Potatoes and leeks go hand in hand the world over. In the wet wilds of Wales, for instance, there is potato and leek soup, and in France vichyssoise, but on the tropical, palm-fringed island of Sri Lanka, there is leek and potato curry – also known as a ‘white curry’, because it contains no turmeric or red chilli (it is often mild enough to feed to children, too). This is a comforting dish; a soothing blanket of textures and flavours with only the crunch of the odd cashew, a little spice or a spritz of lemon juice to break with proceedings.
Leek, potato and cashew nut curry
Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as part of a meal
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 sprig curry leaves, fresh or frozen, plus a few extra, fried, to garnish
600g leeks, topped, thinly sliced into circles and well washed
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 green finger chilli, finely chopped
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
400g baby new potatoes, quartered
60g cashew nuts, toasted, plus a few extra to garnish
1 handful frozen peas, defrosted
Lemon wedges, to serve
Heat the coconut oil in a deep-sided frying pan on a medium heat, then add the curry leaves and wait for them to crackle and pop. Stir in the leeks and cook for five minutes, until soft, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli, and cook for three minutes.
Stir in the pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and salt, then add the coconut milk and potatoes; half-fill the now empty coconut milk tin with water and tip that into the pot, too. Bring the curry to a simmer, cook for five minutes, then add the cashews and peas, and simmer for a further five minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Check the curry for seasoning, transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over some lemon juice to taste. Garnish with a few fried curry leaves and extra cashews, and serve with freshly steamed jasmine or basmati rice.