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Sothy with Rice Noodles

This Sri Lankan dish, a coconut curry, is one that Maya Kaimal's family has been making for many years. It's usually served with homemade rice noodles called iddyappam, but she has found rice sticks make a simple substitute. It's important, however, to get rice sticks the thickness of angel hair pasta, between vermicelli and fine spaghetti. Kaimal suggests making this only when fresh curry leaves are available.

slideshow Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 serrano or Thai chiles, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 14 curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Water
  • 8 ounces rice sticks (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the coconut milk with the shallots, serrano chiles and turmeric. Add 8 of the curry leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of water and simmer over moderate heat until thick and the shallots are softened, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and bring just to a simmer. Cover and remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice sticks and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, return to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain well and divide the noodles among 4 bowls.
  3. In a small skillet, combine the oil, mustard seeds, dried red chile and the remaining 6 curry leaves. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until the mustard seeds pop. Stir the spice mixture into the sauce along with the lime juice and a generous pinch of salt. Spoon the sauce over the warm rice noodles and serve immediately.


Rice sticks are available at Asian groceries and large supermarkets.

Contributed By Photo © Zubin Schroff Published March 1998

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