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Sri Lankan Masterclass with Peter Kuruvita | Chicken Curry & Dahl Recipes
SERVES: PREP: COOK: PRINT CONVERSIONS

In the ultimate act of generosity,  Peter Kuruvita has given intricate details of his family’s amazing story and a legacy of recipes worth their weight in gold in his book, Serendip. Until last weekend, Sri Lankan cuisine is something I hadn’t yet explored. The flavours are exquisite and with Ayurvedic properties, it’s not surprising that Sri Lanka has a virtually non-existent cancer rate.
The process may appear daunting to some, but I urge you to give your own curry powder a go. Not only will it last in an airtight container for up to year, all that tireless bashing and pounding with a mortar and pestle can be great stress relief.

Peter Kuruvita’s Meat Curry Powder
Makes 1 cup

4 long dried chillies
1/3 cup coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbs cumin seeds
3 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 cloves
2 green cardamon pods, bruised
2cm cinnamon stick
3cm pandanus leaf, optional (readily available from Asian grocers and you can freeze it)
3 cm lemongrass stem, bruised with a back of a knife
2 sprigs curry leaves
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
pinch ground turmeric

  1. Place all the ingredients except the turmeric in a heavy based fry pan and dry roast over low heat for 7-10 minutes or until fragrant (be careful not to burn the ingredients as the fenugreek in particular will go bitter).
  2. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the spices until a fine powder forms. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

Peter Kuruvita’s Chicken Curry
Serves 6

You’ll need:

Thickening mixture
1 tbs raw basmati rice
1 tbs desiccated coconut
2 small green chillies, halved length ways
3 green cardamon pods
2 cloves

Curry
1.4 kg chicken pieces ( I used chicken legs, thighs and wings on the bone)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs ground coriander
2 tsp chilli powder ( I used 1 tsp and it wasn’t too spicy for the kids at all)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, lightly roasted
2 tsp Sri Lankan meat curry powder (see above)
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
100ml vegetable oil ( I used grapeseed oil)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 cm piece, pandanus leaf
1 sprig fresh curry leaves, leaves picked

1.  To make the thickening mixture, place the rice and coconut in a small heavy-based fry pan and shake over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the coconut is nut brown. Place the rice and coconut into a mortar with the rest of the thickening mixture ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water and pound with a pestle until a fine paste forms.

2.  Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add all the spices except for the mustard seeds and salt and toss to coat well. Add the the thickening mixture and combine well.  

3.  Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan  over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, pandanus leaf, curry leaves and mustard seeds and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop. 

4. Add the chicken and stir until well coated and starting to golden. Add the salt & 1 litre of water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove any cooked pieces from the bottom of the pan.

5.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

6. Remove the chicken and reduce the sauce down to thicken if desired.

Now if you’re looking for a really good dahl recipe. Look no further.

Peter Kuruvita’s Curried Dahl Soup
Serves 6

You’ll need:

1 cup red lentils
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 long dried chillies
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves
5 cm piece of ginger, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
50g butter or ghee
1 sprig fresh curry leaves, leaves picked
2 tsp black mustard seeds

1.  Place the lentils, turmeric, chillies, onion, tomato and 1.25 litres of water in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender and beginning to break up.

2.  Meanwhile, place the ginger, garlic and cumin seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle until a paste forms.

3.  Heat the butter or ghee in a small heavy based fry pan over a low-medium heat, add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and the spice paste and cook for 4 minutes or just until the seeds begin to pop and the mixture starts to brown. Pour the spice mixture into the lentil mixture, combine well and simmer for 4 minutes, then season to taste with salt.

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3 Responses to Sri Lankan Masterclass with Peter Kuruvita | Chicken Curry & Dahl Recipes

  1. barbie says:

    Looks fantastic Mish. Will have to definitely try these recipes.

  2. Thank you for this great recipe and for reminding me about this book.
    Having just read about your blog on a 'foodie-inspired' post at Kootyoo, I was delighted to discover you.
    Imagine my surprise whilst scrolling down the posts to see the word 'Serendip' in the photo.
    My blog is all about the serendipitous [the lovely and unexpected surprises we find when seeking something else] and I will be following yours with enthusiasm as I can see that there will be many lovely and unexpected surprises to be had here.
    x Felicity

  3. Mish Delish says:

    Thanks for your kind words Felicity. Serendip is such a beautiful book and as it happens I'm totally enamoured with Sri Lankan food now..

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