Three Different Takes on ‘Pol Sambol’
The island surrounded by serene beaches, is famous for the coconuts that grow in them. While the uses of coconuts vary from medicinal to culinary, ‘Pol Sambol’ (aka Coconut Sambol/ Sambal) holds a special place in the hearts of Sri Lankans. A true Sri Lankan cherishes the combo of ‘Pol Sambol’ with bread (ideally ‘Roast paan’)/ rice/ string hoppers. Having said that, Sri Lankans do have various styles of preparing their ‘Pol Sambol’ primarily influenced by their ethnicity.
Here are three different takes on ‘Pol Sambol’:
1. Sri Lankan general ‘Pol Sambol’ (a sweet twist)
• Fresh Coconut -1/2 cup
• Red Chilli flakes- ½ tbs
• Maldive fish- 1 tbs
• Onion- 1(medium)
• Salt- ½ tsp
• Sugar- a pinch
1. Grate the coconut using coconut scraper/ use food processor to chop the coconut
2. Add maldive fish (optional), chilli flakes, salt and sugar in a stone mortar
3. Using the pestle pound everything for a minute or so
4. Add sliced onions and pound again until the onions turn mushy and well blended with chilli mixture for about 5 minutes
5. Add freshly grated coconut and pound while scraping down the sides of the motor and pound till everything mixes well
2. Sinhalese ‘Pol Sambol’ (for a more spicy and tangy twist)
• 1 fresh coconut
• 1/2 red onion finely diced
• 2 limes
• 1 tbsp of chili powder
1. Crack the coconut in half and pour the juice into a glass.
2. Shave both halves of the coconut into your bowl.
3. Make sure your red onion is finely diced and add it to the coconut.
4. Add the chili powder.
5. Add the juice of 1 of the limes into the bowl.
6. Mix well. The sambol should be moist and reddish (from the chili powder).
7. Add another half-lime worth of juice.
8. Mix a little more.
3. Indian Coconut Sambal (accompanies Indian food)
• 15 grams whole red chillies
• 2 green chillies
• 1 tablespoon tamarind
• 1 tablespoon oil
• 75 grams desiccated coconut
• ¼ onion chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic
• 1 teaspoon whole black pepper
• 2 sprigs curry leaves
• 1 ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons hot water
1. Soak the coconut in 2 tablespoons hot water.
2. In a fry pan heat the oil and fry the chillies and curry leaves for a few minutes
3. In a blender or food processor grind together first the red chillies, curry leaves, green chillies, whole black pepper, and tamarind. Once ground add the coconut and grind the whole mixture.
4. Then add the onion and salt and grind together. The sambal is now ready to be served.