Fearne Cotton’s Sri Lankan vegetable curry with brown rice Recipe

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Warm cinnamon, root ginger and smoked paprika go together wonderfully in this tasty Sri Lankan vegetable curry. If you want to add a bit of fish, try cod or sea bass fillets. Fearne’s inspiration for this charming dish came from a holiday: “Many moons ago, before Rex and Honey came along, Jesse and I went on a far-flung adventure to Sri Lanka. It is such a vibrant country where the people smile from the heart and the food is made with love. On the entire trip, there wasn’t a dish I didn’t love. This curry is inspired by the flavours we encountered and the warmth their food provides. I love adding fish to this curry as it adds an extra boost of protein and makes it even more hearty.”


  • 1½ tbsp coconut or sunflower oil
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon½>
  • 1½ tbsp mild curry powder½>
  • ½ tsp chilli powder (optional)½>
  • 1 tsp garam masala½>
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika½>
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved½>
  • 2 x 400ml cans full-fat coconut milk½>
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced½>
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into bite-sized chunks½>
  • 200g skinless and boneless cod or sea bass fillets, cut into bitesized pieces (optional)½>
  • Sea salt½>
  • freshly ground black pepper½>
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced, to serve½>
  • Cooked brown rice, to serve½>


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the curry leaves (if using) and fry for 2–3 minutes until the leaves begin to crisp up and brown.

  • Add the onion and ginger and sauté gently for 5 minutes, until the onion has softened, then add the garlic and fry for a further minute until aromatic.

  • Add the spices, tomatoes, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Fry for a further 2 minutes until aromatic, then add the coconut milk, carrots and green pepper.

  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20–25 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through and the sauce has reduced down a little.

  • If you are using fish, add it to the curry for the last 5 minutes of cooking time, until just cooked through.

  • Serve with the spring onion scattered over the top and rice alongside.

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Top Tip

You could use chicken instead of fish in this lovely curry if you prefer, simply brown off in a pan before you start making the curry and simmer in the sauce until cooked through.

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