Sri Lankan Green Bean, Potato and Cashew Nut Curry

16 May

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
  • salt
  • 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…..

15 Responses to “Sri Lankan Green Bean, Potato and Cashew Nut Curry”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide May 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Look at Rufus! No pun intended, but he’s so cute. But anyway I would probably also pad with the potatoes to reserve my cashew stock and also I think it’d be more filling. I know nuts are filling, but I can eat loads more of those than potatoes. Call me odd. I love the curry.

  2. Jill@MadAboutMacarons May 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Love that curry. Must try it. Don’t you just love Rick Stein? I’m like you, but when I do get to see these TV programmes, it’s too late but it makes you dream of lovely food! Adore your daisy photos. My youngest has been making daisy chains but gets so upset when they wilt at the end of the day. Oh to be 8 again!

  3. Ramona May 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Hey there… I’m from Sri Lanka. Great Curry. : ) I have a lot of Sri Lankan vegan food on my blog that you may enjoy. Here is a link to my spicy potatoes:

  4. thefooddoctor May 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I just loved your (Things that made me smile)
    The simple joys in life are the best

  5. Caroline May 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    That’s happened to me many a time–I’ll be watching a food program and run to find the recipe online so I can make it asap. I did that when watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay; I had to make his pumpkin bread pudding, which yes, had bourbon in it. To die for! This recipe looks fantastic, by the way, and your dog is absolutely adorable!

  6. Dani May 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    We’re looking at nothing but cold, cold rain all week long, and I need to make this. It looks so warm and filling.

  7. happywhennothungry May 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Wow this looks delicious! Beautiful photos as well!

  8. Ami May 17, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Hi Natali,

    Sri Lanka is my home country, Nice to c ur post about famous Cadju Curry in SL. Check out more sl dishes in my blog.

  9. sarah May 17, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Gorgeous…per usual! Green bean season is right around the corner for us! I’ve been seeing a lot of daisies popping up around here… I perdict a daisy chain in my very near future.

    • frugalfeeding May 17, 2011 at 9:58 am #

      I’ve wanted to do a Sri Lankan curry ever since I saw Rick Stein do one on the telly. This has reminded me of my “dream”… perhaps that’s too strong a word. However, I think I will now… I think my blog will turn into some kind of curry corner very soon, I do so many.

  10. tiffany May 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    I love all of those great spices in your curry! And your picture of the dandelions made me smile too!

  11. Tes May 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Wow what a flavourful curry you made! It’s really tempting 🙂

  12. Beth Michelle May 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Rufus is so cute! You listed some of the top places I would like to go too!! This summer we are heading to China and Thailand!! This recipe looks great, I love the sound of all the flavors together!

  13. Maris (In Good Taste) May 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I found that trivia fact about cinnamon coming from Sri Lanka very interesting. This is defiently going on my to do list! Love that dog’s gorgeous face!

  14. Nick September 17, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    In case anyone reads this far down BEFORE they cook this, the 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon added into the pan is a typo – 1-2 tsp maybe, but try it with just the cinnamon in the curry powder first. Check Rick Steins recipe online for reference.

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