MAKES 1½ CUPS; Photo pg. 76
Total: 10 min. 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.
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
½ medium red onion (4 oz.), peeled and coarsely chopped ½ tsp. kosher salt Juice of ½ lime
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.
Below: Green bean curry prepared by Yusra Ali (recipe at left). Bottom: Nowhere on the island are you far from the Indian Ocean.