Kiri Hodi - Tumeric Coconut Stew

In Sri Lanka, this dish is equal to a "poor man's stew" with only a few basic ingredients, but simply aromatic and delicious and one of the quickest dishes you can make. The silky smooth coconut milk base gets a golden lift from turmeric and a fresh spritz of lime gives it a citrus kick, while the onion and green chili adds earthy flavor. Serve with rice or in a bowl with toasted bread for dipping.


  • 1 can thick coconut milk
  • Water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 5-6 curry leaves (optional) 
  • 2 inch Pandan leaf (optional)
  • Salt to taste


    • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan
    • Fill the empty coconut milk can with filtered water and add to the saucepan
    • Start the saucepan on medium heat and bring to a simmer
    • Once simmering, stir slowly and constantly until boiling
    • Keep stirring for two more minutes
    • Taste the stew and adjust for salt preference
    • Turn off heat and rest for five minutes
    • Add half a teaspoon of lime juice and mix well. Taste again and add the remaining lime juice if preferred.

    Serve hot over any kind of rice or in a soup bowl with toasted bread or naan on the side for dipping.

    Tip: Warm coconut milk will develop a layer on top as it sits still and cools. Stir before serving.

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