Homemade at Dani’s: Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry

I can’t get enough of curry. I would eat it for breakfast everyday if I could. I love the complexity of curries and how diverse they are within Asia and around the World. When I was I was growing up one of my favourite meals was mum’s ‘curry’ made up of minced beef sprinkled with Keens curry powder then served up on buttered toast. I still salivate at the thought of it! It came as a delightful surprise when I ventured to South-East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent and discovered just how different and delicious curries taste within every country.

During my first night in Sri Lanka I ordered a Sri Lankan vegetable curry and was completely taken a back when the waiter bought me around four different curries, plus rice, papadams, sambol and pickle! I told the waiter a mistake had been made, I had only ordered one curry, he laughed at me and told me that in Sri Lanka this is what it means to order a vegetable curry. I wasn’t about to complain, I had some of the best food I’d ever tasted right in front of me for around $5.

In this second webisode of Homemade at Dani’s I invite you into my home and share with you the secret to a great Sri Lankan pumpkin curry as well as few things you may have not know about me. Enjoy!

Filmed and edited by Darwin Ramirez

PS: Did you know that one in seven people go to bed hungry every night. That’s hard to digest isn’t it? About a billion people don’t have enough food to eat so while you’re snacking on afternoon tea why not spare a few seconds to check out Oxfam’s Stop Hunger campaign and how you can help stop hunger in countries like Sri Lanka by helping people start growing their own produce. Learn more at Oxfam

Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry 

Serves 4


Roasted Curry Powder: You will have more curry powder then needed in this recipe, store in an air-tight jar for up to 2 months. 

2 tablespoons corriander seed

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1 tablespoon cumin seed

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 cardamon pods

Sprig of curry leaves

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground roasted rice


1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 teaspoon ginger, finely diced

4 small or large green chillies (if you like it hot then use the small ones)

1 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons fenugreek seed

1 teaspoons ground corriander seed

1 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons Maldive fish flakes/chips (optional if you would prefer a vegan curry)

2 sprigs curry leaves

2 sticks of cinnamon

2 pandan leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

500g pumpkin, diced

2 cups of coconut milk


Roasted Rice & Coconut: You will have more curry powder then needed in this recipe, store in an air-tight jar for up to 2 months.

1/2 cup long grain rice

1/2 cup dessicated coconut


How You Make It: 

  1. To make the roasted curry powder place a medium sized fry pan over low heat, add all spices and curry leaves and dry-roast for about 10 minutes, until spices smell delicious and have turned slightly golden.
  2. Place spices and curry leaves in a mortar and pestle, allow to cool, then grind until you form a fine powder. This alternatively can be done in a coffee grinder or Thermomix. Set aside.
  3. To make the curry place a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil and gently fry onions until translucent then add remaining ingredients in order that they are listed. After you have added the coconut milk, reduce heat to low or a gentle simmer and cook pumpkin until tender. If coconut milk is reducing too quickly, add more coconut milk, you do not want a dry curry.
  4. To make roasted rice and coconut powder place a small fry pan over medium heat add rice and dry-roast until golden, this may take up to 10 minutes, remove from fry pan and then repeat process with coconut, this should only take a few minutes.
  5. Place roasted rice and coconut in a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste. Set aside.
  6. Once pumpkin is tender, add 2 heaped teaspoons of roasted curry powder and roasted rice and coconut powder, stir until combined, then serve with steamed rice and other Sri Lankan accompaniments like dahl and roti. Enjoy!

Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry

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18 Responses to “Homemade at Dani’s: Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry”

  1. Kelvin
    June 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    It’s great. i love curry, esp. with complicated favour.

  2. jumbo
    June 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    looks delicious!

  3. June 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Love these flavours, a great vegetable curry, just right for winter in the Blue Mountains.

  4. Simon H
    June 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Hello Dani,

    once again great job with your blog.

    I look forward to seeing more videos in the future.


  5. Chandy
    July 21, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Hey danny

    Im Sri lankan my self and im married to a greek and i haven’t had a chance to take my wife to Sri Lanka yet but i wanna convince her that there are wonderful vegetarian dishes and we need not necessarily always have to have meat…. and what you are doing helps me lol…

    keep adding more vids…

    hopefully you would open out a restaurant one day an we could visit…
    great work keep it up..
    all the best ..

  6. July 22, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Loved the post so much I had a go at my own veg curry!
    Check it out

    Love ya…


  7. October 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I have a Sri Lankan background and really enjoy this curry. It’s nice to see you have a diverse range of recipes on your site!

    • danivenn
      October 15, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks very much! I love Sri Lankan food.

  8. November 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Hey, I’m from Sri Lanka and a big fan of Masterchef :). Glad to hear that you visited our little corner of the world. Hope you enjoyed.


    • danivenn
      November 12, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks so much. Yes I LOVE Sri Lanka, one of my favourite places to visit. Can’t wait to return soon! : )

  9. Stanley Zagorski
    May 8, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    Hi Dani !
    Watched the Masterchef series today here in London, Uk to see you have been dropped from the competition but glad to see you carrying on with Asian cooking.

    have you any books printed with your recipes that i can purchase?

    Where are you situated in OZ?

    Yours sincerely

    Stanley z.

    • danivenn
      May 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Hi Stanley! Glad that you enjoyed the series! No cookbook as yet. I’m based in mighty fine Melbourne. Cheers, Dani

  10. Ananda Herath
    July 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Hi Dani
    This Sri Lankan pumpkin curry is authentic and as a Sri Lankan from Colombo, I am glad that you have chosen to highlight it. I wish you even greater success in your culinary career.

    • danivenn
      July 3, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks very much Ananda!! I’m glad you approve! I hope to come to Sri Lanka very soon!

  11. Tharake
    August 29, 2013 at 1:12 am #

    I enjoyed watching this twice! You got it exactly correct , btw was wondering from where did you find pandan leaves!

    • danivenn
      September 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      I buy pandan leaves from Asian grocers, you can find them fresh or frozen. Thanks! : )

  12. Yohan
    September 15, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    I really enjoyed watching your cooking. And I watched Msterchef TV episodes in Sri Lanka. Came back here again and learn more and more Sri Lankan foods. Love you dani.. Best of luck!


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