"I learned how to cook Sri Lankan food from my mother ... As a child, I observed her cooking from a distance, but, as the years passed, I found myself increasingly by her side, absorbing everything I could. I dedicated a notebook solely to scribbling down recipes that had been passed down from my grandmother. Watching my mother use traditional techniques, I learned the secrets to a recipe’s success; among them, how to use key ingredients—including pandan and curry leaves, cinnamon bark, turmeric root and coconut—in ways that make our food distinct.

Illustration by Emily Dakin, Courtesy Chatelaine Magazine