Kottu roti (literally ‘chopped roti’) is perhaps the defining street food of Sri Lanka, their equivalent of a burger in terms of sheer popularity. The curry recipe calls for a lot of ingredients and preparation, so I’ve made double the quantity you need, so you can freeze a batch for next time. You could also speed things up by using leftover curry and by preparing the veg in advance, so when you are ready to eat it’s as quick as a regular stir fry. It’s traditionally cooked on a large flat griddle over a barbecue, but a large wok or frying pan is fine too.
Begin by making the spice powder. Add all the ingredients to a dry frying pan and set over a medium heat. Toast the spices, stirring regularly, for about 3 minutes until they are a deep colour and smell deliciously aromatic. Remove from the heat, tip into a spice mill or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.
Transfer the spices into a large bowl and add the chicken and a tablespoon of oil, mixing well until the meat is evenly coated. Set aside at room temperature for an hour to marinate, or if you want to make it ahead of time, you can leave it in the fridge overnight.
Pour another tablespoon of oil into a large heavy-based pan and set over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, half the garlic and the grated ginger, and sweat gently for 10 minutes until translucent and softening. Add the chicken, increase the heat a little and stir fry for a few minutes until the meat is sealed. Finally, add the tomato, coconut milk, cider vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt, bring to a simmer and allow to bubble and reduce for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
Once cooked, leave the curry to go cold. You only use half the curry, so freeze the remainder for another time. When you are ready to eat, heat a large wok, frying pan or grill plate until really hot and toast the roti one at a time on both sides. When they are all toasted, chop into 3cm pieces and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan or griddle and add the leek, spring onion, carrot and cabbage, stir frying over a high heat for a couple of minutes until just starting to colour. Add the sliced ginger, the remaining garlic, chillies, curry leaves, cumin, soy and ½ teaspoon of salt and stir fry for a further minute. Push the vegetables to one side and add the beaten egg, stirring until just scrambled, then mix through the vegetables.
Add the cooled curry, stirring through until everything is really well mixed. Finally, stir through the chopped roti and cook until everything is piping hot. Serve immediately with lime wedges to squeeze over.