Coconut sambol

I’ve been telling you all about our trip to Sri Lanka and I think it’s about time we got talking about food!

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Coconuts are everywhere you turn in Sri Lanka and there’s nothing better in the heat and humidity than stopping at a coconut stall and drinking the fresh coconut water. It makes sense then that coconut features so much in Sri Lankan cooking.

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Coconut sambol, or pol sambol, is a condiment made with grated coconut, chilli, and lime, and it’s served just about everywhere.

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Sri Lankan people make coconut sambol using a grinding stone – man I would love to have one of these as a centrepiece in my kitchen! They’re absolutely stunning and unsurprisingly effective! It’s perfectly fine to use a pestle and mortar though, it just takes a little longer. I wouldn’t make this in a blender as you want to be squeezing the flavour out of the ingredients and working them together, not blitzing them into smithereens.

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The spicy zinginess of coconut sambol is great with curry and rice, but it works just as well on its own with some roti.

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Ingredients

Feel free to adjust the amounts to your taste!

  • 1/2 fresh coconut
  • 2-3 small red chillies
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Pinch salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 clove garlic

Method

  1. Grate the coconut into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a pestle and mortar, grind together the chillies, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir in the coconut until well combined.
  4. Squeeze over the lime juice.
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