Pol Sambol (Coconut Sambol)
Pol sambal is one of the most popular side dishes in Sri Lanka. It is cheap and easy to make and is enjoyed from humble homes in rural areas to the 5 star hotels of Colombo. Sri Lankan’s will dive into this delicacy at breakfast, lunch or dinner! It’s usually served as an accompaniment to string hoppers (small disks of rice noodles popular for breakfast in Sri Lanka) or rice and curry at any time of day.
1 cup desiccated coconut or fresh grated coconut
One finely chopped red onion
Red chilli pieces
Ground red chilli
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
One lime or half a lemon
1 tbs finely chopped tomato*
There are several variations of this sambal, some include chopped tomato or garlic or maldive fish while others are so simple they only need coconut, lime and chilli and salt. The * indicates optional items.
If you cannot find a fresh coconut and a coconut scraper (which is very likely in Australia) moisten desiccated coconut in a little warm water or milk to soften – the aim is to make the same consistency as fresh grated coconut. Add the garlic, onion, salt, pepper maldive fish and chillies to the coconut, remembering that some of these ingredients are optional depending on your preferences. Use a motar and pestle to gently combine all the ingredients. The bruising effect of the mortal and pestle will vastly improve the flavour. Squeeze the lemon or lime liberally through the mixture and serve aside your favourite curries.
You can vary the heat in both these dishes by reducing the amounts of chilli, but for an authentic experience remember the Sri Lankans like it HOT!