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Curry with a difference? Try Sri Lanka!

We spent Christmas in Sri Lanka – a foodie dream for vegans and vegetarians. The flavours were much different than we’d expected, using cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Other common native spices are curry leaves, turmeric, pepper, cardamom, lemongrass, mace, and vanilla. We visited the Royal Botanical Gardens near Kandy and saw many of these plants, but even better, we were able to sample these wonderful flavours morning, noon, and night! Two of our favourite dishes were pumpkin and coconut soup and jackfruit curry. You can find most of the ingredients – including squash, spices, tinned jackfruit and coconut milk – in Village Greens. Here’s Phil’s adapted recipe:

Pumpkin/Squash Coconut Soup à la Sri Lanka

Roast pieces of (medium size) squash or pumpkin

Sweat 1-2 medium red onions, then add -

1-2 sliced green chillies (depending on heat)

1 tsp of fresh grated (or powdered) turmeric

1 tsp of fresh grated ginger

Season (salt & pepper)

Add 500ml stock/water when onions are soft

Stir in one can of coconut milk

Add handful of fresh parsley or coriander (save some for garnish)

Blend and serve

Jackfruit curry is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in Sri Lanka. Here’s a recipe adapted from The Lotus and the Artichoke – Sri Lanka: A Culinary Adventure

Heat 2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil in a pan on medium heat. Add chopped: 1 red onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 red or green chilli (optional)

Add spices: 1 tsp curry powder; ½ tsp each ground cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and chili powder or paprika; ¼ tsp pepper; ¾ tsp turmeric; 2 small pieces of cinnamon bark; 6-8 curry leaves; 2 bay leaves

Fry until onion begins to soften, stirring constantly

Add 1 tin unsweetened chopped jackfruit, 1-2 tbsp lime or lemon juice,1 tbsp agave syrup (or sugar) and salt. Mix well

Fry, stirring regularly, another 3–5 min

Add 240 ml coconut milk. Stir, bring to low boil, then reduce heat

Simmer partially covered, stirring regularly, until jackfruit pieces soften and fall apart, 12–15 min

For thinner curry, gradually stir in approx. 120 ml water or coconut milk

Remove cinnamon bark and bay leaves before serving and garnish with fresh, chopped coriander

Serve with rice

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