The cinnamon which is so much esteemed in Holland and a pound of which is sold at such remarkable prices, is in this Island absolutely pure. It is called by the Cingalezen, cureneopotto and the tree curindo-gas…
Baldaeus

Native to Sri Lanka, it’s the bark of the sapling that’s used as the spice, arduously stripped and dried till it curls into the familiar papery light ochre quill (well, familiar if you don’t always just buy cinnamon powder). It’s used in virtually all Sri Lankan curries – one of the five BIG Cs along with cumin, coriander, chili and curry leaves –  giving them a musky sweetness. Beware of imitations! You will sometimes find a thicker, darker coloured roll of bark being sold  as cinnamon, it’s not; it’s often Cinnamomum cassia, a relative with a stronger flavour. Sure, you can use it if you like, but it won’t give you the delicacy true cinnamon will. Sri Lankans do also use cinnamon as other cuisines do in sweets, desserts and cakes, for example in wattallappam, the finest dessert in the Sri Lankan canon.

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