Some weeks ago I got a cookbook with recipes from Sri Lanka’s kitchen as a present. This was something completely new to me and I started trying out different curries and other dishes which are typical for this small country. No main meal is served at a Sri Lankan table without sambols: little bowls filled with sambol are served to provide an additional dimension of intense and vivid flavor. Each sambol has its own unique combination of flavours and they are being served to different meat and vegetable curries, but also as a part of breakfast with Sri Lankan typical coconut bread Rotti.



Pol sambol (coconut sambol)


  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 chillies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chilli poweder
  • 5 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup desiccated fresh coconut
  • juice of ½ lime



Put onion, chilli, garlic, chilli flakes, chilli powder, curry leaves in a food processor and blend. Add the salt, pepper and coconut and blend until mixture is bound. Remove from food processor, mix in lime juice and serve.


Mint sambol


  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ⅔ cup desiccated  cup desiccated fresh coconut
  • ¼ cup sultanas
  • 1 chilli, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of ½ a lime



Wash and drain mint leaves. Place in a food processor and grind with garlic, onion, coconut, sultanas and chilli. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice.




Recipe adapted from Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayaka.

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