Pol sambol

A coconut never goes to waste in Sri Lanka. Pol sambol is a side dish oftentimes eaten with stringhoppers, hoppers and curries. It should be eaten fresh, like a salad, so make it right before the meal, to preserve and enjoy the flavours.


Grated coconut (that has been juiced for its milk), diced ripe red tomatoes, diced red onions, slivers of small green chilli, lime. I have also tried a pol sambol in Mirissa with the addition of sliced winged beans – this added crunch adds texture to the pol sambol, if you so desire to have it as a salad.


Starting with the grated coconut, ensure that this is sufficiently dry to prevent it turning into a coconut milk salad. Using a pestle and mortar, combine and pound tomatoes, onions and green chilli until it resembles a paste. Combine the coconut with the paste in large pan, using your hands to squeeze the ingredients together. This allows the juices of the paste to integrate well with the coconut. Once you’ve had your fun, sprinkle with salt and then squeeze in the lime, then combine. Taste and adjust salt and lime as required.

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