Potato and Coconut Milk Curry (Ala Kiri Hodi)


My grandparents place in Sri Lanka was always full of people. With 7 kids and with each of my grandparents coming from large families there were cousins, friends, acquaintances galore. My mum says that holidays were always frantic with cousins and friends descending on the house.

During their younger days, my mum and her siblings would often entertain friends on the estate. It’s a novel experience for many from the city so there’s plenty of interested parties. My mum tells the story of a time when friends of her brothers and cousins were visiting. My great-grandmother, who had always been privileged and was used to hosting versus cooking, was also in attendance.  Now these were typical boys, big eaters  and they made quite a dent in the food my mother and her sisters had prepared. My great-grandmother, always the perfect hostess, was unaware or oblivious of this and encouraged the boys to “eat, eat”, even though the food was fast running out. My mother and her sisters were in a panic, the curries were dwindling and thanks to the fabulous hostess, the boys were still eating.

A quick thinking cousin of my mum’s grabbed the bowl of potato curry from the table, rushed to the kitchen and held it deftly under the sink. Suddenly the dearth of potato curry seemed a thing of the past. Much of the other curries followed suit. Mum says that the hungry, sated, probably slightly intoxicated young men never noticed the difference. And my great-grandmother kept serving!

I really don’t recommend you do this to this delicious curry!



  • 400g potatoes (about 3 medium sized)
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 green chilies sliced down the middle
  • 5 -6 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek (Uluhal)
  • 1 pandan leaf, torn into small pieces
  •  1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish
  • 1 tin  coconut milk
  • salt to taste


In a medium saucepan, place all the ingredients save the the coconut milk. Cover the potatoes with water and place on a medium heat.


Cook until the potatoes are just done and add the coconut milk . Simmer for a few minutes until the potatoes are done and the gravy has thickened. Season to taste



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