Cheryl Rathkopf's
Coconut Milk Sauce

Kiri Hodi

Sri Lanka

Serves 4

In Sri Lanka, this all-purpose sauce is served with soft rice noodles or used as a base for curries. Four hard-boiled eggs and 2 medium potatoes, boiled and diced, can also be cooked in it briefly and then served with rice.

To peel tomatoes, drop them in boiling water for 10 seconds.

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
  • 3 fresh hot green chiles, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 15 fresh curry leaves (use fresh holy basil or basil leaves
         as a different but equally interesting substitute)
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 3 pieces goraka or 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp (see Note)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (shake the can well before using)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 large tomato (6 ounces in all),
         peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (see Note)

Soak the fenugreek seeds in 2 tablespoons of warm water to cover for 2 to 3 hours.

Combine the fenugreek seeds, their soaking liquid, the onion, green chiles, curry leaves, cinnamon sticks, goraka, coconut milk, 1/2 cup of water, the turmeric, toma- toes, and salt in a medium pan. Mix well and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, uncovered, stirring very frequently, for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and stir to mix. Taste for the balance of flavors.

Note: If you cannot find goraka or tamarind, increase the lime juice to 2 tablespoons.


Cheryl Rathkopf's Coconut Sambol

Pol Sambola

Serves 8 to 10

Serve this relish with any meal that could do with a little spicing! In Sri Lanka, it is made with freshly grated coconut. If you wish to do the same, you will need about 1-1/4 cups. In the version below I have used finely grated desiccated unsweetened coconut.

The sambol needs to be the color "of a Buddhist monk's robes." Sri Lanka produces very good chile powder (both lightly roasted and "raw") with a strong orange-red color. This colors the coconut naturally. If you are going to use cayenne with a dull red color, put in some bright red paprika as well.

This relish will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If it starts to dry out, add some coconut milk or water to moisten it.

  • 1 cup very finely grated desiccated unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped peeled shallots or grated onion
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality chile powder (see recipe introduction)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, heated

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.

  • from:
  • Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
  • More than 750 Meatless Recipes from Around the Globe
  • by Madhur Jaffrey
  • Clarkson Potter 1999
  • ISBN: 0-517-59632
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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Page created 1999. Modified March 2007



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