Sri Lankan Braised Roots Stew & Coconut Dhal Dumplings

3 min read
Combine the fabulous flavours of a Sri Lankan curry with the comfort of a British stew to make this sumptuous vegan dish accompanied by coconut dumplings.

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

Cooking Time: 40 Minutes

Serves: 6


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, 1 sliced, 2 minced
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 tbsp roasted curry powder
  • 400ml can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 raw beetroot, peeled and cut into batons
  • 3 parsnips, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 400ml can of coconut milk

For the dumplings:

  • 100g split red lentils
  • 1½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • ½ green chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • ½ lime, juiced

For the Sri Lankan curry powder:

  • 10g basmati rice
  • 20g coriander seeds
  • 15g cumin seeds
  • 10g black peppercorns
  • 5g fenugreek seeds
  • 3g cloves
  • Seeds from cardamom pods


  1. To make the curry powder: In a dry frying pan, toast the rice until it’s browning, then add all the spices and toast for 3-5 mins until darkish brown but not burned. Blitz it all in a spice grinder, or crush with a pestle and mortar, then pass through a sieve into a jar or airtight container. Will keep for 2-3 weeks.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok. Scatter in the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they sizzle, add the onion, leek, garlic, chilli, celery, and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, for 8-10 mins until the onion starts to colour. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 min more, then add the tomatoes, veg, coconut milk, a tsp of salt, and 200ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 mins until the veg are tender.
  3. For the dumplings, boil the lentils in a pan of water until just cooked, then drain. Melt the coconut oil in a pan, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook until sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Put the lentils, flour, chilli, onion, spices, desiccated coconut, lime juice, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Mix with your hands until combined, then add the coconut oil and aromatics and mix to a dough. Form into 12 dumplings, then put on top of the stew, cover with a lid and cook on low for 5 mins. Top with pepper, coriander and spring onion to serve.

Credit: Rosie Birkitt