Green Gram Curry

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a side curry

Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

This mild vegetarian dish, made from green gram, fresh peas, cashews and carrot, is often served with biryani. It is also delicious on its own with steamed rice.


  • 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) unshelled peas or 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) shelled or frozen peas
  • 220 g ( oz/1 cup) green gram* (dried mung beans), soaked in water overnight
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 cm ( inch) piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • 8 cm ( inch) piece lemongrass, white part only, very finely chopped
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) coconut milk*, plus 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) extra
  • 1 red onion*, sliced
  • 8 cm ( inch) piece rampe (pandanus) leaf*, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked
  • 1 thin green chilli*, sliced
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon korma spice mix (store-bought)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 carrots, diced into small cubes
  • 115 g (4 oz/¾ cup) raw cashew nuts
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) coconut cream*


If using fresh peas, remove the peas from their pods and set aside. Drain the soaked green gram, then rinse and drain again. Put the green gram in a saucepan with 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) water and boil for 10 minutes, or until tender. Strain and put aside.

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, ginger and lemongrass into a paste, adding a little water. Pour 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) coconut milk into a clay pot or heavy-based saucepan and place over medium heat, then add the onion, rampe, curry leaves, chilli, pepper and the garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste. Fry for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly. If the spices start to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a little water.

Stir in 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) water and deglaze the pot using a wooden spoon to scrape off any browned bits stuck to the pot. Add the korma spice mix, turmeric, cumin, salt, carrots, peas, cashews, coconut cream and the extra coconut milk. Use a flat spoon to flatten and pack down the curry. Bring almost to the boil and then stir through the green gram. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the green gram and carrots are cooked and the liquid has almost evaporated. Serve as a side curry with chicken biryani or with rice.