Sri Lankan roasted spice adventure (in England)

“Rice and curry”. As the name for one of Sri Lanka’s signature dishes, it really doesn’t cover it. Order rice and curry in Sri Lanka and you’re likely to be presented with at least six little pots of different curries, from lentils, chickpeas, chicken, pork, and delicious pickles and chutneys.

On our recent trip to Sri Lanka, we were so taken with Sri Lankas curries that we scoured a local supermarket for spices. We returned home with a ready-made spice mix for pork curry. It made an incredible warm, tangy curry dish with just the mysterious powder and a couple of splashes of water. Of course, we soon ran out.

But, using the ingredients on the back of the pack (thankfully printed in English), we set about recreating it with the contents of our spice drawer. The attempt was a success, so here’s what we did.

This made enough to curry up six whole chicken thighs, but it would also be great with pork or maybe even prawns.

First, mix up the following.

In terms of quantities, this was total guesswork, so let’s be liberal. The big heap of roasted curry powder above was 2 tablespoons, so you can guess the other quantities relative to that!

Mix up the spices, then add:

  • 3 teaspoons of tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of frozen chopped up ginger (seriously you need to get some of this). Or grated fresh ginger

You’ll also need:

  • An onion
  • Water
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Coriander (optional)
  • Spring onion (optional)

Spread the mixture all over your meat, and leave to marinade in the fridge for as long as you can.

Chop up an onion.

Heat a bit of oil in a pan and fry the onion. When it’s softened, chuck in the meat and fry to seal it. Make sure you get all your spicy mix into the pan and stir it in, making sure it doesn’t burn.

When the meat is brown, put in some water. We poured in enough to half cover the chicken thighs.

We also added a tin of tomatoes.

Cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes or so. Halfway through that cooking time you should think about cooking your rice.

If you have some lying around, chop up some coriander and some spring onion to sprinkle over the dish when you eat it.

You’re ready to go.

Incidentally, here’s the ingredients list from that Sri Lankan packet mix.

We reckon it would benefit from the addition of cardamom and cloves – but only a little bit. We didn’t have any and it worked fine without. In fact, it was awesome. Try it out, why don’t you?

By the way, here’s me with a Sri Lankan rice and curry. In Sri Lanka!

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