One of the biggest advantages I’ve got from starting a food blog is that I have started cooking outside my comfort zone and made amazing friends all over the globe.

Niloofa Moulal Karamath is one such kind and talented friend who has introduced me to the wonderful flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine. She herself is a passionate foodie, and we exchange notes on different recipes almost daily. She very kindly shared with me her authentic Sri Lankan recipe for Pol (coconut) Sambol (chutney) and Roti (flatbread).

The chutney is a little bowl of explosive flavours. It’s mildly sweet from coconut and still hot from chillies. I highly recommend making it with fresh coconut from the scratch. Although you can also use dry coconut flakes, I’m sure it won’t smell and taste half as good!

Making the dough for roti with coconut water is Niloofa’s special tip, and it really added so much flavour to the flatbread. According to her, this chutney is as popular in Sri Lanka as Tomato Ketchup in the Western cuisine. They eat it with almost everything. With roti it makes a delicious, flavour packed breakfast.

So if you are tired of your current humdrum breakfast routine, go for this delightful recipe. My entire family has fallen in love with it, and I’ll be making it again very soon.

Thank you, Niloofa! 🙂


For Pol Sambol:

1 1/2 cups fresh coconut flakes
8 dried red chillies
2-3 curry leaves
1 teaspoon Maldives fish/shrimp powder (shrimp paste/fish sauce)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste
vegetable oil for frying chillies and curry leaves

For Pol Roti

1+1/2 cup all purpose flour or rice flour + more for dusting work top
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup water or as required
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

This Is What You Do:

To make Sambol, heat two tablespoons oil in a small frying pan. Add dried chillies and curry leaves. Fry till aromatic, remove from oil.

If grinding in a mortar and pestle, first add fried chillies, curry leaves and salt. Grind to a fine paste, with no chilli seeds visible.

Next, add Maldives fish or shrimp powder, then coconut and onions. Don’t grind these to a paste, leave them flaky and crunchy. This texture is the beauty of this sambol.

This method requires some elbow grease and patience, therefore if you are lazy like me and still want tasty food you can make this in a minute in your food processor. Just add all the ingredients to a food processor and make a chunky mix, don’t blend it to a paste-like consistency.

To make the roti, mix flour and salt in a big mixing bowl, add coconut flakes. Add chopped onions and coriander leaves.

Make well in the centre, gradually add coconut water and bring in the flour mix from the sides. Add a little water if the dough doesn’t come together. Knead a few minutes till the dough is soft and pliable, though not too soft.

Keep covered in a slightly greased bowl for 20-30 minutes.

Heat a skillet/Tawa on medium heat. Flour a work top. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Makes small balls with it. Roll out these balls on the work top.

Cook on a hot skillet, one flat bread at a time, for almost one minute or till it has small brown spots all over it. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Serve warm with Pol Sambol.

Makes 4 rotis.


If you don’t have fresh coconut, you can use desiccated coconut but freshen it up by adding a little warm water or coconut milk to it.

Instead of whole chillies you can use chilli flakes or chilli powder. Gradually add chillies if you are not sure about how much heat you can take.

Maldives fish powder consists of dried flakes of tuna. If you can’t find it you can use dried shrimp, shrimp paste or fish sauce. It’s used in a small quantity in this recipe and adds a certain depth and character to the whole dish.

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