Sri Lankan Curry with Coconut Sambal

This is one of my favourite curries, made extra special by the use of fresh coconut, half of which goes into the curry and the rest used to make the sambal.

Serves 4

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection.

Sri Lankan Curry with Coconut Sambal
 1½ lb (700 g) shoulder or neck fillet of British lamb (weighed after trimming), cut into cubes
 3 tablespoons groundnut or other flavourless oil
 2 onions, chopped small
 1 large clove garlic, crushed
 1½ heaped tablespoons plain flour
 1 rounded tablespoon Madras curry powder
 milk from 1 fresh coconut
 3 oz (75 g) fresh coconut, finely grated
 about 1 pint (570 ml) stock
 3 oz (75 g) creamed coconut, grated
 1 inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick
 6 cardamom pods, crushed
 1 rounded teaspoon fenugreek powder
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the coconut sambal:
 flesh of ½ fresh coconut
 1 medium onion
 ¼ level teaspoon chilli powder
 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
 ½ level teaspoon salt
To garnish:
 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
 1 medium onion, quartered then separated out into layers
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).


First, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large casserole, then add the onions and garlic and cook gently to soften for 5 minutes.

Next, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and, when it's nice and hot, quickly brown the cubes of meat (you will have to do this in two batches). Then sprinkle the flour and curry powder over the onions in the casserole and stir to soak up the juice, then cook gently for 2 minutes.

Now pour the coconut milk into a measuring jug and make up to 1¼ pints (725 ml) with stock and slowly pour this into the casserole, stirring all the time.

Next, stir in the grated fresh and creamed coconut and transfer the browned meat to the casserole. Finally, add the spices and season with salt and pepper.

Bring up to simmering point, cover and cook in the centre of the oven or on a low simmer on top of the stove for 2 hours.

To make the coconut sambal, quite simply grate the coconut and the onion straight into a bowl, then sprinkle in the chilli powder, the lemon or lime juice and the salt.

Stir to get everything nicely blended, then sprinkle just a tiny dusting of chilli powder over the top, cover and chill slightly until needed.

Five minutes before the end of the curry's cooking time, remove the cinnamon stick and stir the hard-boiled eggs and onion pieces into the curry to warm through (the onions are not meant to be cooked).

Serve with the coconut sambal and Spiced Pilau Rice with Nuts.

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