Sri Lankan sambols

Sambols are side dishes to rice, they’re eaten in the same way as chutneys in Indian cooking.

The following recipes for sambols use Maldive fish, dried fish from the Maldive Islands. The nearest equivalent is Bombay Duck, you may need to find a good Asian food shop to get some.

Thakkali sambol – Tomato sambol

This is very simple to make, there are no exact ingredients or quantities, so improvise.

Tomatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Thick coconut milk
Maldive fish, crumbled
Onions, sliced
Green chillies or capsicum, sliced
Squeeze of lime or lemon juice
Salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients well together.

Pipinge sambol – Cucumber sambol

Ribbons of cucumber in a spicy, tangy dressing. Asian cucumbers are smaller than Western ones, and have large seeds, like melons. So if you make this dish with an Asian cucumber, use a whole one.

½ cucumber
1 teaspoon Maldive fish, crumbled
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies or a little sweet pepper, finely sliced
2 tablespoons thick coconut milk
Salt and sharp vinegar to taste

Thinly pare the cucumber, cut it in half.
Using a sharp knife, cut the cucumber thinly, cutting round and round working your way to the middle. Discard the seeded part.
Roll up the 2 long pieces together and cut into strips.
Put into salt water, leave for a few minutes.
Squeeze to remove all the liquid, put into dish and add the remaining ingredients.
Mix well and serve.

Loonu Miris Dehi Ambul – Onion sambol

This is slightly different because it’s cooked.

Onions – finely chopped
Red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
Maldive fish, crumbled
Lime or lemon juice
A little curry powder
Salt to taste

Instead of serving this raw, fry all the ingredients in a little oil in a pan. Some cooks like to use dried prawns instead of Maldive fish.
Goes well with rice dishes and curries.

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