Lunchbreak: Sinhala, a Sri Lankan-style fried rice dish

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Centre Street Kitchen Chef Jim Heflin

Centre Street Kitchen

1224 W. Webster Ave.



  • Guests have the option to participate in a donation wall in the restaurant that commemorates the names of those who have battled cancer, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Never Had a Bad Day Foundation, a nonprofit providing monetary support to pediatric cancer patients and their families. Baylis, a cancer survivor, is owner of Chicago-based Big Onion Hospitality and president of Never Had a Bad Day Foundation, which he helped co-found in 2016 and has a goal to raise $5- $7 million with Centre Street Kitchen partnership.
  • Centre Street Kitchen is open Monday to Friday 4 p.m. to midnight for dinner and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for brunch.


Sinhala, a Sri Lankan-style fried rice dish


  • 4 oz smoked or braised pork shoulder that’s chilled and cut into ½” cubes
  • 2 tb carrots that are pickled and julienned
  • 2 tb scallions, thin bias cut
  • 2 tb diced leeks
  • 2 tb diced zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) basmati or jasmine rice that’s slightly under cooked and chilled
  • 1 oz (2tb) tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tb chili paste/sauce (Sambal Oelek or Gochujang is recommended or use a comparable choice)
  • 1 egg, cooked over easy
  • ¼ cup pea shoots
  • 1 oz (2tb) sesame oil
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Small pinch of Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper


  1. Heat a good stainless-steel sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Add the sesame oil, swish to coat the pan and add the pork. Be careful as the pork my “pop” a little. Cook the pork until crispy on all sides.
  2. Add the squash, carrot, leek and scallions and cook until they begin to caramelize and soften. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the rice and season with a touch of kosher salt. Keep the rice moving in the pan until just heated through. Add the tamari and chili paste and mix well, stirring constantly until the rice has taken on a reddish-brown hue. Remove from the heat.
  4. Cook the egg over easy in a non-stick skillet.
  5. Mound the rice in a bowl and place the egg in the center.
  6. Liberally top the egg and rice with the pea shoots. Sprinkle everything with the Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper and serve.


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