Our favourite recipes – Sri Lanka

Pol sambola © Rapa123 via Wikimedia Commons
Pol sambola © Rapa123 via Wikimedia Commons

As part of our new mini-series, “Our favourite recipes”, here is the next delicious recipe for you to try. Coconut Sambal (Pol Sambola) is a staple dish in Sri Lanka. It is essentially a relish or salad which adds vibrancy to meals of rice and curry. Coconut is one of the main agricultural crops in Sri Lanka. Most curries are made with coconut cream and grated coconut is used in a variety of stir fries and raw vegetable salads.

Coconut Sambal (Pol Sambola)

Opening of coconuts in Sri Lanka © Ji-Elle via Wikimedia Commons
Opening of coconuts in Sri Lanka © Ji-Elle via Wikimedia Commons
  • 200 g fresh coconut (grated)
  • 1 tsp crushed dried red chillies
  • 2 tbsp onion (chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp Maldive fish
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)


  • Grate the coconut (using a hand grater or food processor) and roughly chop the onion
  • Create a smooth mixture by blending the red chilli, onion, pepper and Maldive fish in an electric blender. Alternatively use the more traditional method of a mortar and pestle.
  • Add the coconut, salt and lime juice, then mix together until the coconut is well coated
  • Serve this with coconut roti, strong hoppers or with bread

The importance of coconut in Sri Lanka is demonstrated by the fact that coconut occupies 20% of its arable land. Nearly 63% of production is domestically consumed (Pathiraja et al., 2015). However, each year coconut production is influenced by the prevalence and impact of a variety of pests and how effectively they are managed and controlled. These pests include:


Pathiraja PMEK, Griffith GR, Farquharson RJ, Faggian R, 2015. The Sri Lankan Coconut Industry: Current Status and Future Prospects in a Changing Climate. Australasian Agribusiness Perspectives, Paper 106. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291832058_The_Sri_Lankan_Coconut_Industry_Current_Status_and_Future_Prospects_in_a_Changing_Climate

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