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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