Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deviled Coconut Sambol (Fried Pol Sambol)

My family migrated to the United States almost 40 years ago.  When we came here, my mother had to adjust a lot of her cooking and ingredients to what was available to her.  Coconuts are a very important ingredient in Sri Lankan cooking, but fresh coconut was not easily available like it is today.  In Sri Lanka we eat a spicy coconut sambol made with fresh grated coconut, chili and onions.  My mother was only able to find Dessicated Coconut (a dried shredded coconut) back in the early days so she had to work with it to try to make the coconut sambol we love as a family.  She decided to fry the sambol and she discovered a whole new delicious dish.  We love this fried coconut sambol even today with fresh coconut more readily available.  I almost always have this sambol in my fridge for a quick meal because I find it pretty versatile.  My kids and I will eat it with rice, bread and even between our grilled cheese sandwiches.  I am thankful to my mother for being such a wonderful cook and being able to adapt our favorite dishes from our homeland into our new home in the States.  She has kept the love of curry and Sri Lankan food alive not only in her children, but her grandchildren as well.

2 cups Desiccated Shredded Coconut
2 medium onions finely sliced or chopped
1 (1 inch) cinnamon stick
12-15 curry leaves
1-2 pandan leaves
3 Tbs canola oil
2-4 Tbs red chili powder (I used 4)
salt to taste (1-2 tsp) to taste
3/4 cups hot water (as needed) 

Note:  Desiccated Coconut and Red Chili powder are both available online or at your Indian/Asian Grocers.

Heat oil in large frying pan on med-high heat.  Add curry leaves, onions, pandan leaves, and cinnamon stick and saute until onions begin to brown.  Then lower the heat to medium and add the coconut, salt and red chili powder and saute in pan with all other ingredients for a minute.

Finally, add hot water and stir well until the coconut absorbs all the water and the texture softens from dry to more tender.  Taste for salt and chili powder.  Turn heat off stove and serve with rice, bread, roti, etc.. Enjoy.

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  1. wow!!This looks spicy & this is the way we want to see pol sambol.Feel like tasting it with a slice of bread...

  2. I've never tried this yet but it looks delicious, should be great with rice! And it's great that your mom took a piece of home to your new home.

  3. My mom passed down her love of cooking to me, too! What an adjustment she had to make moving to the states from Sri Lanka. Glad she was able to modify this sambol and create a new, delicious dish :)

  4. Sri Lankan dishes are so similar to Kerala preparations....I'm sure my family would love this. My MIL makes a similar dish to eat with Appam.


  5. What a great story and history of your mothers cooking. So great to be keeping your heritage around and present in your kids, so they can grow it up and keep it alive.

  6. I love that I can always count on learning something new from your posts. How blessed you are to have two cultures of food flowing from your kitchen!

  7. I have never had sambol before! It looks so yummy and yet so new and intimidating lol. It's so neat that your mom was able to continue traditions from Sri Lanka when they moved here, even if it needed a few adjustments. It looks splendid :D

    ~Jess @ On Sugar Mountain / Feast with Me

  8. I am enjoying the culinary adventures you take us on.

  9. We moved here 20 years ago and my Mom was so upset that she couldn't find so many of the ingredients used in Macedonian cooking... most were spices. Now it's all available, but back then not so much.

    This sambol look delicious. My family would inhale this right away! :)


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