Plantains in a creamy Sri Lankan curry sauce is something simple to make yet so wonderful. It is plant based, and cooling, with sweet scent of fennel.
when I see plantains in supermarkets and am delighted by the find. Whether it is a fried snack, or a dessert or in flatbread plantains are great base for any recipe. Green plantain curry, deep fried plantain chips, or tempered plantains there are popular dishes to make with this single vegetable.
Plantains in Sri Lankan cuisine
Banana or the plantain is deeply cherished in Sri Lankan cooking. We use every part of it in different curries. flower buds of plantains make a great spicy and sour curry. Raw peels from ash-plantains, infused with chili flakes and onions make a wonderful spicy relish. The inner stem of the banana plant makes a really delicious medium spicy curry. Flesh of the Plantains however makes the best light and creamy curry with yellow curry powder.
Unripe fruits are the best to make a light Sri Lankan plantain curry. If they are closer to ripening they carry a little too much of sweetness that intensifies while cooking and does not become creamy. I prefer starchy fragrant chunks of plantains coated with creamy coconutty sauce.
There are many plantain varieties in Sri Lanka. Some are very sweet like a dessert on its own, some are filling and subtly sweet. Ambul kesel on the other hand is sweet and sour. We Sri Lankans love our banana trees as much as we love coconuts. It is a important part of sri Lankan culture and cuisine.
Banana culture in Sri Lanka
Ash plantains however are always grown and harvested for cooking curries and savory dishes.
Sweet verities hold a prominent place during Sri Lankan new year table. Offerings to Lord buddha and gods during other religious festivals.
I can still find the plantain flowers and green ash plantains here occasionally but to enjoy the curried hearts of banana plant definitely need to find it from a freshly cut plant. Bananas signify plentifulness and there are so much fruits to go around It is eaten fresh all around the year.
Sri Lankan Plantains curry
- 1 saucier pan
- 3 green plantains
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 5 curry leaves
- 1 inch Pandan leaf
- 1 tsp Maldive fish
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- 2 tbsp red onion finely sliced
- 1 inch piece of ginger root diced
- 1 thai green chili pepper thinly sliced
- salt to taste
- Add all the ingredients into light coconut milk except plantains and thick coconut milk.
- Peel the green plantains and slice them about inch thick and diagonally, directly into the seasoned coconut milk in the pan. keep the plantains submerged in liquid while peeling to prevent them turning dark and muddy color. Staining will change the flavor of the light curry sauce.
- Cook on medium low until plantains are cooked and softened and all the water is absorbed. add teaspoon of salt near the end.
- Add thick coconut milk and cook on low until milk is simmering, bubbly and quite thick. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to your liking.