Mixed Vegetable Curry (Sri Lankan Style)

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Sri Lankan Mixed Vegetable Curry

During my time in Sri Lanka, I had many different home stay hosts teach me their authentic Sri Lankan recipes. My favorite of course had to be Winston, our host at Ella Sisila View. Our first night there we were having an evening tea when he was chopping vegetables in the open kitchen. I had to ask what he was making and was told it was his mother’s recipe for mixed vegetable curry. I immediately asked if he wanted some help, and he taught me how to make the most wonderful mixed vegetable curry I’ve ever had.

Like most Sri Lankan curries, the star of the show is the coconut. Unlike Indian curries which use a variety of different liquids, Sri Lankan curry almost always uses coconut milk as the liquid. Also I should mention, this dish is entirely vegan. I’m not one who normally cares if things are vegan or not, but some people might find that information useful.

Alona grating the coconut to make coconut milk
There goes Alona grating the coconut to make the coconut milk.

I find the best thing about learning to cook cultural recipes in the country they originated is also learning the story behind them. Other than being a great cook, Winston gave great explanations as to why certain things are used together. We even got Alona to use the hand cranked coconut grater.

Mixed Vegetables

Once we started popping the mustard seed in the hot pan along with the curry leaves and pandan, the smells started to permeate the outdoor kitchen. That is how flavorful this dish is. If you are cooking it indoors, make sure to crack all the windows you can. In fact, around this point other home stay guests came outside and requested this mixed vegetable curry for their dinner as well.

Shallow frying the mustard seed for the mixed vegetable curry.

Mixed Vegetable Curry Ingredients

2 Potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 Eggplant; sliced into medallions

1 Plantain sliced into medallions

2 Carrots, diced

2 cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped

2 Onions; chopped

12 Long Beans; chopped

1 tbsp Mustard Seed

3 branches Curry Leaves

1 Pandan Leaf; ripped into 2-3 cm pieces

2 cups Coconut Milk; homemade is best, but as that’s difficult store bought also works.

6 Chili Peppers

3 curls Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Salt

Mixed Vegetable Curry

Mixed Vegetable Curry (Sri Lankan Style)

This Sri Lankan mixed vegetable curry recipe comes from the 86 year old mother of my homestay host in Ella, Sri Lanka. How much more authentic can you get!
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Keyword Curry, Mixed Vegetable Curry, Sri Lankan Food, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Cost $3

Equipment

  • Pot
  • Mortar and Pestle (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 Potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 small Eggplant sliced into medallions
  • 1 Plantain sliced into medallions
  • 2 Carrots diced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 12 Long Beans chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp Mustard Seed
  • 3 branches Curry Leaves about 40 leaves
  • 1 Pandan Leaf optional, if you cannot find it
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk fresh is best, otherwise store bought
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 6 Chili Peppers
  • 6 pieces Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

Instructions

  • Take a pot (we used a clay pot, but a dutch oven on a medium flame also works) and add the vegetable oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and ripped pandan leaf. Shallow fry until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  • Add all the chopped mixed vegetables. Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Let simmer for 10 minutes,
  • Add the coconut milk, coriander powder, and cumin. Replace the lid and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • While it is cooking, crush the chili peppers, cinnamon, and turmeric with a mortar and pestle. (You can use a food processor if you do not have a mortar and pestle).
  • Add the chili paste to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve the mixed vegetable curry with red rice (or rice of your preference), poppadum crackers, and coconut sambal.
Sri Lankan style mixed vegetable curry with red rice, poppadum crackers, and coconut sambal
A hearty dinner for less than $5

Winston also taught me the recipes for:

Ambul Thiyal – A Sour Fish Curry

Sri Lankan Roti – A coconut based skillet bread

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