Kiri Hodi- Basic Sri Lankan Curry with Coconut Milk
If you are a Sri Lankan, I have a question for you. Do you like Kiri Hodi?

Hey, I don’t want you to frown at me. I know your answer is ‘Don’t ask stupid things. Who doesn’t; like ‘kiri hodi’ with string hoppers?’

If that’s the answer, I am so happy. Because the way I believe is correct. Although you said I am stupid to ask that funny question, I know I am right!!

Most Sri Lankans love this simple (but not really) curry! This is one of the basic recipes from Sri Lankan cooking. If you don’t know how to cook ‘kiri hodi’ properly, please learn it now, because in Sri Lanka, it is a shame if you can’t cook even a ‘kiri hodi’!

Kiri Hodi- Basic Sri Lankan Curry with Coconut Milk
Kiri Hodi -Sri Lankan Food

Okay. Let’s face it. Some would say, ah this is easy peasy! Just add all ingredients and cook. Finally add thick coconut milk. Adjust salt. Kiri hodi is ready!

Yes, that’s why this is called as a basic Sri Lankan recipe. But there is a trick. You should get the perfect appearance, the aroma, the taste everything in your curry. For that, you should know the secrets behind this curry. Usually those kitchen secrets are passed generation by generation. If your amma cooks this nicely, probably you also know how to cook ‘kiri hodi’.

Kiri Hodi- Sri Lankan Food

Kiri Hodi

However, for the sake of most Sri Lankans, specially most male Sri Lankans who works abroad, I am going to share some kitchen secrets for making ‘Kiri Hodi’. Ah do you know, Food Corner is most popular among males who work outside the country. I know, they didn’t even go to the kitchen when they were in Sri Lanka, but now they have to cook their meal alone to taste Sri Lankan food. Don’t worry! You’ll see what I cook at my home through Food Corner.

Now, here are the top secrets for a perfect curry.(Thakkali Kiri Hodi)

  • Don’t use red chili powder or even don’t add curry powder.
  • Cook this curry in a very low flame.
  • Stir the curry continuously. Even before adding thick coconut milk.
  • Once thick coconut milk is added, stir the curry continuously. This will avoid lumps.
  • Remove from the flame when coconut milk starts boil. Don’t allow coconut milk to boil. If coconut milk boils, all will ruin. It will be a disaster. You’ll have a curry with lot of lumps.
  • Continue stirring even after removing the curry from the burner until the steam goes away.
  • Remember, the appearance should not be dark yellow nor very pale or white. It should be in between.
  • When you cook, you’ll get good aroma which is due to cinnamon and fenugreek. If you get that aroma, it is a sign that you gave a good start. If no aroma, oh I am sorry!
  • If you don’t use tomato, then tamarind is an option. Even you can use ‘Goraka’ (Gamboge)
Kiri Hodi-Sri Lankan Food Recipes

I used most of my tips to cook this simple Sri Lankan tomato curry, now it is your turn. If you cook this and could get the perfect curry, let me know that in a comment. I love to read your feedback!

Here is the recipe for Sri Lankan Kiri Hodi (Curry with Coconut Milk) /White Curry

Ingredients: (for 3-4 servings)
1 Medium sized tomato
½ medium sized onion sliced
2-3 green chilies sliced
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 inch Piece of cinnamon
Salt to taste
1 cup thick coconut milk
1/2 cup thin coconut milk
1-2 tspn lime juice
1 tbspn Maldive Fish (optional)


Wash and dice tomato into pieces.

In a pan, add all the spices together with, tomato, onion, green chili & curry leaves.

Add maldive fish too if you use.

Mix all & add thin coconut milk. 

Cook in low flame till onions are tender. Stir time to time.

When onions and tomatoes are cooked, add thick coconut milk.

Stir continuously till coconut milk starts boiling. Cook in a very low flame.

Adjust salt to taste. When coconut milk starts to boil, remove the pan from the stove. Add lime juice. Continuously stir for another few minutes till the curry cools down. This will avoid any lumps of coconut milk.

It is ready to serve.

Also check this Sri Lankan Potato curry recipe.You will like it.