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pol sambol(Sri Lankan Coconut Sambol).

Coconut sambol or pol sambol in Sinhalese is your quintessential dish to serve with rice, bread, stringhoppers.

Pol sambol is a spicy coconut sambol made with freshly scraped coconut, red chillie powder, shallots, green chillies as key ingredients.

Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian and so good.

Read through a Sri Lankan menu, have dinner at a Sri Lankan restaurant and you’ll notice a relish made up of freshly grated coconut.

You can serve the pol sambol recipe for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

It’s spicy, addictive and makes the ideal accompaniment anytime at home.

What is pol sambol?

If you are not familiar with the term pol sambol or coconut sambal is a coconut-based sambol made with a handful of ingredients.

It’s one of the most popular Sri Lankan dishes that need to be tried.

Coconut is an essential part if not a key ingredient to Sri Lankan cooking.

We use the thick, thin coconut milk to make gravies for our curries and freshly grated coconut is used to make a spicy coconut sambol.

Just try adding a bit of freshly scraped coconut into your cooked rice and see how a bowl of rice transforms.

Sri Lankan coconut sambol in a spoon.

Difference between scraped coconut and desiccated coconut.

Keep in mind, that scraped coconut is different from desiccated coconut because there is a difference in flavour and texture.

The latter is hydrated and quite dry whereas the first has a wet consistency and is much creamier in flavour.

What to serve with pol sambol(coconut sambol

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how to make a sri lankan coconut sambol image

Three ways you can make the pol sambol.

  • Use a mortar and pestle to grind all the spices and the fresh coconut.  this is one of two traditional ways of making the pol sambol.
-how to make a Sri lankan Coconut sambol-2
  • Using the “mirisgala”, just like the mortar and pestle,
  • is a traditional Sri Lankan grinding stone used to make spice pastes and to make certain condiments like pol sambol. 
Sri Lankan coconut sambol(pol sambol).
  • If you have neither of these use your hands to mix and combine ingredients, I advise the use of disposable gloves as you will be mixing chilli powder, green chillies and black pepper.
Frequently asked questions: coconut sambol
  • Can I use desiccated coconut to make pol sambol?
    • The sambol always tastes better with freshly scraped coconut.
    • But for anyone living overseas, I understand the difficulty in finding fresh, scraped coconut. so the next option would be dessicated coconut.
  • How to prep dessicated coconut to make pol sambol.
    • Dessicated coconut is dry and dehydrated for longer shelf life. If you are using dessicated coconut to make pol sambal, you will need to hydrate the dessicated coconut to remove the dryness of it.
    • This naturally happens with the sliced onions, tomato and lime juice you add to the sambol.
    • Mix well and after a few minutes, you’ll realise that the dessicated coconut sambol will look somewhat similar to pol sambol.
  • How long does pol sambol stay fresh?
    • Keep in mind, that this is a raw sambol, usually mixed with your fingers.
    • Unless the leftover is refrigerated, the Sambol can spoil easily. especially in the summertime or on very hot days.
    • To keep the pol sambol longer, try making the kalupol coconut sambol, I have given below.
  • How much fresh coconut should I use for 2-3 individuals?
    • The following recipe uses a whole coconut, the amount is more than enough for 5-6 individuals.
    • If you are making the coconut sambol for 2-3 individuals, use 1/2 a coconut which will yield 1 cup and maybe a little bit more. 
    • Reduce the rest of the ingredients mentioned in the ingredient section in half for 2-3 individuals.
More scraped coconut recipes!

Kalupol coconut sambol

Sri Lankan yellow coconut sambol.

Carrot-coconut stir-fry

Green beans and coconut stir-fry.

Cabbage and coconut mallung

Storing.

Refrigerate within a few hours of making the pol sambol.

consume within 24-hours.

Freezing.

Avoid freezing.

Reheating.

Once refrigerated, you can reheat the pol sambol to consume within 24 hours.

Reheat the coconut sambol by, adding the sambol to a frying pan and reheating over low heat.

For best results, heat until there is no moisture left and slightly toasted.

Stop food wastage by

Only make as much as you need as coconut sambol is a dish best eaten when made fresh.

Any leftovers can be made into sandwiches, butter the bread, add the sambol and a slice of cheese(optional).

RECIPE DIFFICULTY- EASY

How to make pol sambol.

The ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.

Ingredients to make pol sambol

1 freshly scraped Coconut (see the quantity for 2-3 individuals mentioned above).

3 medium-sized onions chopped

1 large tomato chopped

2 Limes

2 green chilli finely sliced

1-2 teaspoons of red chilli powder(reduce or increase as per your need)

Salt to taste

2 teaspoon of pounded Maldive fish(optional but do not add if you are a vegetarian or vegan)

Method

Have all the ingredients ready.

image of ingredients needed to make coconut sambol(pol sambol).

If you are using a “mirisgala” or a small mortar and pestle.

Add the sliced onions, green chillies, Maldive fish(do not add if you are a vegetarian or vegan), tomatoes, green chillies, chilli powder, to a mortar and lightly pound for 3-5 minutes.

If you are using a “mirisgala” as I’ve used then make sure to crush the shallots first as you don’t want them bouncing off the stone.

Once all the ingredients are coarsely crushed add in the scraped coconut, lime and salt to season.

crushed ingredients for the pol sambol(coconut sambol)

Pound the coconut lightly with the ingredients while using a spoon to scrape and mix while the light pounding continues for 3 minutes.

Once done transfer to a large bowl, taste and season with lime, salt as needed.

Add more chilli powder to spice up the coconut sambol.

Making the pol sambol by hand.

Add the scraped coconut into a large bowl, followed by onions, green chillies, tomatoes, salt to season, lime juice, chilli powder and Maldive fish.

Combine until all the ingredients are mixed. taste and season with salt and lime if necessary.

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Sri lankan pol sambol(Coconut Sambol).

Sri lankan pol sambol(Coconut Sambol).

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Coconut sambol or pol sambol in Sinhalese is your quintessential dish to serve with rice, bread, and string hoppers.

Pol sambol is a spicy coconut sambol made with freshly scraped coconut, red chillies powder, shallots, and green chillies as key ingredients.

Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian and so good.

Read through a Sri Lankan menu, have dinner at a Sri Lankan restaurant and you’ll notice a relish made up of freshly grated coconut.

Ingredients

  • Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.
  • 1 freshly scraped Coconut (see the quantity for 2-3 individuals mentioned above).
  • 3 medium-sized onion chopped
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 Limes
  • 2 green chilli finely sliced
  • 1-2 teaspoon of red chilli powder(reduce or increase as per your need)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon of pounded Maldive fish(optional but do not add if you are a vegetarian or vegan)

Instructions

  1. Have all the ingredients ready.

If you are using a “mirisgala” or a small mortar and pestle.

  1. Add the sliced onions, green chillies, Maldive fish(do not add if you are a vegetarian or vegan), tomatoes, green chillies, chilli powder, to a mortar and lightly pound for 3-5 minutes.
  2. If you are using a “mirisgala” as I’ve used then make sure to crush the shallots first as you don’t want them bouncing off the stone.
  3. Once all the ingredients are coarsely crushed add in the scraped coconut, lime and salt to season.
  4. Pound the coconut lightly with the ingredients while using a spoon to scrape and mix while the light pounding continues for 3 minutes.
  5. Once done transfer to a large bowl, taste and season with lime, salt as needed.
  6. Add more chilli powder to spice up the coconut sambol.

Making the pol sambol by hand.

  1. Add the scraped coconut into a large bowl, followed by onions, green chillies, tomatoes, salt to season, lime juice, chilli powder and Maldive fish.
  2. Combine until all the ingredients are mixed. taste and season with salt and lime if necessary.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 13gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information on islandsmile is provided as a courtesy. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on the site. these figures should only be considered as estimates.

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Each recipe on this blog has been written with great care and love to the best of my ability with you in mind.
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Ioene

Friday 5th of February 2021

Thanks so much for the list of ingredients. I love Pol Sambol and ate some almost every day in Sri Lanka

jehan

Saturday 6th of February 2021

you are most welcome loene. Regards, Jehan

Megan

Sunday 10th of July 2016

What kind of coconut do you use? The green or brown ones?

jehan

Monday 11th of July 2016

Hi Megan, you use the brown one.

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