Sri Lankan Varai

This isn’t so much a recipe, but a what-do-you-do-with-veggies-that-you-need-to-use-up approach to cooking. My default is to turn it into a Sri Lankan varai, a lightly cooked vegetable dish.

In this case, I had leeks, cabbage, and carrot that I needed to use.

  • Chop leeks (remember to rinse them, or you may end up eating grit)

  • Sauté in a bit of oil until golden-translucent, with mustard seed and cumin seed.
  • Add chopped cabbage. Add carrots, cut up small. (This method also works with thawed frozen mixed veg; drain the excess water).

  • Stir on medium-high for 5-10 minutes, until partially cooked and a little browned. If you want it spicier, add chopped green chilies (or crushed red pepper, or cayenne).

  • Stir in desiccated (not sweetened!) coconut, salt (1 t.), and a little turmeric

  • Cover and turn to medium low for 5-10 minutes, so veggies can cook through (depending on what veggies you’re using, you may be able to skip the covering stage — peas don’t need it, for example)

  • Remove lid and cook a few minutes more, stirring, until water has evaporated. Serve hot with rice and curries.

NOTE: Day after, this is easy to reheat with a little oil and leftover rice, scrambling a few eggs in, to make a healthy and filling vegetarian meal. You could also sauté some ground beef, and stir this in with rice similarly; we’ll be doing that for dinner tonight.

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