As is the case with so many cuisines that seem to appear in our Instagram feeds and must-eat lists overnight, Sri Lankan food’s purveyors have actually been keeping their food culture alive in Australia for decades, and have always been keen to share it with anyone who seeks it out.
Thankfully, it seems this complex and delicious cuisine has finally broken through into our mainstream dining consciousness, with high-profile Sri Lankan restaurants appearing across the country in recent years, and incredible Sri Lankan curries even appearing on the odd pub menu.
But as increasingly easy as it’s become to find a Sri Lankan dish in a restaurant or to have it delivered to your door, many of us (particularly those without a Sri Lankan background) have yet to incorporate this simple, delicious curry into our home cooking repertoire. That’s something we hope to change, with our new Sri Lankan-made Roasted Curry Powder and Coconut Sambol.
Preparing a Sri Lankan curry with this richly vibrant curry powder – which combines the aromatic flavours of coriander, cumin, fennel seed, cardamom, cinnamon, curry leaves and dill – is as easy as cooking your favourite green Thai curry at home: simply caramelise some garlic, ginger and onion in some coconut oil, add the curry powder and your favourite meat, seafood or vegetables, then splash in some coconut milk and a little stock, simmer and serve.
Sri Lankan curries commonly eschew the chillies so diners can add their own at the table by way of the fiery, citrus-tinged sambols – like our new Coconut Sambol – that bring heat, as well as texture and flavour. Add some rice, roti or hoppers to the spread and you’ve got a home-cooked Sri Lankan feast that’s easy, delicious and fast to prepare.
With a jar of Roasted Curry Powder and Coconut Sambol in the cupboard, you’ll never be short of a meal idea: sprinkle the curry powder over lamb cutlets or fillets of firm-fleshed fish before grilling, or dust it (and a little of the sambol) over a warming bowl of dahl. Serve the sambol with scrambled eggs or alongside barbecued chicken skewers.
The Essential Ingredient Roasted Curry Powder and Coconut Sambol are made in Sri Lanka using the finest ingredients, and are available now at your nearest The Essential Ingredient store. Can’t get to a store? Buy online for delivery to anywhere in Australia.
Prepare the prawns by removing the shell, but keeping the heads and tail in tact (the heads will add flavour to the curry). Remove the digestive tract from the back of the prawns with a sharp knife and discard, then dust the prawns on both sides with one tablespoon of the curry powder and a teaspoon of salt. Leave for at least half an hour to allow the spices to marinate the prawns.
In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over a low heat, then add the garlic, onion and ginger. Fry gently, stirring often, until the aromatics begin to melt and darken (15-20 minutes). Add the remaining two tablespoons of curry powder, the sugar, the pepper and the curry leaves, and increase the heat slightly. Stir until the mix becomes highly aromatic, then add the coconut milk and stock.
Bring to a simmer, then add the prawns, coating them well in the sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through. The coconut milk should just be starting to split. Taste the curry and add salt as needed.
Garnish with coriander and chilli, and serve with rice or roti, and a dish of coconut sambol.