Cook with UNA - Sri Lankan potato curry

Did you know that UNA Exchange made a cookbook? 2019/2020 volunteers Helene and Loeiza got their hands on the second edition, and guess what… They are going to try as many recipes as they can! 

UNA recipes

For our first UNA recipe, Helene chose a vegan dish - a luscious Sri Lankan potato curry. Are you ready? Let’s get cookin’!


Sri Lankan potato curry

(6 servings - Prep. time: 20 min. - cooking time: 45 min. - vegan - not gluten-free - adaptable to gluten-free)

  • -2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • -2 onions, chopped
  • -2 green chilies
  • -1 tsp mustard seeds
  • -75 gr desiccated coconut
  • -2 tbsp mild curry paste
  • -1/2 tsp turmeric
  • -5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • -6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • 200 gr fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • Juice of one lime

Nota bene from Helene: 

I  did not have potatoes so I tried this curry with sweet potatoes instead. The curry had less texture as a result but it had that great “melt in the mouth” factor instead.

I did not have mustard seeds and forgot to ask for my housemate’s mustard so I simply put other types of spices (ginger, cilantro…)! I will definitely try this recipe again with potatoes and mustard. 

I also added fried onions and a fresh tomato on my plate for my toppings! 


1/ Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions together with the chilies, mustard seeds and desiccated coconut until the coconut is toasted and the mustard seeds have “popped”. 2/ Add the potatoes and carrots along with turmeric and salt and fry until the vegetables are coated with the spices. 3/ Add the curry paste and stir-in, then add the coconut milk and enough water so that the carrots and potatoes are covered. Cover and cook until the potatoes are well cooked (around 40 minutes). 4/ Ten minutes before the end of cooking time add the spinach to the pan. 5/ When the dish is cooked pour in the lime juice and serve with rice and plenty of naan/roti/chappati. Bon appetit!   Photos by Helene Chaland