Sri Lankan braised roots stew & coconut dhal dumplings in a casserole dish

Sri Lankan braised roots stew & coconut dhal dumplings

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 40 mins

More effort

Serves 4 - 6

Combine the fabulous flavours of a Sri Lankan curry with the comfort of a British stew to make this sumptuous vegan dish accompanied by coconut dumplings

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: Per serving (6)

  • kcal474
  • fat26g
  • saturates21g
  • carbs41g
  • sugars16g
  • fibre13g
  • protein11g
  • salt1.2g
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  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 onion, finely sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 leek, finely sliced



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • 3 garlic cloves, 1 sliced, 2 minced
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and finely chopped



    Part of the capsicum family, chillies come in scores of varieties and colours (from green…

  • 2 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tbsp roasted curry powder (see below)
  • 400ml can chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 2 raw beetroot, peeled and cut into batons



    A favourite in 1970s British salads (cooked and pickled in vinegar), beetroot is a root…

  • 3 parsnips, sliced



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise – it looks…

  • 3 carrots, sliced



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 400ml can coconut milk
    Coconut milk in a glass, with half a coconut

    Coconut milk

    ko-ko-nut mill-k

    Coconut milk is not the slightly opaque liquid that flows from a freshly opened coconut –…

For the dumplings

  • 100g split red lentils
  • 1½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • ½ green chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • ½ lime, juiced



    The same shape, but smaller than…

For the Sri Lankan curry powder

  • 10g basmati rice
  • 20g coriander seeds
  • 15g cumin seeds
  • 10g black peppercorns
  • 5g fenugreek seeds
  • 3g cloves
  • seeds from 3g cardamom pods

To serve

  • sliced spring onion
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • fresh coriander leaves


  1. To make the curry powder: In a dry frying pan, toast the rice until it’s browning, then add all the spices and toast for 3-5 mins until darkish brown but not burned. Blitz it all in a spice grinder, or crush with a pestle and mortar, then pass through a sieve into a jar or airtight container. Will keep for 2-3 weeks.

  2. Heat the oil in a wok. Scatter in the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they sizzle, add the onion, leek, garlic, chilli, celery and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, for 8-10 mins until the onion starts to colour. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 min more, then add the tomatoes, veg, coconut milk, a tsp of salt and 200ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 mins until the veg are tender.

  3. For the dumplings, boil the lentils in a pan of water until just cooked, then drain. Melt the coconut oil in a pan, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook until sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Put the lentils, flour, chilli, onion, spices, desiccated coconut, lime juice and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Mix with your hands until combined, then add the coconut oil and aromatics and mix to a dough. Form into 12 dumplings, then put on top of the stew, cover with a lid and cook on low for 5 mins. Top with pepper, coriander and spring onion to serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jul, 2020
This is a very strange recipe. I didn't have fenugreek seeds and we didn't include parsnips, but apart from that kept everything the same. It seems like there was way, way too much spice mix here. The volumes of spices are over the top. I didn't even add it all and it was ruined by having too much spice. Could it be a mistake? Different story with the dumplings though - they were sweet, buttery and the fresh onion is lovely. In future we'll divorce the dumplings from this stew and search for a happier marriage for them.
Emily Hall's picture
Emily Hall
10th Feb, 2020
Dumplings were delicious- will definitely make again. The stew was not so good. The root vegetables didn’t work and the parsnips in particular dominated and made it taste weird like a casserole- like a bad fusion dish. If you make the stew do it with more Asian staples like peppers and mushrooms, or maybe sweet potatoes and okra.
Elisabeth K
7th Apr, 2019
I have made the dumpling only. Used chickpeas instead. Added 1 egg (no vegan). It came out beautifully. Taste, shape, texture all good. I made smaller balls, 20. I will try the stew, too. By reading it I know it's a five star dish for me. Thanks for the recipe upload.
29th Mar, 2018
Wow. This dish is a stunner. It was good to put together over an afternoon, starting with the spices - I had no fenugreek seeds but the rest toasted up nicely and smelt divine. I made the dumplings as above but had to add a bit of extra oil so that they held together and firmed them up in the fridge. Fair bit of chopping the veg, but the result was well worth it. My husband loves dumpling stews and was pleasantly surprised at how unusual but delicious this was.
27th Jan, 2018
I really disagree with the person before me. This dish was amazing and I can't wait to make it again. I'm really glad I made extra spice mix! The stew is sweet and warming and full of flavour, perfect on its own, but it's really something special with the dumplings added. The dumplings are quite large, and if not cooked long enough, can definitely seem stodgy. I'd maybe suggest reducing the amount of flour in them a little bit but otherwise they are perfect.
18th Jan, 2018
This is a dish out of the hall of fame of "Con-Fusion". The combination of "The best of British root veggies" and south east Asian flavorings goes so absolutely not well together in this dish. The dumplings are super stogy and lack taste. No amount of coconut, of which this recipe uses plenty can cover this up. Quite why we should prep so much of the spice mix is a mystery to me, a quarter of the amount of the ingredients will go a long way in this recipe. One of only a handful of BBCGF recipes I am sure to never cook again.
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