Gotu Kola Sambol

It is really on these warm summer evenings we have been so lucky to be abundant in, that a dish like gotu kola sambol comes to life! The fresh, zesty flavours of lime and gotu kola are so perfectly paired with the sweet notes of coconut and shallot. This dish really lifts an otherwise hurried mid-week supper, to something nourishing and effortlessly more swish! During the week I have been trying my best to eat less meat. This sambol, served with a simple dal curry and some coconut roti to wrap it all in, have made me forget (albeit temporarily) about my meat cravings. 

Gotu kola is a herb with a mild taste peppered with slightly bitter undertones. It's health properties seemingly know no bounds, where it is known to improve fatigue, anxiety and depression alongside wound healing and improving circulation. Over the past few months I have been on a personal mission to create more healthy space in my mind. I'm embarrassed to say that I have taken my Buddhist roots for granted, and have only recently started to actively integrate meditation into my daily routine. In addition to this, I'm finding it harder to ignore the strong correlation between exercise and a healthy mind. Having never been hugely into exercise, I'm actually finding myself smashing classes before work (say whaaat!). Eating more gotu kola has really complemented my change in life style, fuelling my body with good, wholesome energy! Don't fear if you are unable to find gotu kola, as some great alternatives with an array of health benefits of their own are curly parsley or curly kale. 

Serves: 6-8 

Prep time: 30 mins


  • A small bunch of gotu kola, washed (alternatively use curly leaf parsley or curly kale)

  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped

  • 1 small green finger chilli, finely sliced

  • 6 small red shallots finely sliced, (alternatively finely chop half a red onion)

  • ½ fresh coconut, grated (alternatively use 200g/7oz fresh coconut flakes)

  • 1 tablespoon Maldive fish flakes (dried tuna flakes, also known as Maldive chips)

  • ½ lime, juice only

  • Table salt, to taste


  1. Finely chop the gotu kola including the stalks, and place in a large bowl

  2. Add the finely chopped tomatoes, chilli and shallots into the bowl and mix together with a spoon

  3. In a separate bowl, using a coconut scraper, scrape out the coconut flesh

  4. Add a couple of handfuls of coconut flesh to the large mixing bowl, along with the Maldive fish flakes, lime juice and a little salt

  5. Using your hands or a spoon, give all the ingredients a through mix

  6. Taste and add more salt as required 

  7. Enjoy as a fresh accompaniment to rice and curry!