Love Sri Lankan recipes? You’ll love this kale mallung, Sri Lankan stir fried kale and coconut

Love Sri Lankan recipes? You’ll love this kale mallung, Sri Lankan stir fried kale and coconut

Do you love Sri Lankan recipes? Want a Sri Lankan recipe for kale? Had enough of steaming kale, adding it to smoothies, soups and sauces? Want a kale recipe that is easy to make and is delicious? Then try this recipe for Sri Lankan recipe for kale mallung or stir-fried kale and coconut.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s super healthy. Kale is a fantastic leafy green vegetable, low in calories, high in fibre, iron, vitamin K, A and C, and calcium.

Why do some vegetable Sri Lankan recipes have fish?

Many Sri Lankan recipes for vegetable side dishes will have Maldive fish. So this recipe isn’t strictly vegetarian or vegan.

Maldive fish is a typical Sri Lankan ingredient, essentially dried tuna, and gives dishes that umami flavour. You can find Maldive fish in Indian grocery stores or order online.

If you want a fully vegetarian or vegan option then simply leave out the Maldive fish. I love to team with recipe up with a simple dhal and rice – the perfect Sri Lankan meal.

How to use Maldive fish in your Sri Lankan recipes

Maldive fish is used as a flavour enhancer or a thickening agent in many Sri Lankan recipes. It has a similar flavour profile to dried shrimps. I tend to use it when I temper my spices to extract the flavour. Whole spices fried in oil to pull out the flavours, after this I fry the garlic, ginger and onions.

How to eat your kale mallung

I love to eat my stir friend kale and coconut alongside a simple dhal with rice. Don’t limit yourself to kale, you make a mallung with most leafy green vegetables, see my recipe for cabbage mallung.

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Sri Lankan kale recipe

How to make Sri Lankan kale mallung, stir fried kale and coconut

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 a side dish 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Cuisine: Sri Lankan


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp Maldive fish
  • 1 crushed dried chilli
  • a generous pinch of curry leaves
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 200 grams kale (chopped, stems stripped)
  • Quarter tsp on turmeric 
  • juice of one lime
  • desicated coconut
  • seasoning to taste


  1. Heat up the oil in a large solid bottomed frying pan.
  2. Add in the cumin and mustard seeds, followed by the Maldive fish, crushed red chilli and curry leaves.
  3. Once the spices start to pop, add the chopped onion. Lower the heat, and allow the onions to soften.
  4. Once soft and translucent, add the garlic, and cook for about two minutes.
  5. Now add the chopped kale leaves. Stir thoroughly, coating the kale in the onion, garlic and spices. Keep stirring until the kale softens and wilts, then stir in the turmeric.
  6. Add the juice of the lime and then stir in the coconut, keep cooking until the coconut is lightly toasted and evenly distributed throughout the kale, add a little salt to bring out the flavour.
  7. Serve with basmati rice or as an accompaniment to your main dish – I love to team up my kale mallung with a simple dhal. 


  • This is an easy dish to make
  • To make this a truly vegetarian/vegan recipe leave out the Maldive fish.

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