Essential ingredients

Essential ingredients

By
Channa Dassanayaka
Contains
12 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781740660662
Photographer
Craig Wood

No main meal is served at a Sri Lankan table without sambols, chutneys or pickles: little bowls filled with flavour are scattered on the dinner table to provide an additional dimension of intense and vivid flavour.

These dishes are made from a base of salt, lime, Maldive fish flakes – dried tuna fish flakes – and onion. Spices, chillies, herbs and other ingredients are then freshly ground and added to the base just as the meal is being prepared.

With any given meal, Sri Lankans always create one or two of a dozen different sambols to offset the dishes being served. The sambols might, for example, be caramelised onion and chilli, soothing cucumber and yoghurt, or dried shrimp and coconut. Each sambol has its own unique combination of flavours and the taste of curries can be altered depending on the sambol added.

By eating these delicacies in small portions with their hands or with ripped pieces of bread used as scoops, Sri Lankans ensure the flavours of a sambol or pickle are worked thoroughly into their rice and curries.

Some sambols and most of the pickles and chutneys can be kept in jars for months, ready to be served with breads alongside steaming bowls of rice, curry and vegetables.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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