sri lankan curry recipe

Sri Lankan Chicken and Coconut Curry with Pol Sambol

It was my turn to host dinner last week and inspired by my travels to Sri Lanka, I put together a delicious spread using this Sri Lankan curry recipe with pol sambol, poppadoms, bean curry and rice! Pol Sambol (coconut sambol) is a traditional Sri Lankan accompaniment typically served with “Hoppers” for breakfast. But it’s so damn good it goes perfectly with their curries too.

Sri Lanka’s typical main dish is known throughout the country as “rice and curry’ – and not just one. At least 4 different curries served with a huge bowl of rice, along with poppadoms, dhal (my absolute favourite) and a few extra sambols. Every restaurant has their own combination of differentΒ curries, and no curries are ever the same. You really never get bored of eating it – their potato curries and crab curries are off the charts! Oh and did I mention the DHAL??????? Every day was a feast.

Sri Lankan Curry Recipe – Learn to cook yourself

If you are planning a trip to this incredible country and are interested in learning more about their cuisine, I can recommend doing a cooking class at Ella Spice Garden. I thoroughly enjoyed learning to cook traditional Sri Lankan dishes under the guidance of our hilarious teacher, Chandika! Read my personal experience and recommendation here:

Learn to Cook Sri Lankan Food.

If you love curry as much as I do, and you enjoyed this Sri Lankan curry recipe, then try this recipe for my Nicaraguan Lobster and Coconut Curry Recipe with Butternut, Kale, Mango and Roasted Cashews

sri lankan rice and curry

This is how your plate will look no matter how little you try of each dish – there is just so much and it’s ALL so delicious!

Sri Lankan Chicken Coconut Curry with Pol Sambol

For the chicken curry

Serves 4sri lankan curry recipe

4 Skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 1/2 onions, sliced

1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 T Sri Lankan roasted curry powder

(combination of coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cumin, chilli, ginger, curry leaf, mustard, clove, pepper, cardamom)

1 Cassia bark (cinnamon stick)

4 cardamom pods

2 green chilis, sliced

3 tomatoes, halved and sliced thickly

5-7 curry leaves

2 T veg oil

1 1/2 t salt

1 cup thick coconut milk


  • In a pan over medium heat, gently fry the ginger, garlic and onions until slightly browned
  • Add the tomatoes chilies, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and curry leaves, cook until softened
  • Add the curry powder, and salt and stir well
  • Next, the chicken and mix well to coat it in the spices. Allow to simmer gently for about half an hour, checking that the chicken doesn’t overcook
  • Add the coconut milk and stir through. let it simmer gently on low heat for about 10 mins
  • Serve with rice, poppadoms and the pol sambol.
  • I made an extra bean, tomato and eggplant curry and served everything with a homemade papaya, mango and mustard-seed chutney

Pol Sambol (coconut sambol)

Serves 4

1 fresh coconut, grated


2 cups dessicated coconut, rehydrated with 1/2 cup thick coconut milk – diluted with a dash of hot water. Mix the coconut with the liquid thououghly and allow to sit for an hour to soften

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1-2 limes

1 green chili, finely sliced

1/2 t chili powder

salt to taste

1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped (optional)


  • In a pestle and mortar crush together the shallots, green chili, and tomato. Not to a fine pulp, but enoughΒ to release the flavours
  • Add the coconut, lime juice, chili powder and salt and stir through thoroughly
  • That’s it, super easy yet SO delicious!


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