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Recipe: Peter Kuruvita's Coconut Sambal

Enjoy cooking demonstrations with Peter Kuruvita | Alan Benson
Enjoy cooking demonstrations with Peter Kuruvita | Alan Benson

One of Australia's most foremost chefs and restaurateurs, Peter Kuruvita shares his simple coconut sambal recipe you can easily make at home.

Peter Kuruvita has led a number of specialty culinary tours with World Expeditions, with a knack for really knowing how to bond with locals anywhere over a mutual love of food and produce.

Famous for his signature style of quality local produce with a focus on seafood spiced with Sri Lankan and world flavours, join him on his next food fused adventure where he is with you every step of the tour. Enjoy hands-on cooking demonstrations with Peter and the chance to know the local's lore and their cooking secrets.

How to serve coconut sambal

Fresh pol (coconut) sambal is great with everything and is served with nearly every meal, including breakfast, when it is eaten with egg hoppers and kiri bath. It's especially delicious when paired with a snapper curry or served on hot crusty bread.

Peter Kuruvita's grandmother had a Miris Gulla (Chilli stone), the blender of the past, which was used to make all the spices and pastes

When our houseboy Nehal brought us the crusty bread from the bakery next door it was still steaming hot. I used to love cutting thick slices of the bread and putting spoonfuls of pol sambal on it – it was delicious. The coconut oil would come out and the flavours would intensify.

"When we first arrived in Australia in 1979 it was very hard to get a fresh coconut so we had to reconstitute desiccated coconut with some warm water. It is not as juicy as fresh coconut, but is an acceptable alternative. I have used paprika solely to give the sambal a rich red colour; you can use more red chilli if you want it very hot."

Pol (coconut) sambal recipe

Region: Sri Lanka | Makes 2 cups | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Maldive fish flakes
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 large fresh coconut, scraped or 100 g (31/2 oz) desiccated coconut, combined with 100 ml (31/2 fl oz) water
Juice of 1 lime

Making coconut sambal in a cooking class with Peter Kuruvita

Method

1. Place the peppercorns and Maldive fish flakes in a large mortar and grind with a pestle until a coarse paste forms.

2. Add the onion, chilli powder and paprika and pound until a coarse paste forms.

3. Add the coconut and pound until thoroughly combined.

4. Stir in the lime juice, a little at a time so the sambal is not too sour, then season to taste with salt.

Cook's note: Sambal will keep for up to 5 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.


Image and recipe from 'Serendip, My Sri Lankan Kitchen' by Peter Kuruvita, Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99. Photo: Alan Benson.

 
Food, culinary, recipe, Peter Kuruvita, food tour, culinary tour, foodie

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