Sri Lanka is the worlds 4th largest coconut producing nation! Not only do they export a large quantity of coconut (in various forms) but it is also a staple in the Sri Lankan diet, be it as a drink (thambili – from the King coconut, which Sri Lankans regard as a “living pharmacy” & is the most versatile and medically practical form of the coconut plant available – from Wikipedia) or a food (grated coconut, oil or coconut milk used in cooking). The shells are made into bowls and spoons amongst other things and I for one love using my coconut spoons when cooking.
A Sri Lankan rice and curry is never complete for me, without a delicious pol sambol. Pol being the Sri Lankan word for coconut. You’ll find a huge variety of recipes on how to make pol sambol, with each one being a little different. Here is my favourite version of this simple recipe!
Preparing the Pol Sambol
Serves – 4
Preparation Time – 10 – 15 mins
(will take longer if using fresh coconut as you’ve got to grate it!)
1 fresh whole coconut (grated) or 100-150g desiccated coconut
1 small tomato finely diced and de-seeded
1 small red onion or shallot finely diced
1 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
Time to get Cooking – Prepare all your ingredients. Place the coconut, tomato, onion and chilli powder in a bowl and mix throughly. I mix it by hand (using a food glove) because I find it blends better that way. But a spoon will do too. Add half of the lime juice and some salt to taste and mix again. Then add the chilli pieces (if using). Mix well. The sambol should be moist and reddish in colour from the chilli powder. Taste test and add more lime and salt if needed. Mix again and serve.
Optional but Super Tasty -
1 small green chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp maldive fish (if you can get hold of it)
Top Tips -
You can remove the seeds from the fresh chilli for a slightly less chilli taste.
If using pre-prepared desiccated coconut, soak it in a little water to re-hydrate it.
If you don’t have the inclination to make this, you can always head over the Hari Hari Shop and purchase to pre-made Pol Sambol kits with all the ingredients included, bar the fresh lime juice!