Sri Lankan Potato, Coconut and Chard Curry

An intensely flavoured curry with the recipe to make your own Sri Lankan curry powder.  The curry has a twist with the addition of preserved lemons.  If you don’t have preserved lemons you can substitute with a whole lemon sliced thinly and salted with half a teaspoon of sea salt.

If you are short on time you can use a shop-bought garam masala, adding an extra half-teaspoon of ground cloves, a tablespoon of mustard seeds and the zest of a lemon.  Serve this dish with warm bread and rice, top with crunchy cashews and a squeeze of lemon.

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

This recipe makes enough for a couple of curries and will keep for up to two months.  If you don’t think you will use the powder in this time, half the recipe.

As the spices are toasted, this powder works well sprinkled over warm, buttered chapatis or naans or on top of yoghurt or even on mashed avocado.

Prep: 10 mins / Cooking: 10 mins

Makes a small jar


2 tbsp. basmati rice
2 whole dried red chillies or 1/2 tsp dried red chilli
4 tbsp. coriander seeds
3 tbsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. black mustard seeds
1 tbsp. whole cloves
1 heaped tsp cardamom seeds
2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons


  1. Put the rice in a dry nonstick large pan and put over a medium heat until it starts to turn light brown.
  2. Add the spices and dried chilli and toast for three minutes, until they also start to brown, toast and become aromatic.
  3. Keep moving the pan to prevent the spices from burning.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, then leave to cool.
  4. Once cooled, use a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar to grind them into a powder and keep in an airtight jar.

Sri Lankan Potato, Coconut and Chard Curry

Serves 4

Prep: 10 mins / Cooking: 55 mins


3 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
3 onions, peeled and finely sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 large thumb fresh ginger, peeled and grated
600g small potatoes
2 whole preserved lemons, roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp. Sri Lankan curry powder (see above)
400ml (1 tin) coconut milk
400ml (1 tin) tomatoes
1 lemon
Rotis or chapatis and rice, to serve

For the cashews

100g cashew nuts
1/2 tsp red chilli or a pinch of dried chilli
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt


  1. Put a large, heavy based pan over a medium heat, add two tablespoons of the oil and the onions, and cook until soft, sticky and sweet (15-20 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for another couple of minutes over a high heat, then add the potatoes, preserved lemons and curry powder, and cook for another three to four minutes, stirring all the time.
  3. Add the coconut milk and the tinned tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on, stirring every now and again.
  4. While the curry is simmering, toast the cashews in a frying pan over a medium heat until golden, toss in the spices and toast for 30 seconds more.  Turn off the heat, add the maple syrup and salt, and scoop onto a plate for serving.
  5. Pull the chard leaves off the stems, tear the leaves into large bite sized pieces and finely chop the stalks.  Once the curry has had 20 minutes, add the chard and the stalks, and cook for a final 10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
  6. Serve the curry with the bread and rice, and top with crunchy cashews and a good squeeze of lemon.

Recipe inspiration: Anna Jones, The Guardian Feast Magazine