Spicy Ash Plantain Curry

Ash plantain (Saambal Vaalai, as it is called in Tamil) is often used in Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine. I am not very familiar with the varieties of plantains but as far as I am aware, ash plantain is the more common and popular variety in Sri Lanka and is a cooking plantain.

Today’s recipe is that of an ash plantain curry that my mother quite often makes at home.

ash plantainSpicy Ash plantain Curry

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 3

Spicy Ash Plantain CurryIngredients:

  • Ash plantain – 2
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onion – ½
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Thin coconut milk – ½ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Low fat oil – 1 tbsp + more, for light frying


  1. Peel the ash plantains and slice them.
  2. Lightly fry the ash plantain slices in a little oil. Keep aside.
  3. In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and sauté the fenugreek seeds, chopped onion and curry leaves for a minute.
  4. Add the lightly fried ash plantain slices to the pan. Mix well and continue stir-frying for another 2 – 3 mins.
  5. Then, add the tamarind extract to the pan, followed by the thin coconut milk and the curry powder.
  6. Season the curry with salt to taste. Mix well and cook the curry for about 10 mins till the gravy thickens.
  7. Just before removing the pan from stove, add a tsp of sugar and mix well.
  8. Serve the spicy ash plantain curry with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


2 thoughts on “Spicy Ash Plantain Curry

    • Thank you, Luca. An ash plantain will not ripen to a fruit. This green in the picture is the extent it gets to ripening as it is a variety that is used only for cooking in Sri Lanka. Not only curry, there are so many stuff that we make from ash plantain – salad, fry, chips, cutlets etc. – it is a popular vegetable here.

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