How to make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry

How to make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry

Before I started to cook with beetroot, and make curries, like this Sri Lankan beetroot curry, beetroot was the vegetable I bought, ready pickled, to be chopped up and thrown into a salad. 

I did on the odd occasion bake a chocolate cake with beetroot. But the kids discovered the beetroot and refused to eat it. No matter how good that chocolate cake was.  I relegated beetroot to role of salad filler.

Now, I love to cook with fresh beetroot. Roasting beetroot, cooking it with spices takes beetroot to another level. Beetroot raita – wow! The fuchsia pink it yields makes any plate of food resplendent and full of joy. And now, I have this most utterly divine Sri Lankan beetroot curry to share with you.

Do you need to peel beetroot?

That’s a personal thing, to peel or not to peel your beetroot. You don’t have to, and it won’t affect your final plate of food. Though, I choose to peel my beetroot. I feel that the peeling of beetroot is a personal matter.

Is cooking with fresh beetroot messy?

Cooking with fresh beetroot is utterly worth it. If your beetroot isn’t fresh you won’t get the full earthiness and sweetness of this vegetable.

Do expect your fingers to turn a violent shade of purple. It’s a small price to pay for the meal. A good scrubbing of your hands will return them to good as new.

Do you need to grate the beetroot for this Sri Lankan beetroot curry?

This recipe calls for your beetroot to be grated, cooked with spices and coconut milk. I use a hand grater, but feel free to pull out your food processor if you have one. Grating makes the beetroot buttery soft. Have patience to allow your beetroot cook until it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. There’s a dash of vinegar – which just adds a slight tingle to lips.

Personally I think this is perfect to be eaten with a pork curry otherwise I would cook up a mallung, and maybe a little sambol on the side. If you want to keep you meal totally vegetarian or vegan then try awesome recipe for Sri Lankan pineapple curry by Anusha. I think beetroot and pineapple curries are a match made in heaven. And while you’re there, check out the amazing recipes on her blog!

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How to make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Side dish
  • Cuisine: Sri Lankan


  • 500g beetroot
  • 2 tbs coconut / vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustards seeds
  •  fresh green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 10 curry leaves 
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cms of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Juice of one fresh lime


1. Top and tail your beetroot, peel if you want, and grate into a bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan then add the mustard seeds, chilli and curry leaves.

3. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook the onions until they are soft and start to turn translucent.

4. Now add the beetroot, ground coriander, sugar and vinegar. Stir into the onions and spices. Cook until the beetroot starts to soften, around seven minutes.

5. Pour in the coconut milk mix into the beetroot, cover the pan, lower the heat and allow to the beetroot to cook until the beetroot is soft and tender.  

6. Check that the beetroot doesn’t dry out – if it does add a little water. Also taste and add a little salt.

7. Just before you take the beetroot off the heat stir in the juice of the lime. And serve.

8. I love serving this with a good pork curry, why not check out my Sri Lankan black pork curry a perfect partner for this beetroot curry.



  • I like to cook this in a frying pan, and it does help to have one with a lid
  • Be patient with this recipe, it can take time for the beetroot to cook fully. You know when it will be done as the beetroot doesn’t have any bite. It should be soft and tender.

Keywords: Sri Lankan beetroot curry

2 thoughts on “How to make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry”

  • One of my favourite Sri Lankan veg curries. Really comforting and wholesome, plus very easy to make!

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