Pol (Coconut) Sambol


Sri Lankan 'Pol Sambol' is quite possibly one of the most addictive dishes out there. I have so many friends who since having holidayed in Sri Lanka, are desperately looking to create that sweet, salty taste of fresh coconut sambol.

Pol Sambol is traditionally served as part of our breakfast along with string hoppers/ hoppers/ bread - and quite frankly anything else you want an excuse to eat it with! The sweetness of the fresh coconut, along with the zesty bursts of lime and sharp hits of chilli, embody the playful vibes of Sri Lankan life. 

Unfortunately I can't quite re-create the warmth of the sun and fresh sea air as you are eating this. But close your eyes and take a mouthful and let these simple flavours dance on your tongue and bring those memories back! 

Serves: 10

Time: 10 mins


  • 1 fresh coconut, scraped

  • 5 Sri Lankan shallots, finely chopped / 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon of red finely crushed chilli

  • 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon of maldive fish

  • 1 sprig of curry leaves, torn into peices

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

  • 1/2 lime, squeezed

  • Salt to taste


  1. In a pestle and mortar, pound the peppercorns, crushed chilli, onions and salt

  2. Once you have a fine paste, add in the maldive fish and pound a little more

  3. Add in the freshly grated coconut into the paste and mix together with your hands or a fork

  4. Heat up the coconut oil in a pan, once hot add in the curry leaves, and then add the coconut mix and continually stir for a few minutes on a medium heat

  5. Remove from heat and add the lime

  6. Enjoy straight away :) Or store in the fridge for a week for even longer lasting enjoyment!