I saw Rick Stein making this curry on his Far Eastern Odyssey series. I watched every episode because he visited all the places I’d love to go; India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. Him eating his way around Asia just reinforced my desire. Even though he doesn’t cook much vegetarian food it still transports you there.
You know when you are watching a food programme and someone makes a dish that you just have to cook straight away. That’s what happened when I saw this dish. It’s like the planets align and you simultaneously have all the ingredients in the house and the perfect recipe. I love it when that happens……
The original recipe doesn’t have potatoes in it but calls for 300 gr cashew nuts. I didn’t have 300 gr of cashew nuts (who does?) so I padded it out with some baby new potatoes. The potatoes are great because it means that you don’t have to make rice to go with it. It’s a one pot dish, which is always a bonus, less washing up.
It may seem like a lot of fuss to make you own Sri Lankan curry powder but it makes such a difference. You just toast the whole spices and then grind them in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or mortar & pestle. I did mine in a battery operated pepper mill, it took a while and it wasn’t really a powder but hey, afterwards you have a little jar of your own Sri Lankan curry powder that you can bust out whenever you need a quick and delicious dinner.
Cinnamon has been cultivated in Sri Lanka for a very long time. About 90% of the world’s cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka making it a very important part of the history of the island. It is made from fine curls of the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. Not surprisingly cinnamon plays an important part in the cuisine of Sri Lanka and, along with coconut, is found in nearly every dish.
Sri Lankan Green Bean, Potato & Cashew Nut Curry
Serves 2, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey
For the curry powder
I halved the original recipe feel free to double it again.
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp rice
Toast all the spices in a dry pan for a few minutes until they release their aromas and start to pop. Cool them slightly and then grind in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or mortar & pestle. Tip into an airtight jar and store in a cool dry place.
For the Curry
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 stick lemongrass, bruised & finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Sri Lankan curry powder (see above)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tin 400 ml coconut milk (I used low-fat)
- about 400 ml veg stock
- a handful of curry leaves (if you can find them)
- 2oo gr green beans, trimmed & cut into thirds
- 350 gr baby new potatoes, quartered
- 150 gr cashew nuts, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 lime, 1/2 juiced 1/2 cut into wedges
- 1 tsp cornflour, to thicken if necessary
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over a medium heat. Add in the cinnamon, garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass, turmeric and the Sri Lankan curry powder. Fry until the aromas develop but don’t let it burn. Add the coconut milk then fill up the coconut milk tin with veg stock and add that too, mix well.
Stir in the potatoes, green beans, curry leaves and cashew nuts (save some for garnish). Bring to the boil, season well with salt then add the sugar & lime juice. Lower the heat and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
If it seems a bit too liquidy. Stir a teaspoon of cornflour into a few tablespoons of water until dissolved, add this to the pan and stir. Cook for a few more minutes until thickened.
Serve in warm bowls topped with more toasted cashew nuts and the lime wedges.
Things That Made Me Smile Today
Rufus in a daisy chain….
Make a daisy chain if you see some. It’s like being a kid again…..