An authentic recipe for Sri Lankan curry powder that can be used in a variety of curries and dishes. Roasting the spices first creates a lovely deep flavour that you can’t help but love.
This recipe is my version of the roasted Sri Lankan curry powder made by my friend’s girlfriend, Shem. As far as I know she’s lived in the UK all or most of her life but her parents are from Sri Lanka and this is her dad’s recipe. These spices are roasted first – or dry toasted in a pan – and then ground together. Most recipes have extra cumin powder and turmeric added as well as the curry powder.
I have found this to be an extremely adaptable curry powder. Shem has sent me recipes for okra curry, dahl and Sri Lankan rice, all of which use this powder. I’ve also used it in various curry concoctions of my own, none of which can claim to be authentic but all of which have been delicious. This is definitely the best homemade curry powder recipe I have ever made.
While writing this post I had a look at some of the other Sri Lankan curry powder recipes online and it was interesting to see how they varied. Some added fennel seeds, others toasted rice. Others still added mustard seeds or fresh curry leaves. Chilli often, but not always, features and by all means add more dried chillies to your powder if you like your food to be hot. The core ingredients of coriander, cumin and cinnamon generally remain the same.
Incidentally much Sri Lankan food contains fish or fish paste. Despite this when we travelled to Sri Lanka in 2008 for our honeymoon I didn’t have any trouble finding veggie dishes although it’s always worth checking that fish paste hasn’t been added. You’ll also find a lot of south Indian restaurants serving veggie staples like dosa, idli, uttapam etc.
Roasted Sri Lankan curry powder
An authentic recipe for Sri Lankan curry powder that can be used in a variety of curries and dishes. Roasting the spices first creates a lovely deep flavour that you can't help but love.
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes adjust to taste
Heat a small frying pan over a low heat.
Add all the spices and heat until fragrant and turning golden brown.
Place in a spice grinder or blender with a small jug and grind until you have a powder. You could also do this step in a pestle and mortar but you'll need some serious arm muscles.
Store in an airtight container.
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