Mini Halapa

The first time I had halapa was during a train ride from Peradeniya to Colombo. An elderly woman with a basket got onto the train at one of the stations and I noticed that a lot of people were buying her food. I was curious and decided to try out the snack she had made as I did not recognize it. It turned out to be halapa and I was intrigued. It became quite a ritual during my undergraduate years to buy this particular woman’s halapa during my travel home.

I didn’t come across halapa again till many years later when I visited some remote villages in Hambantota district and was served halapa that people had made in their homes. Hence, the reason why I have placed this snack as a specialty of Hambantota besides the fact that kurakkan is primarily grown in Hambantota district and the northern province.

I decided to try my hand at making this snack today and after searching the web, found a recipe for it on that I have slightly adapted here according to my taste. While I have used banana leaves, I would recommend using kanda leaves, if you can get hold of it because it adds a unique flavour and texture to the halapa.

HalapaMini Halapa

Preparation time – ½ hour

Cooking time – 15 mins

Makes 12 mini halapa

Mini halapaIngredients:

  • Kurakkan flour – 1 cup
  • Coconut – ½ cup, freshly scraped
  • Coconut treacle or kithul pani/ treacle – 4 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Banana or Kanda leaves


  1. Lightly heat the freshly scraped coconut in a saucepan and add the coconut treacle. Stir, while the mixture thickens. Remove from stove and allow it to cool.
  2. Add a pinch or two of salt to the kurakkan flour. Stir in the warm water and make the dough.
  3. Cut the banana leaf into 12 smaller pieces or use the kanda leaves.
  4. Taking a ball of the dough, spread it on a piece of banana leaf. Take a pinch of the coconut mixture and place it in the center and spread it lightly over the dough. Fold the leaf in half and ensure the edges are folded.
  5. Steam the halapa for 15 mins.
  6. Serve warm with tea.

14 thoughts on “Mini Halapa

  1. I love the introduction to Sri Lanka through you. It’s been a mysterious country for me. Growing up in Northern India, we never discussed about Sri Lanka besides cricket and Ramayana! I always wanted to know more about the country. Thanks again Ahila. It’s a pleasure to have met you. Look forward to learn more about this beautiful island country :).

    • Thank you, Sonal 🙂 Ramayana, huh? Well, there are still so many places around Sri Lanka associated with the epic. Its nice to have met you in the blog world as well and I do enjoy the recipes you post on your blog. Thinking of trying out the mango shrikhand recipe sometime.

  2. I have never tried this, but it does sound delicious. I love steaming things in leaves. Next time I am in the city, will put these ingredients on my shopping list and see if I can find them.

  3. We have an Asian Market nearby that sells banana leaves. I’m always standing there intrigued, wondering how they’re prepared. Steaming things in them did cross my mind. So glad you shared this recipe with us. Very interesting and sounds good. What is Kurakkan flour? Is it available in the U.S? Btw I really love your blog. I’ve always wanted to visit Sri Lanka especially after becoming close to a few young gals that worked for my aunt in Jordan. I would love to visit. Hopefully one day. In the meantime though, I’ll enjoy your posts and learn more about your interesting culture and all. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

    • Hi Abby, Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂 Kurakkan flour is also known as finger millet or ragi. You will probably find it at the Asian market or African market as it is supposed to be native to Ethiopia. And yes, the banana tree is very significant to our culture. It plays an important role in almost every festival. I hope you do visit Sri Lanka someday. I have visited Jordan briefly several years ago and have some nice memories of the delicious food as well as Wadi Rum and Petra.

    • Have fun trying it out! I realized when I tasted it that the kanda leaves (macaranga peltata) that is generally used when making halapa add a special flavour and leaf like pattern on it. The banana leaves do not give the same effect but are a good substitute.

  4. Hi! I visited Sri Lanka many years ago and loved it. Your blogs brings back memories of that visit. Pls can you tell me what is coconut treacle ? I’m not sure if I can get it in Taml-nadu.

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