Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sri Lankan Squash curry

I have such great memories of this Sri Lankan curry because my husband and I honeymooned is Galle, Southern Sri Lanka. We could not get enough of the squash curry, and if it’s one thing that Sri Lankans know how to cook is a dynamite vegetable curry. I think we spent most of our honeymoon thinking of our bellies because the flavours are irresistible. The difference between a Sri Lankan curry and an Indian curry is regional produce and availability. Coconuts, lemon grass and pandan leaves are in abundance in Sri Lanka, so the food is fresher and lighter but packs more heat. It is the perfect cross between Thai and Indian food, without the heart clogging ghee and cream. As for me the best thing about this cuisine is that it is quick.
You will need:
Two tablespoon of coconut oil
2 small sliced squash (roughly 200g)
½ a large white onion
8 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of onion seed
2 tablespoons of fresh curry leaves or if you can get pandan leaves use two 2 inch pieces instead
1 two inch piece of cassia bark stick
4 cardamon pods
3 whole cloves
½ teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon of Sri Lankan Curry powder (see below)
100ml water
1 lemon grass stick
1 can of coconut milk
2 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of white sugar

In a sauce pan heat up the oil on a high heat and fry the curry leaves/ pandan leaves, onion seed and onion. Cook until lightly golden and add the lemon grass, cassia bark, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, chilli powder and Sri Lankan curry powder. Cook this for five minutes, this is so that this opens up the flavours of the spices and does not leaves a chalky after taste to the finished dish.Add the garlic and chopped chilli followed by the squash and water. Add the coconut milk, salt and sugar and cook for 10 minutes until the squash is knife point tender. Serve with fluffy basmati rice or with the traditionally Sri Lankan Red rice.

Light Sri Lankan Curry powder:
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 small cassia bark stick broken into pieces
4 cardamon pods
4 cloves
2 inch piece of pandan leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Add all of the whole seeds into a dry frying pan (please make sure that you remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, I am sorry to report that they look a little like mouse droppings). Lightly toast the seeds for five minutes until you start to smell the aroma coming from the spices, pour into a pestle and mortar and grind like crazy until you are left with a fine powder. Alternatively buy this ready made in any Indian or continental store, it still tastes great.

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