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John Torode's Sri Lankan chicken curry

Take a trip with us to sunnier climes - as we join John Torode live from his tropical paradise to whip up a traditional Sri Lankan dish to banish away the January Blues!

Roasted curry powder

Serves: makes a large batch


10g uncooked rice

40g coriander seeds

10–15g cinnamon pieces

10g black peppercorns

10–18g dried chillies (depending on how spicy you like your curry)

10g cumin seeds

28g fennel seeds


  • Heat a pan over a medium–high heat. Add the basmati rice and cook for a few minutes.

  • When starting to brown, add the coriander seeds, cinnamon pieces and black peppercorns and toast for a few minutes while stirring.

  • Add the chillies, cumin seeds and fennel seeds and continue to roast in the pan for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Grind to a powder in a spice grinder.

Chicken curry

Serves: 4 - 6


50ml coconut oil or vegetable oil

2 handfuls fresh curry leaves

4 shallots, finely sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Large thumb of ginger

10 skinless boneless chicken thighs

3 tbsp roasted curry powder (see recipe)

400ml coconut milk

Cupful of Ceylon tea, optional

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh coriander and rice, to serve


  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add the curry leaves and shallot. Pound the garlic and ginger to a paste, add to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

  • Add the chicken and curry powder then cook for 5–10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

  • Add the coconut milk and a cup of water or Ceylon tea. Season with salt and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Allow the curry to simmer gently for around 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

  • Remove the lid, take out the chicken and simmer the sauce rapidly to reduce the sauce until thick. Drop the chicken back in and stir in the coriander .

  • Serve with rice

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