Sri Lankan cuttlefish curry

If you’ve got leftover cuttlefish in the fridge or freezer needing attending to, this is a fantastic dish to deal with it. When I was in Sri Lanka this was sometimes curiously referred to as ‘devilled’ cuttlefish, although the cuttlefish is not minced or chopped up finely. Perhaps it is a reference to its chilli heat, for even when the restaurant made it milder for my white man’s palate, was still blazing hot.

Cuttlefish curry


8 responses to “Sri Lankan cuttlefish curry

  1. Hi, I’d be interested to get a recipe for it! I’ve recently started cooking Sri Lankan and I’m loving it. In fact, I had a gorgeous coconut dal this evening!

  2. Hi Maninas,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your comments!
    Well here you go:

    You need…
    1 1/2 lbs prepared cuttlefish
    3 tbs vegetable oil
    10 dried curry leaves
    1 tsp each of whole mustard and fennel seed
    A square-inch sized piece of rampe (Pandanus leaf)
    1 tbs grated or finely chopped ginger
    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    Half an onion or a handful of shallots, finely chopped
    1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander and turmeric
    1 large tin chopped tomatoes
    1 small tin coconut milk
    Ground cayenne pepper and salt

    1. Chop the cuttlefish into bite-sized chunks. Score the thicker pieces. Wash and pat dry with kitchen paper.
    2. Put the oil in a karhai or wok and put over high heat.
    3. When smoking hot, put in the curry leaves, pandan leaf and whole seeds.
    4. After a few seconds, add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry till slightly browned.
    5. Add the ground spices, stir, and then the chopped tomatoes. Stir-fry for a few minutes. Then add the coconut milk and mix thoroughly.
    6. Stir well and reduce slightly (the real Sri Lankan dish is quite thin, but some people like a thick clinging sauce). Add as much cayenne pepper as you like and salt to taste.
    7. Add the cuttlefish pieces, mix quickly and simmer till just cooked through (don’t overcook it!). Garnish with chopped coriander leaf and serve with lots of white rice.
    Good luck!

  3. Hi,Adam
    I had never seen curry leaves. What is it? Can you get it in Japan?

  4. naoko:
    Here in Japan you can buy curry leaf, or “kari patta”, online from the Indian store Ambika Japan:
    I will post a picture later.
    Good luck,

  5. Thanks very much for the recipe, Adam! Where did you get it from?

    May I reciprocate with my mother’s cuttlefish risotto : I was going to send you the cuttlefish brudet (thick unctuous stew prepared with wine and herbs, and eaten with polenta), but I realised that I haven’t posted about it yet. Will let you know when I do!

  6. Thanks Adam,
    It’s great site! I love Indian food. I live near Kobe city where the population of Indian people is very high. I had a part time job at the Indian restaurant and they cooked delicious meals for the staffs! They were so tasty and healthy.

  7. Maninas, thank you for the recipe! I like cooking with squid ink, I usually make an Italian style pasta sauce. I will give your recipe a try if I can get hold of some good risotto rice.

  8. naoko,
    Sounds like my ideal job!
    I sometimes buy ingredients online from a company called Kobe Halal Foods (such as beef shank for making nihari), the owner is really nice and their prices very reasonable.

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