Chef's Recipes

Pol sambol

O Tama Carey recipe for pol sambol, a coconut Sri Lankan dish that works with all number of curries.

By O Tama Carey
  • 25 mins preparation
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Pol sambol
"Pol is Singhalese for coconut and this sambol is one that appears in many guises throughout Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "It's a delicious side dish that works with an array of curries and any leftovers are excellent eaten on toast the next day." Makes 3 cups.


  • 15 gm (1 1/3 tbsp) dried Maldive fish flakes (see note)
  • 300 gm finely grated fresh coconut (4 cups; from about ¾ of a mature coconut)
  • 5 golden shallots, finely diced
  • 1 long green chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp each hot chilli powder and paprika


  • 1
    Pound Maldive fish and 3 tsp river salt (Carey uses Murray River salt) with a large mortar and pestle until very fine. Place in a mixing bowl with remaining ingredients and use your hands to
    mix, kneading and squeezing all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning; you want enough chilli to make you happy and enough lime juice to give it a pleasant tang. Pol sambol keeps refrigerated for a couple of days.