Thursday, 31 January 2008

Sri Lankan Workshop: Tomato Sambal

This was the first dish we made in the Sri Lankan workshop I attended recently. I got to use an ingredient I hadn't seen before - coconut oil. Apparently coconut is widely used in Sri Lanka and neighbouring counties - it isn't until you go further north that the use of coconut oil begins to be replaced with ghee.

It is lovely stuff - and not too difficult to find! I managed to buy a bottle of it from the first wholefood store I went to. Check out the link above to read about other uses it has!

Tomato Sambal

  • 3 large ripe tomatoes (approx 225g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder - adjust according to taste and strength
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a plate. Sprinkle with the chili powder and salt and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Slice the garlic and finely chop the onions.

Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan to medium. Once hot add the sliced garlic and fry until starting to change colour. Add the cinnamon and continue to fry until the garlic has turned golden brown. Don't let it burn though, or it will turn bitter!

Add the onions and continue to fry until soft.

Now add the marinaded tomatoes and gently simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly then add the lime juice, zest and sugar. Boiling the lime juice will lose a lot of its punch, so only add after cooking.

Serve as part of a Sri Lankan meal - usually alongside curry.

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