. p. 286. ISBN 9789290438069.