pol sambol – coconut sambol

You ask me my five favourite things about Sri Lanka and I can guarantee you that every time pol sambol will be on the list.  It is a moist mixture of fresh grated coconut, chilli, onion and lime and is quite simply the most delicious thing on the planet

It seems that Sri Lankans love it as much as I do. At the bakery counter in the supermarket this morning I saw, and confess purchased for the princely sum of Rs.60, “Roast Bread with Pol Sambol” which consisted of two pieces of toast made in to a sandwich with a pol sambol filling.   Sadly I don’t have any photographs because I stuffed my face with it in the tuktuk on the way home.

My naughty snack prompted me to stop off at a roadside stall and buy a coconut – one of the hairy ones that you see on coconut shys – to make some sambol of my own. But not to put in toasted sandwiches;  pol sambol is more usually found  breakfast table along with pol roti (coconut flat breads) and then again at lunch and dinner as an accompaniment to curry.


  • 1 coconut
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small chilli (optional)
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder


  1. Cut the coconut in half and pour the coconut water in to a cup. You don’t need the water for this recipe but it is crazy to waste it.
  2. Scoop out the coconut flesh and grate it.  We have a special coconut scraper/grater tool in Sri Lanka which makes this step very easy.  Without one it’s a bit of a labour of love.
  3. Finely dice the onion and, if you desire, a fresh chilli too.  Add to the coconut along with the chilli powder and lime juice.
  4. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. That’s it!

Serve as a light lunch with flatbread or as an accompaniment to curry dishes.  Keep any leftover sambol refrigerated and it will last for ages. Except it won’t because you won’t be able to resist eating it all on the first day.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. No Purpose Club says:



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