Sri Lankan squash and cauliflower curry

Sri Lankan squash and cauliflower curry

Thrive on Five
Dan Jones

Sri Lanka’s cuisine is heavily influenced by that of its neighbour, southern India. Our recipe uses tamarind, a traditional souring ingredient, to give a delicious sweet and sour flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves
6 green cardamom pods
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
small handful kaffir lime leaves
1 large red onion, finely chopped, (160g)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped root ginger
1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2-3 large tomatoes, chopped, (160g)
or 1/2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1/4 butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into large pieces, (160g)
small aubergine, cut into bite-sized pieces, (160g)
300ml vegetable stock
100g creamed coconut
1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets, (160g)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon palm sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
dash soy sauce
sea salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons natural yogurt, sprinkled with cinnamon, (optional)
rice or chapatis, to serve


  1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the cloves and green cardamom followed by the mustard seeds and lime leaves. When the mustard seeds start to pop (about 30 seconds), add the onion and fry for eight minutes until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric and cook for a further three minutes, stirring continuously and adding a little water if necessary to stop the onions and spices catching.
  3. Add the tomatoes, butternut squash, aubergine, 200ml of the stock and the creamed coconut and simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes. Then add the cauliflower, remaining stock, tamarind, palm sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, salt and garam masala. Cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered, until all the vegetables are soft.
  4. Serve with the cinnamon yogurt (if using) and some rice or chapatis.
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