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Sri Lankan Beef Curry

3 lb stewing beef (cut into pieces)
4 tbs vinegar
6 cloves garlic & 1 inch ginger root – crushed together
2 tsp salt
1 tbs powdered black pepper
1 tbs roasted curry powder
1/2 tbs chili powder
4 cardamoms
2 cloves
8 curry leaves
4 pieces rampe (pandanus leaf)
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 medium onion (sliced)
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs tomato paste or sauce
1 cup coconut milk

Wash the beef pieces and drain water thoroughly. Add vinegar, crushed garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper, curry powder and red chili. Coat the beef pieces well with the spices and set aside for about 1/2 hour.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry curry leaves and rampe. Add onions and fry until soft. Add the beef and stir for sometime. Add cinnamon, lemon grass, cardamom, cloves and stir until well mixed. Add tomato paste (or sauce) and stir until all pieces are well coated (If the curry is too dry and tend to stick to the saucepan, add 1-2 cups of water and stir).

Close with a lid and allow the beef to cook on slow heat. Add the thick coconut milk (or fresh milk) and bring to a boil without covering.

Taste and adjust salt.

Sri Lankan Roast Curry Powder

1 cups coriander seeds
1/2 cups cumin seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds (aka methi seeds)
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
2 tbsp dried curry leaves
2 tbsp red chili powder

In a dry pan over medium heat, roast separately the coriander, cumin, fennel and fenugreek, stirring constantly until each one becomes a fairly dark brown. Do not attempt to save time by roasting them together – they each have different cooking times and you will only end up half-cooking some and burning others.

Put into a grinder with cinnamon stick broken in pieces, the cloves, cardamom and curry leaves. Grind finely, then add chili powder.

Groovy Tom Yum Paste

12 birdseye chillies
3 Tablespoons of chopped shallot
4 Tablespoons of chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon of chopped galangal
2 Tablespoons of chopped lemon grass
1 tablespoon of chopped kafir lime leaves
1 Tablespoon of chopped coriander root
20 Peppercorns
1 tablespoon tamarind
1 Teaspoon shrimp paste (roasted)
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1 Teaspoon cumin seeds


Tom Yum Soup

Green curry

1 portion Green Curry Paste
500g thigh chicken or chicken pieces
2 carrots
1 celery stick
2 onions
1 handful mushrooms
1 head broccoli
2 zucchini
2 tins coconut milk
4 cups Chicken Stock
3 curry leaves
8 kefir lime leaves

Brown onion and chicken in oil. Add chopped vegetables, simmer, then add all ingredients and cook on low for an hour. Add the broccoli and zucchini in the last 20 minutes.

Adjust salt if required.

Red curry

500g beef, cubed
2 carrots
1 celery stick
2 onions
300ml coconut milk
2 cups chicken or beef stock
2 tbsp Red Curry Paste
3 curry leaves

Fry onion and beef in oil. Add chopped vegetables, simmer, then add all ingredients and cook on low for an hour.


2 tsp curry powder
½ bunch coriander
¼ bunch basil
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 portion Laksa Paste
800ml coconut milk
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 eggs, fried and cut into strips (garnish)
1 double breast of chicken
½ cup shrimp
300g egg noodles
½ cup bean sprouts

Boil half the coconut milk with the curry until a thin oil appears on top. Add all ingredients except for the shrimp, sprouts, noodles and egg and stew for a bit.

5 minutes before serving, add other ingredients. Garnish with egg.

Weekday dal (mithi dal)

175g red lentils
2 medium onions
3 tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic, slit lengthways
1 ½ tsp four spices
600ml water
1 tsp salt
2tsp butter
2 tbsp hara masala

Chop one onion and set it aside. Slice the other and fry it in the oil with the garlic. Put two thirds aside and keep frying the rest till they are dark brown.

Add the lentils, onion and four spices and fry for 5 minutes. Pour in water and allow to simmer then stir in salt and mash until creamy. Add the melted butter and partly fried onions last.

Garnish with hara masala.

Spinach dal (palak dal)

2 medium onions
900ml water
225g red lentils
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
5 cloves garlic
100g fresh spinach, chopped
4 tbsp oil
3 tbsp soured cream
¼ tsp finely chopped ginger
3 teaspoons hara masala

Chop one of the onions and slice the other. Combine the water, lentils, chopped onion, ground ginger, salt and one clove of crushed garlic and bring to boil.Simmer until the lentils are fully cooked.

Add the spinach and cook for a further 15 minutes. Slice the remaining garlic and fry in oil with the onion. Pour mixture over the dal and cook for a few minutes. Serve with sour cream, root ginger and hara masala.

Dahi Ki Kari

5 cloves garlic
4 tbsp besan (chick pea flour)
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric
3 tsp ground roast cumin
600ml yogurt
1.15 litres water
4 tbsp chopped spring onion
2 green chillies
14 curry leaves
1 ½ tsp salt
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 red chillies

Crush one clove garlic and slice the others lengthways.

Mix the besan, crushed garlic, ground ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, roast cumin and yogurt to make a paste. Add the water and strain into a saucepan. Bring to boil then simmer, adding the spring onion, green chilli and 6 curry leaves.

Stir in salt and reduce to the consistancy of thin yogurt. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds, garlic, red chillies and curry leaves. When the garlic browns, pour over kari and cover the pan to sit.

Festive Dal (tu war ki dal)

1 small eggplant, diced
100g boiled red lentils
2 tsp four spices
10 curry leaves
600ml water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp salt
½ tbsp mustard seeds
8 fenugreek seeds

Fry eggplant in oil till lightly browned and drain. Place lentils in a saucepan with four curry leaves and four spices and bring to boil with the water. Simmer for a few minutes then add the lemon, tomato and salt. Add eggplant and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Heat some oil in a small frying pan and when hot, add the remaining herbs and leaves and pour mixture over the dahl. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a further 5 minutes.

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