Dodol is believed to have been introduced to Sri Lanka by Indonesians. Kalu means “black” in the Sinhala language. Preparation of kalu dodol is time-consuming and difficult but the end result is really worth the trouble. You need coconut milk, jaggery, and rice flour to make Dodol. The dark and sticky dish consists mainly of kithul jaggery. The Hambanthota area is famous for the production of Dodol. Kalu Dodol shops in Hambanthota are frequently visited by pilgrims coming to visit the holy town, Kataragama.
There are several qualities of Kalu Dodol. Cheap quality ones contain more coconut oil and little jaggery and coconut milk. They look brownish rather than black. These stalls sell different quality Kalu Dodol at different prices. You can taste them all before buying and you must not forget to bargain which adds more fun to the Dodol-buying process.
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. Then rice flour, thick coconut milk and a few other ingredients are added. It is necessary to continuously stir the mixture while simmering, to prevent it from burning and sticking to the pan. This is a hard process. 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. The process can take long hours, sometimes 9 to 10 hours. When it became set and firm, Kalu Dodol is cut into pieces and is ready to be served.
During festivals and events, Kalu Dodol is a regular sight on sweetmeat tables. During Sinhala & Tamil New Year celebrations, our hotels in Kandy especially make the best kalu dodol – although our sister hotel, The Kingsbury Colombo does offer up a delectable kalu dodol too!