Burford's Sri Lankan Vegetable Curry

by Chef Mahesh

Fresh, healthy and seasonal, our Burford Sri Lankan vegetable curry is perfect for a colourful, warming lunch. Spicy, punchy and totally delicious, it's one to make for an informal gathering of friends, or for those days when you're simply pottering around at home, taking it easy, but in the mood for something homemade and nourishing. When it is on the menu in the Burford Café, we often serve this curry with homemade flatbread and a cooling raita.

Makes: 4–6 servings (vegetarian and gluten free; contains nuts)


5 sweet potatoes, diced into one-inch cubes

4 red peppers, diced into one-inch cubes

Oil, for roasting

25g ginger

4 cloves of garlic

1 red onion, chopped

1 chilli

1 stick of celery, chopped

5 cardamom seeds, crushed and seeds taken out

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 star anise

5 cloves

5 ml olive oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

6 curry leaves

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

100ml of white wine

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

200ml vegetable stock

A small tin of chopped tomatoes (usually around 225g)

10g of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

200g of coconut milk

A small tin of chickpeas, drained (usually around 225g)

25g cashew nuts, crushed

A handful of spinach

Half a bunch of fresh coriander


Place the sweet potatoes in a roasting pan, drizzle with oil and roast in a hot oven. After five minutes or so, add the red peppers and roast for a good 20 minutes or until both vegetables are tender.

Put ginger, garlic, red onion, chili and a celery stick into a blender, and blend for one minute.

In a frying pan, dry roast the cardamom, cumin, star anise and cloves on a low to medium heat for one to two minutes. Shake the pan or toss the spices a few times to keep from burning. When the spices start to emit their aroma, take off the heat. Grind to a powder in a blender or use a pestle and mortar.

Take a heavy duty pan and on a low to medium heat add olive oil and mustard seeds. After 20 seconds or until the mustard seeds start to 'pop', add the spices from the blender. Cook until softened and well-combined. Add bay leaf, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, curry powder, turmeric and your ground spice mix, and cook for another few minutes. Pour in the white wine and white wine vinegar and leave to simmer for a good five minutes.

Next, add the vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and, once simmering, cook for another few minutes.

Pour in the coconut milk and after five minutes add the roasted potatoes and red peppers, chick peas and cashew nuts. Bring to a simmer and cook for a final five minutes.

To finish, stir in the spinach and fresh coriander just before serving.

Related Articles