Keralan Curry with Coconut Brown Basmati Rice

I had the good fortune to travel to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia during a school break in February 2015. Hosted by dear friends, Mike and Monica, and joined by our friend, Hans, we took part in several meals to get a taste for what this culture had to offer.  This is one of the most delicious curries I’ve made. Superstars of this dish are the fresh kefir lime, and curry leaves. The recipe was inspired on a morning train ride to school as I was reading the Dutch edition of the Metro newspaper. They featured a Jamie Oliver recipe and I tweaked it to suit my taste. So here it is. This one, is definitely a keeper!

P.S. This cloth napkin is courtesy of Annabel who owns Zari Collection of Handmade Indian Household Textiles, in KL.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small head of broccoli, in florets
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 heaped teaspoon each of: black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds
  • 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small handful dried curry leaves
  • 4 kefir lime leaves
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (grated)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric (grated)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 spring onions
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 large bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 x 400 g tin of tomato blocks
  • 2 x 400 g tins of coconut milk
  • 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas (drained)
  • 1+ lime(s)
  • Brown Basmati rice

For the rice

  1. Pour 1 can of coconut milk into another pot.
  2. Measure out enough brown basmati rice to fill the coconut milk tin and pour that into the pan with the coconut milk.
  3. Rinse the rice out of the can with cold water adding another can of water to the rice/coconut milk mixture.
  4. Put a lid on it, bring to the boil and then lower temperature to simmer.
  5. Cook until rice is soft, about 30 minutes.

For the curry

  1. Dice the onion and begin to soften in olive oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. After about 5 minutes, add carrots and sweet potato and stir.
  3. When these have begun to soften (5 minutes), add the spices, and curry and lime leaves.
  4. Continue to stir for 2 more minutes. Lower heat.
  5. Pulse the peeled ginger and garlic, trimmed spring onions, chilli, and a handful of fresh coriander in a small processor until fine, then stir into the mixture in the Dutch oven.
  6. Add the can of tomatoes.
  7. Pour in the other can of coconut milk, add the drained chickpeas and the broccoli.
  8. Allow to simmer very gently with a lid on, (for about 15 minutes) and if it looks like it’s becoming too thick, add some water to lighten it up a little.

When ready to serve, start with a healthy spoonful of rice at the bottom of a bowl. Spoon out enough curry to cover the rice, garnish with fresh coriander and a healthy squeeze of lime juice, and away you go!


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