By Dimithri Wijesinghe
Grandma’s Authentic is a homegrown food delivery spot that is unlike anything you would have come across in Colombo. The concept is so very novel – they deliver traditionally prepared authentic Lankan dishes in clay pots to your doorstep! The food at present is from a limited menu, but their signature dish is the now-famous fish head curry.
If you haven’t had authentic fish head curry in Colombo, then you’re not alone. It is quite an exotic dish and the fish has to be prepared just right, and Grandma’s Authentic has made it possible for you to try it.
Shaznin Sheriff and her family are the brains and brawn behind Grandma’s Authentic. Shaznin shared that the whole operation was thought up during quarantine, when the entire family was spending time together under one roof, cooking and eating together. It was then that they thought of sharing something they relish which brings warmth and joy to their family with others.
She stated that the recipe for their fish head curry is particularly special because it was her grandmother’s. Shaznin shared that her grandmother, Rezeena, who was from Ratnapura, was a foodie and loved to travel; although they unfortunately lost her two years ago, whenever they prepare this dish as a family, they remember her greatly. “It’s like keeping her alive, much like a tribute to her,” she said.
Shaznin said that fish head curry was one of her grandmother’s famous dishes at home and whenever she would visit her, she truly relished it and would work on improving it with the rest of the family, to make it perfect.
The dishes at Grandma’s Authentic are always served in clay pots and on banana leaves, accompanied with roast paan, which was also another of Shaznin’s grandmother’s favourites. She shared that while it is indeed difficult to stick to this model, where every delivery requires clay pots and also that it be carefully delivered, they do not wish to compromise on this method of packaging their food as that is what they wish to be known for – a home-cooked meal with warmth.
Due to this, however, Grandma’s Authentic only delivers over the weekend as that is when the family is able to fully focus as they are otherwise occupied during the weekdays. Shaznin shared that all the spices they use are locally sourced and that they buy in bulk from Ratnapura and Dambulla. The chilli and peppers, which are main components in their food, tend to be on the spicy side, she shared, adding that they only incorporate the fresh catch of the day into their dishes. So when you receive your Grandma’s Authentic meal, it is as fresh as it gets.
Since the reviews were nothing but positive, we decided to try Grandma’s Authentic ourselves, and we can truly say that they don’t leave you wanting for anything.
The fish head curry was easily the highlight of the meal with the perfect flavours that go with the fresh seer fish head. Even though their signature dish is this beautiful curry, they’ve added some other exciting curries as well, including malu ambulthiyal, pepper beef, and tiger prawn curry, all of which were nothing short of what you’d expect a family recipe that has been perfected for years to taste like. In addition, the fact that everything was prepared fresh was evident as it was crisp and light on the palate. We absolutely recommend that you give these dishes a try if you are a fan of Lankan food and often crave something authentic and rich with local flavour.
Grandma’s Authentic, while gaining traction fast with finding their niche in the market, filling in the gaping space for dishes like fish head curries and perfect ambulthiyal, is fairly new and their business model makes it so that they will remain a grounded enterprise holding on to their authentic charm.
Shaznin shared that they do hope to expand in various ways; as she herself was an avid baker once upon a time, they may consider including a dessert for their customers after a very satisfying meal.