Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Pathola Maluwa

This is a delicious curry from the island of Sri Lanka. This is a vegan version of the curry, and is made with snake gourd and other simple pantry ingredients. This can be served with rice or ghee rice, or coconut rice.

Sri Lankan cuisine is well known for its spices, herbs, veggies, fish, and rice. Rice and coconut are the star of the cuisine, and are well known for their spicy heat! In my opinion, the heat level is similar to our Tamil Nadu food. In fact, it reminded me of the spicy and hot food I had during my younger days. We have reduced our heat level for the kids and the Sri Lankan meal was taking us back to those days.

This snake gourd curry is very easy to prepare and it is possible to get the flavor of the snake gourd in the coconut milk curry base. Maluwa is a mild curry when compared to other spicy sides from the regions' cuisine. It is a delightful experience when you serve this well balanced and flavorful curry. Though this curry is served with rice, we loved it with pol roti too. Coconut in the shredded form or in the form of milk is used in most of the Sri Lankan dishes. I followed Islandsmile and 196flavors for the Sri Lankan recipes. I adapted this curry from 196 flavors, and instead of coconut cream, I used fresh thick coconut milk and thickened the curry with a little rice flour. I made the curry a little spicier than the version I referred to. Sometimes the green Thai chilies are extra spicy or medium or mild, and this might affect the curry flavor. This was not overwhelming and it was easy to handle this heat, in fact, it tasted the best! Canned coconut milk can also be used if you cannot make fresh coconut milk. If you are using coconut cream, rice flour is not needed. 

When exploring the cuisine, like I do every time, I made a complete weekend vegan brunch from Sri Lanka. Many recipes use dried fish including this curry, and I have omitted that while making the vegan version. Yet, it was very flavorful that we repeated a couple of the dishes again. I made coconut milk rice, Pol Roti, Pol Sambol, Vegan Lunumiris, Sri Lankan Dal, Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes, and this Pathola Maluwa. 

This month we are exploring Sri Lankan Cuisine in our Shhhh! Cooking Secretly group. Narmadha suggested this theme and in this group, we partner up within the group, and suggest secret ingredients to each other. When we make the recipe, we share the picture to the entire group to guess the secret ingredients. It is totally fun, and is a great opportunity to learn many cultures and also flavor components.

Mayuri Ji is my partner this time and lover her recipe for Whole Roasted Cauliflower. This has been on my list for a longtime and am going to try it. She suggested me snake gourd and rice flour as secret ingredients. I made this delicious curry as a part of the Sri Lankan meal we enjoyed, using the secret ingredients given to me. Mayuri made this delicious Kaju Maluwa, a similar mild curry with cashews with chillies and cloves as secret ingredients. Snake gourd curry is an usual in our home, and the kootu too! This creamy version was quite different from our usual ones and I jumped into making this. We enjoyed it to the last bit. 

Serves 4

Snake gourd - 200g, 1/2-in half moon slices
Oil - 2 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Sri Lankan curry powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Pandal leaf/bay leaf - 1
Coconut milk, thick - 1.5 cups
Thai green chili - 1 or 2
Onions - 1 cup, sliced
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
Rice flour - 3/4 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup


Heat oil in a pan, add the bay leaf, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, Thai chili, and curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds.

Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute.

Add the snake gourds, Si Lankan curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, salt, sprinkle quarter cup of water, mix, cover, and cook for 6-7 minutes, until tender. 

Add the salt, coconut milk, and rice flour, cook for 3 minutes.

Serve with rice or roti.


  1. Wow Radha, a whole spread! Am sure the family must have loved it. All the dishes look so tempting. Want to try out all the dishes including the pathola maluwa.

  2. It sounds wonderfully aromatic! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Have a great weekend.

  3. Never thought Snake gourd can be so tempting. The curry is very inviting and looks perfect for everyday meals or even for parties.

  4. snake gourd or podalangai is a fav at my home too. cant wait to try out this pathola maluwa, Radha! looks AND sounds delish for sure !

  5. We loved this snakegourd maluwa a lot. In fact hubby has come back with more of the gourd and asking me to make again. Thanks a lot.

  6. Snake gourd curry sounds so flavourful. It's easy and quick to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  7. Such a lovely spread you have made. Pathola maluwa looks delicious and ideal to serve with steamed rice.

  8. We don't buy or use snake gourd often. If it were made like this, though, I think I would love to eat it more often. 🙂 The curry looks super delicious! Would love to dig into that bowl with some hot rotis.

  9. That whole spread looks absolutely wonderful... The snake gourd curry looks delicious too, would taste delicious with rice...

  10. I love this curry with steamed rice. As you have rightly said, it is creamy and mild.

  11. That looks like a feast with mouthwatering dishes. Pathola Maluwa looks so delicious and creamy. Perfect to enjoy with rice or roti.

  12. This snake gourd curry looks so creamy and delicious. I would love them with rice.

  13. Wonderful spread Radha. We love snake gourd and pathola maluwa looks irresistible. Will make it soon . Loved your vegan version. - Preethi