Kalukanda House Butternut Squash Curry in aid of NHS Heroes

Lockdown love from us at Kalukanda House. We have started a series of collaborations with incredibly talented people who we love, bringing some Kalukanda House comforting experiences to you wherever you are.

Positive mindsets, human connections and cultural exchange is what defines a holiday with Kalukanda House. This series of collaborations will cover many creative areas bringing you entertainment and ideas that are simple, natural, luxurious and exotic, embodying the spirit of Kalukanda House and celebrating our partners in these efforts.

We have deep roots within Sri Lanka and the UK and as none of us can get out much, if at all, today we have partnered with a fabulous British chef to bring a Sri Lankan recipe that is amazingly inexpensive to you.

Sri Lankan cooking

About this Collaboration: Cooking for Charity

This week our chef is Tori True , founder at Chilli and Mint who has created a delicious, easy to make, recipe just for us. Even if you are not an experienced cook and want to experiment, this is a great one to start with. There are links to related recipes by Tori attached that will build your cooking skills further an add to your repertoire.

If you have ever wondered why people rave about Sri Lankan food, and how to make Sri Lankan spices, then you are in for a treat. The ingredients are available in supermarkets, it is easy to make and at the same time we are sharing a little love with our NHS frontline staff.

Sri Lankan cooking

Torie is a South Londoner who cooks delicious dishes from Sri Lanka and India and is skilled in the art of de-mystifying the ingredients, making them accessible for all.

She also offers cooking classes and I was really impressed when she took a group of us around some local shops in Tooting while pointing out different exotic vegetables that could be cooked in several ways, and then recreated certain dishes in her kitchen that literally transported me back to Kalukanda House and to my grandmother's kitchen.

The UK is home to many Sri Lankans and this week we are showcasing a delicious, hearty Butternut Squash curry created just for Kalukanda House by Torie.

The world over, the medical frontline have been incredible, and with half our roots in the UK we want to celebrate our NHS Heroes via a local initiative - Critical NHS, supporting the staff at St Georges Hospital in South London.

If you love this recipe and are able to, please consider sharing it and make a donation to help provide nourishing meals and much needed safety equipment to this cause. Link at bottom of this post.

Kalukanda House Recipes

Ready, steady, cook!

Sri Lankan Butternut Squash Curry


serves 4-6

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

10 curry leaves (if you have them)

1 red onion, sliced into half moons

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1.5 inches of fresh ginger, finely diced

1 tsp salt

900g butternut squash, cubed

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1 heaped tsp Sri Lankan roasted curry powder

1x400ml tin of coconut milk

300ml water

a couple of 2inch pandan leaves, optional


  1. Heat a deep pan and add the coconut oil. If you don't have coconut oil, you can use vegetable or groundnut oil.
  2. Add the mustard, fennels seeds and curry leaves if you have them. Allow them to sizzle in the pan for 30 seconds, before adding the onions.
  3. Now add the garlic and ginger and stir into the spices and add the salt to help soften the onion. Move around the pan for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the butternut squash followed by the turmeric, Kashmiri chilli powder and Sri Lankan roasted curry powder and mix well.
  5. Add the coconut milk, saving a little of the creamier part for later, add the water as well. IF you have them add the pandan leaves, but absolutely not essential if you don't have them to hand.
  6. Stir and then cover for 15-20 minutes, checking intermittently and giving a good stir.
  7. Add the remaining coconut milk. Check the seasoning and using a sharp knife check to see if the butternut squash is soft.

Serve with a scattering of fresh coriander leaves and some lemon or lime wedges. Serve alongside basmati rice, chapati or paratha.

If you want to add more heat to this curry you can add fresh or dried chillies when you add the mustard and fennel seeds to begin with.

Video link - Kalukanda House Butternut squash curry

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Roasted Curry Powder

Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp uncooked basmati rice

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds

5 cloves

5 green cardamom, opened

10 fresh/frozen or dried curry leaves

I haven't added any dried chillies but you can add a couple if you wish to make this a 'hotter' curry powder. If you don’t have any of the spices above, leave them out and you have created your own new version of a Sri Lankan curry powder.

  1. Warm a frying pan and then add all the spices, rice and curry leaves.
  2. Keep on a low heat and move around the pan so that they do not burn. Wonderful aromas will be released.
  3. After 5 minutes the spices, rice and curry leaves will be nicely bronzed so transfer to a bowl to cool and remove the green husks of the cardamom pods and discard.
  4. Then either pound in a pestle and mortar or use a spice grinder to grinder to form a smooth powder.
  5. Store in a sealed jar for a couple of months.

The curry powder works well with all meat curries, as well as vegetarian/vegan curries too.

Link to video for Home Made roasted curry powder



Our Collaborator

Tori True, Founder of Chilli and Mint

Follow her on instagram to find more delicious recipes including a Sri Lankan onion chutney my grandmother would be proud of!



Image credits : food images Torie True, other thanks to Robin Noguier, Jon Tyson, Steve Halama

Kalukanda House Recipes

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