Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry and Ceylon fried rice

Sri Lanka's spices has attracted numerous traders over centuries, even though the spice trade is no longer the gold mine it once was,Sri Lanka is still one of the leading exporters of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, mace and even vanilla.
It should not come as a surprise then that an ordinary Sinhalese curry can contain upto thirteen herbs and spices!
My very first attempt at a Sri Lankan meal convinced me that it is completely blog worthy and so here it is,bad pictures and poor lighting at dinner time, notwidthstanding.

This super fragrant yet mild Ceylon Rice complements the curry perfectly and is really quick to rustle up using leftover rice.
Since I could not find any definitive recipes for Sri Lankan curry on the internet, this is what I came up with based on the nearly half a dozen recipes that finally seemed workable.
Polos(young jackfruit in Sinhalese) is one of my favourite vegetables(fruit?)and is believed to have such a high medicinal value that it was a staple diet of ancient Lankan royalty. Together with potato, it lends the perfect texture to this curry.
  • 1 cup raw jackfruit, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • curry leaves , 6 to 8
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • around 5 cloves & cardamom each
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp tamarind pulp

Spice powder:

  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • a dash of powdered cinnamon
  • a pinch of garam masala

I didn't want to add another bottle of spice powder to my burgeoning collection so I used individual,powdered spices to make up the spice base.

If you'd like to whip up curry powder from scratch these are two of the recipes that I liked. My chilli quotient is a bit higher than what they recommend though.

Heat 2 tsp oil and fry the mustard, curry leaves,whole spices, onion and garlic till the onion begins to brown.Add the jackfruit and potatoes and the spice base and mix well to coat them with the masala. Now add the coconut milk, little by little and stir fry till you can see some specks of oil. Add around half a cup of water and salt to taste and transfer the whole thing to a pressure cooker. Cook for 2 to 3 whistles and let the cooker release steam naturally before opening it. Cook uncovered for a few minutes till it reaches a creamy consistency. Check salt and take off the heat. After a couple of minutes, mix the tamarind pulp(adding it too soon can cause the coconut milk to split) and serve.

Ceylon Fried Rice

The Sinhalese love for cashewnuts and fragrant spices makes for a crunchy, nutty and very flavourful rice.

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • whole cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper(leave out if you don't enjoy biting into pepper)
  • a pinch of saffron soaked in a tbsp of milk
  • a handful of frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 tsp of ghee
  • as many cashews as you'd care to eat
  • salt to taste

Heat ghee, add cashews, whole spices and cook till the cashews turn a pale brown. Add the frozen peas, rice and salt to taste and mix well. Finally add the saffron milk, turn off the heat and cover for a couple of minutes. Serve with curry.


  1. Wow i am in love with that potato curry.
    We don't get jackfruit here can i substitute with some other veg?

  2. yummy meal,,..lovely clicks too,..

  3. What bad pics? The snaps look so good Rashmi! :-) Your camera is good! :-)
    Love the dishes .. made raw jackfruit last week. Gotta try it with coconut once. :-)

  4. the polos looks delicious! should give it a try with the jackfruit seed tho :D...and honestly the pics look good...the potato dish looks creamy and the rice perfect!

  5. wow wow wow simply superb i never tried srilankan recipes looks so delicious and one more dish with Jf love it will try soon thanks for sharing them with us superb

  6. the coconut based gravy must be superb!looks really inviting!

  7. The pics look great, and the food looks great! the curry looks particularly fiery..I was in Sri Lank a couple years ago, and ate a jackfruit curry very similar to the one you've made and while the food was very flavorful, I found it way too hot for my palate, this looks like a toned down version of that:)

  8. Love it.. looks awesome and i think those masalas with coconut milk would make for a delectable combination. I've not really tasted much of srilankan cuisine - hope to try out some dishes.

  9. The curry looks great. Bookmarked!

    And the rice too. Fantastic, R!

  10. Looks like some heady combination, and the curry looks so perfect
    The rice sounds close to garam masala biryani we make(with whole garam masala and not the powder),and so i can easily imagine the bursting flavors you guys enjoyed at Dinner :-)

  11. That fried rice is awesome and the curry is creamy and nice. What a feast.

  12. I have never had sri lankan food before.. always took it for granted that it's like indian food, only with more spices. This looks luxurious! That gravy is so delish & the rice is just right with so many nuts & saffron.. yum

  13. That looks super! The orange coconut gravy looks really delectable.
    I might try this with only aloo. I've never tried jackfruit and the first thing I'm gonna do with it (if I ever lay my hands on one) is make your biryani.

  14. Wow, maybe I should pick up a jackfruit! Looks awesome!

  15. wow.. looks really delicious & tempting...

  16. Very nice curry and fried rice. I've never tried sri lankan food. Nice curry to start with...

  17. lovely meal!! i just love jackfruit..but where do u get JF in SG..i am craving for it :(.

  18. Ceylon fried rice sure looks easy to make...will give this a try for sure.

  19. thanks a lot rashmi..i am rushing to mustafa now..for the jackfruit :)

  20. hi Delhi Belle,

    first time on your blog, lovely blog and recipe collection :)

    Look forward to your visit at Meenal's kitchen:)

  21. this looks fantastic. i love sri lankan food and haven't tried any recipes yet.

  22. Never had a Sri Lankan meal, this looks so good. Wish there were more Southeast Asian restaurant here

  23. never made any sinhalese dish so far, but both the rice and the jackfruit curry looks delicious!!

  24. Oh goodnesxs this looks great :-)

  25. I love the sweet taste of jack fruit...curry looks yumm and rice simple yet delicious

  26. Hi Rashmi, I had polos curry when I was in Srilanka in May. This looks very good.

  27. Jackfruit curry looks awesome. Nice xlick.

  28. i never had srilankan food their fried rice looks very intresting and so different..

  29. Yummmmy, i love the flavours in Sri Lankan food - the polos potato curry looks fantastic...must try this

  30. Curry and rice both looks so yummy, the recipes are new to me, never tried srilankan cuisine..thanks, Rashmi for these wonderful recipes, will try for sure...Have something for u in my blog, go check here...

  31. oh my my.... mindblowing pics!! looks awesome.

  32. I still haven't made your kathal biryani... now this... I have to try.

    Love the candles in the background too.

    And that cinnamon... I asked a colleague to get me some from the US... and her sister said... so expensive here... in India Dalchini is cheap... and didn't let her buy!

  33. Wow...both dishes look fantastic. Lovely pics.

  34. Come to my blog and get your prize!

  35. This looks amazing! Your rice is so pretty!

  36. such a nice curry,, yummy n thnx to u,,, shehara