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October 25, 2023

Sri Lankan Vegetable Coconut Curry

curry with vegetables on table

Sri Lankan Vegetable Coconut Curry

The most requested dinner asked for by my family and friends is my vegetable curry with coconut milk.

Now, I am not one of these cooks that follows a recipe book so if you ask me about how many cups, tablespoon or teaspoon of my ingredients I could not tell you.

My recipes come out of my head and I am a total experiment cook. My cooking comes from my imagination and just a sense of what spices and ingredients to use. But that does not help you, so here is a recipe with all you need to know.

A side point. If you want to save time, you can use a pre-made curry paste instead of making the curry mix yourself. There are 3 types of curry paste. There is green, yellow, and red.

I would recommend a good yellow curry if you are starting out, unless you love spicy then red is the way to go.


  • oil for frying you can also use the water sautéing method to cut on oil

  • onions 2, halved and sliced

  • garlic 2 cloves, sliced

  • green chilies 3, sliced

  • Sri Lankan curry powder 2 tbsp (see below)

  • turmeric 1 tsp

  • coconut milk 400g can

  • vegetable stock 200ml

  • butternut squash 200g, cubed

  • cauliflower 1 small, broken into small florets

  • runner beans 100g, trimmed and sliced

    curry leaves 10

  • black mustard seeds 1 tsp

Sri Lankan curry powder

  • coriander seeds 2 tsp

  • cumin seeds 1 tsp

  • star anise 1/2

  • cinnamon ½ stick broken

  • cloves 6

  • cardamom 2 pods

  • black peppercorns ½ tsp

  • fennel seeds 1 tsp

  • fenugreek ½ tsp

  • small dried red chillis 3-5 (depending on how hot you like it)

  • basmati or jasmine rice 1 tbsp

  • steamed rice to serve

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1- To make the curry powder, dry-fry the spices and chili in a non-stick frying pan until fragrant and darkened a little. Tip out of the pan and cool. Add the rice to the pan and dry-fry until pale golden. Cool. Tip everything into a spice or coffee grinder and grind to a powder.

2- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in 2 tbsp of the curry powder and turmeric and keep stirring until you start to smell the spices.

3- Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer. Drop in the squash, cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the cauliflower and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the beans and cook until just tender.

4- To serve, heat another 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the curry leaves and mustard seeds until they frazzle and begin to pop. Pour over the curry and serve with steamed rice.

Nutritional Information

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