Sri Lankan rice & curry has to be one of my all time favourite dishes. If you haven’t had it, get yourself to your nearest Sri Lankan grocer or curry shop immediately. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a plate of rice and different types of curries. Normally you’d have a spicy meat curry that balanced out with a few different types of milder vegetable curries and dahl. It is served with pickle, sambal (the Sri Lankan side dish made from grated coconut tossed with dried fish and spices, don’t get confused with the Malaysian sambal which is a chilli sauce) and a poppadum.
This is a great recipe for a mild ‘white’ curry. It’s great for using up cauliflowers or other vegetables that you have lying around. I adapted it from one of my favourite cookbooks of all time, Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayaka. It’s a gorgeous book with lovely photgraphy and the recipes are very easy to tackle. Don’t let the number of spices put you off. They are cheap and easily available. Head to your closest Asian or South Asian grocer to stock up on your spices.
Sri Lankan is one of my favourite cuisines to cook at home. It has great focus on vegetables and, with a well stocked spice cupboard, is very flexible and can be made with whatever is around. Channa says you can add other vegetables such as carrots and potatoes or whatever is available in the fridge.
Cauliflower Curry For Two
- 1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts (roasted, salted, raw – they all work)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 5 curry leaves (or 1 bay leaf – pictured)
- 1/4 mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
Boil the cashew nuts while you’re preparing the other ingredients to soften. This should take about 20 minutes. If you like a bit of crunch in the cashew nuts as I do, 10 minutes should be enough.
Add the cauliflower florets to the cashew nuts. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander and bring to boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Add frozen peas and coconut milk and bring back to the boil.
In another pan, fry the onion, curry leaves (or bay leaf), mustard seeds, garlic and chilli until the onion is soft and coloured. Toss the onion mixture into the cauliflower curry. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste.
Channa said this is great with roti or bread. I served it on rice with Sri Lankan chicken curry.