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Adjust Servings:
3 medium tomatoes green tomatoes chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 Green Chillies halved and deseeded
2 tsps chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground mustard
1 can light coconut milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 heaping Tbsp maldive fish
to taste Kosher Salt

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Sri Lanka: Thakkali Curry

Tomato Curry





A lot of folks have asked me how I’ve been going about picking the order of the countries I visit on this little journey, and for the most part I haven’t had an answer.  If I’m cooking dinner at home, I’ve largely just been picking recipes that look appealing – and healthy when possible.  For the dishes I’ve made for get togethers or events, it has largely been about selecting a recipe that matches the course or theme.  Since I got a Hungry Harvest box last week, I’ve been doing things a bit backwards: looking at the ingredients I have available, and finding a recipe that uses it.

The three beautiful green tomatoes at the center of this photo were the inspiration for this dish.  Most the recipes I found on Food Gawker were for various takes on fried green tomatoes, which is the only way I can recall eating green tomatoes come to think of it.  And I usually find the dish to be overrated.  This Sri Lankan tomato curry was much much more satisfying than any fried green tomato I’ve ever tasted.  Slightly sweet and slightly sour, beautifully spiced and full of warmth.

Seventy-five percent of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese, primarily Buddhist, and the food generally described as Sri Lankan is mostly Sinhalese too.  Curry with rice is the standard fare.  Some 15 varieties of rice grow on the island, down from 280 just 50 years ago, and 400 once upon a time.  Coconut is another very commonly used ingredient.  The spices you’ll find in this recipe – curry leaves, fenugreek, turmeric – are all common in a Sri Lankan curry.  Over 60 varieties of chili peppers now grow on the island, but before they spicy peppers arrived on colonial era trading ships, black pepper – native to the island – was Sri Lanka’s most powerful spice. Black pepper curries can still be found on menus.  Finally, maldive fish is a key ingredient to add savoriness to Sri Lankan cooking. Boiled, dried bonito tuna that has been shredded and tastes a bit liked a very tough fish jerky.  Once combined with the spices, it is not as pungent as the fish sauce or dried or fermented fish of Eastern Asian cuisines, and should not be a predominant flavor in your curry.

As you can imagine, some of these ingredients are difficult to find.  You’ll likely need to go to a grocer specializing in Indian ingredients.  If you live in the D.C. area, India A-1 Grocer in Arlington is a good bet, and where Courtney found all the ingredients for this dish.  Honestly, the only negative thing I have to say about this dish is that we didn’t have leftovers.

Recipe Source: Food Corner



Heat oil in a pan. Add onion, curry leaves, and ground mustard. Cook 1-2 minutes, then add green chilies, followed by chopped tomato. Stir fry it till tomatoes are soft.


Now add turmeric, chili powder, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon piece and Maldive fish. Add coconut milk and mix well. Simmer until the liquid is largely reduced. Add salt as per taste. Serve over white rice.


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