Mint Sambol

  • Serves

    makes 1 1/2 Cups

  • Cook

    10 minutes


By Laurie Woolever

Published on November 21, 2017

From the humblest breakfast dal to a celebratory feast, no Sri Lankan meal is complete without at least one sambol on the table. Sri Lankan sambols are typically spicy, with body and texture from grated fresh coconut. This mint sambol provides a pungent yet cooling foil to rich dishes like ghee-drizzled chicken buriyani.

A vendor at Manning Market.
Lessons from a tropical island in the Indian Ocean where exuberantly spiced dishes have been influenced by centuries of colonization, migration, and commerce

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  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 large bunch mint leaves (about 2 packed cups)
  • 15 small green chiles, such as Thai style (½ oz.)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 12 medium red onion (4 oz.), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 12 kosher salt
  • Juice of ½ lime


Step 1

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients except the lime juice. Process into a homogenous paste, scraping down the sides as needed and adding 3–4 tablespoons water as needed to help break it down. Taste and adjust the salt as necessary. Add the lime juice and blend in briefly.

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