Perry Rylance

Personal & Professional blog

Kukul mus kari

My take on a traditional Sri Lankan chicken curry, with thanks to Raj from Colombo.

Serves 3 – 4.


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 2 tins coconut milk
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 2.5cm / 1in piece fresh root finger, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • ½ tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground garam masala
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • Salt


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the rest of the whole spices – cardamom pods, cloves, curry leaves. Stir for half a minute.

Add the garlic, ginger and onions, stir often, cook until golden brown. Add the ground spices – tumeric and garam masala. Chilli powder is entirely optional, if you aren’t a fan of heat, omit it. Mix well for a minute or two, until the spices are cooked in.

Add the chicken, mix, then add the coconut milk. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook for a final 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to become soft.

Serve hot, optionally, garnish with some fresh coriander and finely chopped green chillis.