Sri Lankan pol sambol is a coconut relish that is served with just about everything there. I love everything about this and it is very tasty on its own. This hits every note on the palate, sweetness from the coconut, sour from the lime, heat from the red chilies, umami from the shallots and Maldive fish. Trust me, you will absolutely love this!
Coconuts are an abundant ingredient and used in most Sri Lankan dishes in one form or another. You must use fresh grated coconut for this recipe to appreciate it. I love any opportunity to use my Mbuzi (goat) that I purchased on my trip to Zanzibar which is how they grate coconut there. If you don’t have one, you can get a coconut grater here.
This dish is also made with an ingredient called (umbalakada) Maldive fish. This is a dried and cured skip jack tuna that adds a wonderful umami flavor. Vegetarians do not add this ingredient and it is still delicious without it, however, if you can get your hands on it, you should. It is sold in either flakes or chips.
When you make this recipe let your taste buds guide you along the way, add a little more heat, or lime or salt etc. to make that perfect balance to please your palate.
Did you know that Sri Lanka grows many varieties of coconuts? They are the fifth largest producer of coconuts in the world. One variety is called the King coconut locally called (thambili) are a bright orange variety known for its sweetness. The sweet coconut water is a favorite thirst quencher on a hot Sri Lankan day.
If you would like to learn more about the island known as “the teardrop of India”, be sure to check out “Our Journey to Sri Lanka”. There you will find recipes to serve alongside your Sri Lankan pol sambol like Sri Lankan prawn curry.
Craving even more? Be sure to join the culinary and cultural journey around the world so you don’t miss a thing, it’s free, You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook , Pinterest and youtube to follow along our journey.
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Sri Lankan Pol Sambol
A side dish or relish perfect with Sri Lankan curries or on its own.
- 1 coconut grated
- 5 dried chilies
- 6 small shallots
- 2 limes juice of
- 1 teaspoon Maldive fish
Using a mortar and pestle make a paste with the dried chilies and a pinch of salt
In a bowl, mix together the shallots, coconut, and chili paste.
Add the Maldive fish if using
Add the fresh lime juice
Add salt to taste
Mix everything together and taste, adjust as your palate dictates. The end result should be sweet, sour, savory, hot, and a heavenly bite.