All About Beans, Curries, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Sri Lankan Style Green Bean Curry. Bonchi Maluwa.

Young fresh fine green beans are a joy.  I’ve been looking for a recipe to show them off and I think I’ve found one.  Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry is a traditional recipe, which inevitably has many versions.

Here’s mine.

I’ve used what I believe to be a traditional spice combination, which is quite an unusual one, and I’ve thickened the sauce with ground sunflower seeds to make it a little richer.

The sauce is mellow, with a sharp background hit of cloves and fenugreek.

This recipe is gluten-free.

Hope you enjoy.




Serves 2-3


  • 450gms. fine french green beans
  • 2-3 tbs. water
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 4cm stick fresh ginger
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 0.5 – 1 tsp. chilli powder (this curry needs some heat but really shouldn’t be too hot)
  • 1/4 tsp. fenugreek
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 30gms. sunflower seeds
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of sugar
  • 400ml. coconut milk
  • 1 tbs. coconut oil


  • Trim and wash green beans.
  • Slice the beans into sections 3-4 cm. long.  Set aside.
  • Grind 30gms. sunflower seeds until fine.
  • Peel and roughly chop onion.
  • Peel and roughly chop ginger.
  • Peel and roughly chop garlic.
  • Place onion, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend until you have a smooth paste.
  • Add a little water as necessary  to make the blender work. ( 2-3 tbs.?)
  • Bruise cardamom pods and remove seeds.
  • Place cardamom seeds, cloves, fenugreek, cinnamon powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt in a grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.  Set aside.
  • In a deep-sided pan, with a tight-fitting lid, on a medium heat, place 1 tbs. coconut oil.
  • When oil is hot, add mustard seeds.  Let them sizzle until they pop.  30 secs. ?
  • Reduce heat and add the spice mix.  Cook for 1 min. until the spices are fragrant.  Avoid burning.
  • Add onion/garlic/ginger paste and cook gently for 10 mins.
  • The sauce will reduce.
  • Add ground sunflower seeds, stir to combine and cook gently for 3 mins.
  • Add chopped green beans.
  • Add coconut milk. Stir to combine. Bring to a very gentle simmer.  Avoid boiling.
  • Reduce heat to a minimum (I used a heat diffuser), cover the pan, and simmer for 20-25 mins. until the beans are perfectly tender.  Don’t overcook the beans, or else they’ll become soggy …..
  • Add lime juice and a pinch of sugar.  Stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve immediately with rice or flatbreads, and garnished with a dob of coconut yogurt.










7 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Style Green Bean Curry. Bonchi Maluwa.”

    1. Thank you for your comment! Greatly appreciated. It’s interesting to me too… I always find fenugreek slightly bitter…which is why I am often cautious with it…. I must hone my taste buds…spices are so amazing! 🙂


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