Recipe and Photography: Emma Galloway

I fell in love with this simple beetroot curry when visiting Sri Lanka in 2016. The array of single vegetable curries on offer, each with slightly different flavour profiles, as well as all the different coconut-based sambols offered alongside, were a vegetable-lover’s dream come true! Don’t get me started on the appa (hoppers/savoury rice pancakes) there too …

Serves 4 with rice

500g beetroot (about 2‒3 medium), peeled and trimmed
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 stem fresh curry leaves, stalk discarded
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 red chilli, finely chopped (de-seed for less heat, if desired)
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
165ml coconut milk
60ml (¼ cup) water
2 tsp coconut sugar
juice of ½ lemon
cooked basmati rice, to serve
coriander leaves, to serve

Cut beetroot into 1cm thick matchsticks.

Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds and cook until the mustard starts to pop.

Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and cook, stirring often until soft and golden. Add ground coriander, cinnamon, salt and tomatoes and cook 2‒4 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened.

Stir in coconut milk, water, sugar and beetroot. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook 12‒15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beetroot has softened. Add lemon juice and a little more salt, if needed.

Serve hot over cooked basmati rice, scatter with coriander leaves.

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