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Kaha Malung with Koonisso (by Menike from Colombo 10, family from Haldumulla)

This recipe is by Menike from Haldumulla. While some coconut sambols are just fresh ingredients pounded together, this one is cooked like a stir-fry. Maldive fish, which is very common in pol sambol, is replaced with small dried shrimp called koonisso. Another interesting feature of this recipe is that goraka (Indian tamarind) is used instead of lime to add that hint of sourness found in any pol sambol, but of course it lends a unique flavour to the dish.


  • ½ grated coconut (1 cup)

  • 3 green chilies

  • 2 to 3 red onions, finely sliced

  • 4 inch piece of rampe leaf (aka pandanus)

  • A sprig of karapincha

  • 2 pieces of goraka (soaked in water for 10 minutes)

  • 1 heaped tablespoon of koonisso (dried shrimp) that have been washed well in water

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup water


First put water into a shallow clay pot [athiliya] to boil on medium heat. When boiling add the finely cut goraka, then add the sliced green chilies, rampe and karapincha, then the kooni isso and red onions and stir. Leave uncovered to simmer on low for about five minutes. Add the grated coconut, turmeric and salt and pound in a stone vangediya [pestle and mortar]. Put this into the pot and mix well until most of the moisture has evaporated. serve.

Note: Billing can be used instead of goraka in this recipe.

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Recipe source

  • Pol Sambol and Pol Mallung: A Collection of Recipes from Kitchens Across the Island by Ayseha Abdur-Rahman.

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