I love this typically Sri Lankan curry—although it sounds unusual it works very well. But it nearly started a riot while Karen and I were working in Fiji. Most of the men on the construction crews there were Fijian Indians, very particular about their south Indian-based curries. One night after I had cooked a Sri Lankan buffet for the resort guests we served the leftover curries to the Indian guys. Everything was fine until they ate some of the pineapple curry. I think they suspected that the kitchen staff were trying to wind them up—they all downed tools and went off to the general manager’s office to complain. It took a long time for me to convince them that I only had their wellbeing in mind when I served them pineapple curry.
Things changed after that—they built their own kitchen next to their barracks and never had to deal with the resort kitchen again. This recipe is dedicated to Mani and the hard-working and immensely talented building team on Vatulele Island Resort, Fiji.
Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion, pandanus leaf, lemongrass and curry leaves and cook over low heat for 6–8 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
Add all the remaining ingredients except for the ground fennel, simmer for 5 minutes, then add the fennel, simmer for 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and serve.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.