You may have noticed that I’m not Sri Lankan. In fact, I’ve never even been to Sri Lanka. So you would be well within your rights to call me out on the fact that this Sri Lankan curry is probably not actually Sri Lankan at all.
Buuut, the flavours in this curry were inspired by a dish I was served at a restaurant ages ago, and if they’re allowed to call it a Sri Lankan curry, then I’m doing it too. Really, all you need to know is: it’s insanely delicious, and also surprisingly easy to make!
I think a lot of people are intimidated by curries, especially those that don’t rely on a shop-bought curry paste, but really they’re easy! The key is to keep it simple – don’t think you need to throw in every single spice you have in your cupboard, or you’ll end up with a big mess. I used three spices in this Sri Lankan curry. Three! And the flavour is alllll there.
I didn’t even toast and grind my own spices or anything like that – if you’ve been reading this blog for more than five minutes you might know that I’m 100% not the type to bother with things like that. Someone else has already done all the hard work so I don’t have to (thank you, unknown spice grinder!).
Instead, you just need some ground cumin, ground coriander, and curry powder – along with some fresh ginger and garlic for extra oomph. Just these few aromatics add heaps of flavour and turn this curry into something you’ll want to make again and again.
Along with your spices, you’ll need a few good handfuls of veg – I used sweet potato, aubergine, mushrooms, and leek. As usual, you can change up the veggies if you have other things that you need to use up, but I’d recommend keeping the sweet potato, as it adds a real heartiness to the curry, along with that touch of sweetness. The aubergine is great in this dish too, as it soaks up all the tasty flavours.
I topped my Sri Lankan curry with toasted cashews, which were surprisingly effective at taking the curry to the next level. Just a few minutes in a dry pan brings out the flavour of the nuts, and it’s really nice to have something to crunch on in amongst all the saucy vegetables. Don’t forget to serve it with some fluffy basmati rice to soak up the sauce, and some naan bread for wiping the plate clean. Yummy.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 medium sweet potato (~ 400g), peeled and cut into chunky dice
- 1 medium aubergine (eggplant), cut into chunky dice
- 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
- 4 medium mushrooms, quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 400 ml full-fat coconut milk (~ 1 3/4 cups)
- Large handful fresh spinach
- 150 ml vegetable stock (~ 2/3 cup)
- Black pepper
- 3 tbsp cashew nuts
- To serve: fresh coriander (cilantro), basmati rice, naan bread
Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan or wok, and add the diced sweet potato, aubergine and leek. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger and spices, and cook for a few minutes more until the mushrooms are soft and the leeks are beginning to brown.
Add the coconut milk, spinach and vegetable stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, and leave to cook for around 10 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Season to taste.
Just before serving, add the cashew nuts to a dry pan over a medium-high heat, and toast them for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them and shake the pan regularly, as they burn easily.
Serve the curry with basmati rice and / or naan bread, topped with fresh coriander.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.