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Deliciously Ella’s Sri Lankan Curry Recipe

I cook big curries like this a lot for my friends and family and they’re always a hit. They’re also a good way of introducing people to plant-based meals, as a curry feels familiar. This one is a particular favourite, as it’s got so much flavour. The squash is tossed with curry powder and roasted until tender with some red peppers, it’s then tossed into a pan with more spices – sautéed cumin and mustard seeds, and some garlic and onion, which then simmer with galangal, tomato purée, ground ginger, lime juice and coconut milk.


large sweet potato, peeled and
cut into bite-sized chunks
(no bigger than 2.5cm)
½ butternut squash, peeled and
cut into bite-sized chunks
(no bigger than 2.5cm)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 red peppers, deseeded
and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 large red onion, peeled and
finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and
finely sliced
2 green chillies, deseeded and
sliced into small pieces (no
bigger than 5mm)
1 × 400g tins of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar
or maple syrup
juice of ½ lime
100g baby spinach
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 240ºC (fan 220ºC).

Place the sweet potato and butternut squash in a baking tray with a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil, the turmeric, cinnamon, chilli powder and curry powder. Roast in the oven for 30–35 minutes, until soft, adding the sliced pepper for the last 10 minutes. Once ready, remove and leave to one side.

Meanwhile, place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and the remaining coconut oil. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds, until they begin to pop. Add the red onion, garlic and chilli and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the coconut milk and coconut sugar. Cook for a further 15 minutes, adding the lime juice during the last 5 minutes.

Add the roasted squash, sweet potatoes and peppers and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring continuously to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Finally, stir through the spinach and leave to wilt before serving.


If you want to mix up the greens, green beans also work really well in this dish either as well as or in place of the spinach.

You could make a double batch of this curry and freeze half for another day. It freezes so well and is really easy to cook straight from the freezer – just place it into an oven set at 200ºC (fan180ºC) for 20–25 minutes until cooked through.

Recipe extracted from Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook, published by Yellow Kite, £25
Photography by Nassima Rothacker