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Trending: Sri Lankan Cuisine for Your Workday

BodyAlyssa Davis
Photo by Helen Cathcart for the Guardian

Photo by Helen Cathcart for the Guardian

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” – Harriet van Horne

Spice It Up

Tired of the same old, same old? Us too. With February coming to a close, we’re looking to spice things up just in time for the temps to start rising. Get the taste of Sri Lanka in your kitchen with these delicious vegetarian dishes.

Sri Lankan Vegetarian Recipes

Photo by Olive Magazine

Photo by Olive Magazine

Sri Lankan Veggie Curry
Oh do we love curry. Try this veggie curry from Olive Magazine. You won’t regret it.

Oil for frying
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 green chillies, sliced
2 tbsp Sri Lankan curry powder (see below)
1 tsp turmeric
400g coconut milk tin
200ml vegetable stock
200g butternut squash, cubed
1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
100g runner beans, trimmed and sliced
10 curry leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Steamed rice to serve

Sri Lankan Curry Powder
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 star anise
½ stick cinnamon, broken
6 cloves
2 pods cardamom
½ tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp fenugreek
3-5 small dried red chillis (depending on how hot you like it)
1 tbsp basmati or jasmine rice

Let’s Get to It
To make the curry powder, dry-fry the spices and chili in a non-stick frying pan until fragrant and darkened a little. Tip out of the pan and cool. Add the rice to the pan and dry-fry until pale golden. Cool. Tip everything into a spice or coffee grinder and whizz to a powder.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in 2 tbsp of the curry powder and turmeric and keep stirring until you start to smell the spices.

Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer. Drop in the squash, cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the cauliflower and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the beans and cook until just tender.

To serve, heat another 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the curry leaves and mustard seeds until they frazzle and begin to pop. Pour over the curry and serve with steamed rice.

Photo by Helen Cathcart for the Guardian

Photo by Helen Cathcart for the Guardian

Tomato and Coconut Dal
Dress it up with fried or poached eggs or add a little protein to this Dal dish. We’re obsessed with this one from The Guardian.

Dal Ingredients
150g red lentils
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp turmeric
5 tbsp coconut milk

To Temper
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
½ red onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
A pinch of salt
2 tomatoes, sliced

Let’s Get to It
Wash the lentils in 2-3 changes of water, drain with a sieve, then put in a pan and cover with water (about a finger’s tip above the level of the lentils). Bring them to the boil with the salt and turmeric. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes, until tender, but still holding their shape.

Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil over a medium-to-high heat. Fry the cumin and mustard seeds in the oil until they start to sizzle and pop, then add the curry leaves, onion, garlic and salt, then cook for a few more minutes, until the onion starts to color. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have collapsed and given up their juice.

Add 4 tbsp coconut milk to the dal and simmer for 3 minutes longer, then pour in the contents of the tomato pan, along with the final tbsp of coconut milk. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning, then preferably serve immediately. Otherwise, cover the pan with a tea towel and keep warm until you’re ready to eat.

Photo by Ami’s Vegetarian Delicacies

Photo by Ami’s Vegetarian Delicacies

Vegetable Kottu
You can serve this meal on your own or with a curry dish. Spice up your weeknight dinners with this recipe from Ami’s Vegetarian Delicacies.

3 Paratha’s shredded into thin strips
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp dark soy sauce
Salt to taste
1 carrot julienned i.e. cut into thin long  strips
Handful of scallions cut into inch long pieces

Coarsely grind below ingredients using food processor or chopper.
2 medium size onions
4 garlic cloves
2-3 green chilies
1 large tomato
Few curry leaves

Let’s Get to It
Either make or buy flat breads i.e. parathas, cut them into quarter size pieces, add them into a food processor and process for 2 seconds. Time will vary depending on power and size of processor. All you need is thinly shredded parathas. Alternatively you can cut them into thin strips. In this recipe, you can cut into thin strips using a knife and a chopping board.

Heat oil in a large pan, add coarsely ground mixture and stir fry till they are aromatic and golden brown. Add curry powder, chili powder, tomato puree and soy sauce, mix well to create a thick sauce. Add salt to taste.

Add shredded parathas, mix well till they are coated with spices. Lower the heat and add carrot. Cook stirring for 1 or 2 minutes. Turn off heat, add scallions, and mix well.

The longer you keep this mea, thel better it tastes, as the spices blends well and paratha absorbs their flavors. But you can also serve immediately.

Have more Sri Lankan recipes we would love? Shoot us an email at team@helloworkwell.com or tag us @helloworkwell in your Instagram posts!