Recipe: Peter Kuruvita’s Sri Lankan Ridged Gourd Curry


If Sri Lanka hasn’t been on your foodie radar, then it should be! From egg hoppers to tea inspired dinners at some of Sri Lanka’s finest dining establishments, the island country of spice is home to a range of cultural and culinary wonders. Try your hand at making this delightful Ridged Gourd Curry (Watakolu vanjanaya) by celebrity chef, TV personality and ‘My Sri Lanka‘ tour leader, Peter Kuruvita.

“It’s a beautiful and unique curry, using an equally unique vegetable that is surprisingly easy to grow. In Sri Lanka, this is one of the curries you would have in your rice and curry selection.”

On a recent trip there I tasted this curry after many years, and it took me straight back to my grandmother’s smoky black kitchen, where one of the house girls would meticulously clean the gourd, ensuring that the skin on the hard outer ridges was removed, but the skin within the concave dips was retained.

“If the gourd is in perfect condition, the seeds will still be white and edible; otherwise, it’s best to remove the seeds if the gourd is a bit old. There is no real replacement for ridged gourd in terms of flavour and texture, but any member of the gourd family will work in this curry.”

Ridged gourd is a tropical, deep green coloured vegetable with taut skin. Image: Leslie Seaton / Flickr

Region: Sri Lanka |  Serves: 6  | Difficulty: Easy

Preparation: 25 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes


2 ridged gourds
1 onion, diced
2 Indian green chillies, halved lengthways
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 fresh curry leaf sprig, leaves picked
1 teaspoon Maldive fish (optional), finely pounded using a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons raw curry powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder
Salt, to taste
300 ml (10½ fl oz) coconut milk
200 ml (7 fl oz) coconut cream
Juice of ½ lime
A pinch of dark roasted curry powder


  1. Take the gourds and peel the skin from the ridges, leaving the skin on the concave inner dips of the gourds. Cut each gourd in half, and then on an angle into 4 cm (1½ inch) pieces.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the coconut cream, lime juice and roasted curry powder, in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring until well combined.
  3. Bring to the boil over medium–high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the skin of the gourd is tender.
  4. Stir in the coconut cream and bring to the boil, then immediately turn off the heat.
  5. Stir in the lime juice and serve garnished with a sprinkling of roasted curry powder.

Cook’s note: Vegans and pure vegetarians can omit the Maldive fish.

Images and recipes from Lands of the Curry Leaf’ by Peter Kuruvita, Murdoch Books, RRP AUD$49.99. Photography by Alan Benson.

The Australian giveaway to win five signed copies of Peter Kuruvita’s latest recipe book, Lands of the Curry Leaf, has ended. Congratulations to the following prize winners:

Kate F. from VIC
Jeni J. from VIC
Kerrie M. from NSW
Lesley O. from SA
Rosemarie B. from VIC

All winners have been notified by email.

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