By Mark Wiens –
Sampling all the delicious Sri Lankan food is one of the joys of visiting the country. Food is not only affordable, but it’s extremely tasty. Many of the ingredients included the glorious coconut in some way or another.
While I ate a lot of food while I was in Sri Lanka, one of my favorite things was simple to make, yet packed with flavor, known as pol sambol. Pol sambol is a garnish made with freshly shredded coconut (the coconuts are not the young sweet coconuts but rather older tough coconut meat that used also to make coconut milk), chopped red onions, cloves of garlic, a squeeze of lime juice, salt and a generous amount of chili powder.
One of the reasons Sri Lankan food recipes can be so difficult to master is because there are not written rules, everyone must just taste test until the dish is perfect (unless of of course you have the motherly touch, which equals perfect culinary perfection).
To make this pol sambol recipe, here are ingredients you’ll need (makes 1 bowl):
200 grams of freshly grated coconut
1 red onion
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 spoon of salt
2 spoons of chili powder
This is of course a rough estimate of what you’ll need, you of course need to taste test frequently as mentioned in the video to make sure it tastes exactly the way you want it to.
Finely dice the red onion and garlic and add them into a bowl along with the coconut. Add salt, chili powder and lime juice and begin working the ingredients together with your hands. Keep mixing until the pol sambol turns to an orange color and is even throughout. Make sure you use your hands to mix, it’s much easier and works a lot better!
Make sure it’s slightly sour, salty enough and has a nice little kick from the chili powder.
Pol sambol is a garnish for other Sri Lankan food, but can also be eaten just with a stack of roti’s (paratha breads) or even just a loaf of bread as I demonstrated in the video.
Be careful though, pol sambol is addictive and you’ll want to eat the entire bowl yourself and immediately make more to devour!