Olive Magazine
Sri Lankan Green Beans Recipe Kolamba Restaurant

Green beans with coconut

Published: January 9, 2020 at 11:15 am
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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 4 as a side

A wonderfully fragrant Sri Lankan side dish, straight from the kitchen of Kolamba restaurant in London. A homemade unroasted curry powder and plenty of fresh, grated coconut is the key

  • Gluten free
  • Vegan


  • 1 clove, chopped garlic
  • ¼ , finely chopped onion
  • ½ a thumb-sized piece, finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ground to make 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ green chilli
  • grated to make 3 tbsp fresh coconut
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 (see notes below) curry leaves
  • 5cm piece (optional, see notes below) pandan leaf
  • 500g, cut into 3cm pieces green beans
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp lime juice


  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 dried curry leaves


  • STEP 1

    To make the curry powder, grind all of the ingredients with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. This will make more than you’ll need but will keep in an airtight jar for a month.

  • STEP 2

    For the coconut sambol, put 1/2 the garlic, onion, ginger and turmeric, plus all of the black pepper, green chilli and grated coconut, into a food processor and whizz until fine.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop, then add the remaining onion, garlic and ginger, and the curry leaves, and stir.

  • STEP 4

    Add 2 tbsp of the curry powder and the pandan leaf, if using. Stir in the beans, season and cook for 3-4 minutes or until just cooked.

  • STEP 5

    Stir through the sambol, chilli flakes and lime juice, and serve.

Buy fresh curry leaves at Waitrose. Pandan leaf is used in Southeast Asian cooking to wrap fish or chicken, or to flavour stews, giving floral and vanilla-like notes. Available in Asian grocers or at thai-food-online.co.uk

*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

Try our Sri Lankan cashew nut chicken curry

Sri Lankan Cashew Nut Chicken Curry Recipe

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