Anguna Kola Sambol

8 November 2009

An old-ish man in our neighborhood does occasional yard work for us. Today, he stopped by to see if we had any work for him, so Fahim got him to clean up the ditch in front of the next-door property since they’re blocked with a foot-deep amount of mud, plant matter, and other refuse, which means that rain- and drain-water don’t drain properly, and that also means breeding mosquitoes. And we definitely don’t want breeding mosquitoes.

When the man was done, he brought us a huge bunch of leaves called Anguna Kola. I don’t know either its scientific name or a name in English or any other language. He told Fahim that I should make it into a sambol with onion, green chillies, Maldive fish flakes, salt, and lime juice. In other words, the usual sambol but with no freshly shredded coconut. πŸ˜›

These leaves have odd little sort of star-ish things on them that I’m guessing are immature flower buds. The leaves had some papaya mealybug on them, but it wasn’t too bad and was easy enough to wash off what little was there.

The neighborhood man also said that the leaves should be cut very finely across the width of the leaf only. If the leaves are cut in other directions, it’ll increase the slight bitterness of the leaf.

I followed the instructions, but of course, I can’t cut anything as finely as people like my mother in law can – my fingers don’t work so well, and neither does my wrist. So the individual slices were probably twice as wide as they should have been. Unfortunately.

The end result?

I wasn’t too fond of it – it was entirely too bitter. Part of the problem, Fahim tells me, is that I tasted it straight without rice, like I do with gotakola or thebu sambol. Both are great straight. This one, not so much. Fahim said that, mixed with rice, which is how people here eat their curries, mallungs, and sambols, it’s not so bad. Plus it’s supposed to be good for the heart and good for other things.

If someone brings us these leaves again, I’ll give it a try, only next time, I’ll add freshly shredded coconut and see if that helps any.

Life is an adventure and an experiment, right? πŸ™‚

Tags: anguna kola, sambol, Sri Lankan cuisine

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6 Responses

  1. #1

    You are really lucky to live in an area, where you find all these not so common vegetables and leaves. We go to Sunday fair especially to buy these kind of stuff (including Anguna Kola)..

    At first, I too felt it’s bit bitter (even with rice). But, later my mom tried experimenting with using Narang Juice (hmm..cannot recall the english name, the small and sweeter one than lemon) instead of lemon. Actually, it tasted much better πŸ™‚
    .-= Lakshan´s last blog ..First Meetup of LK Ruby UserΒ Group =-.

  2. #2

    Ah, Fahim had to explain to me what a Sunday fair is. It sounds remotely similar to a farmer’s market in Canada. Fahim’s described a couple of farmer’s markets he’s been to in the US and those are much more elaborate compared to the Canadian ones. In Canada, farmer’s markets are usually outdoors under awnings/tarps and on Saturdays, but sometimes Sundays as well.

    Thanks for chiming in with your experiences. Glad to know I’m not the only one. πŸ˜€ Narang I’ve had before, so I’m familiar with it. Yeah, it does sound like it would improve the Anguna Kola. I’ll have to give that a try next time if I can get my hands on narang at the same time as the Anguna Kola. πŸ™‚

  3. #3

    These dishes are so exotic. I admire how deeply you’ve thrown yourself into the culture. In terms of daily food, something very difficult for any ‘foreigners’ in a new country. These dishes are so interesting and the ways they can be modified so outside my experience.
    .-= Barbfmc´s last blog ..Tips: Roast Turkey in a Grocery Bag =-.

  4. #4

    Barb, I kinda have to immerse myself in Sri Lankan cuisine if I want to keep Fahim happy, and I definitely want to keep him happy. πŸ™‚ But it’s also easier in many respects immersing myself in it with a Sri Lankan for a husband and Sri Lankans for in-laws. His mother taught me much about Sri Lankan cooking. One of our house helpers taught me quite a bit as well, as has Fahim in a more limited way. When you’ve got locals giving you lessons, it’s far easier. πŸ™‚

  5. #5

    Your in-laws sound great – so open to you and so helping. You’re very lucky in many regards. But you also have a great spirit. πŸ™‚
    .-= Barbfmc´s last blog ..Tips: Roast Turkey in a Grocery Bag =-.

  6. #6

    Yup, I completely lucked out in the in-law arena – they are kind and decent and pretty great. πŸ™‚ They treat me very very well. πŸ™‚

    My mother-in-law has added incentive to teach me her recipes – it means that I can do the cooking for everyone (or help her when she wants to do it) and still make something they’ll like. πŸ˜€

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About LMAshton

Howdy and welcome to my site! I'm Laurie and I'll be your, er, hostess today. :)

I'm a Canadian expat currently living in Singapore. I'm married to a Sri Lankan and lived in Sri Lanka for nearly a decade. We also lived in New Zealand for half a year.

I cook Sri Lankan curries, sambols, and mallungs. I bake bread using wild yeast (sourdough that isn't sour). I bake on the stove. I experiment with Indian / Malaysian / Indonesian / Thai / whatever cuisines interest me. And I experiment wildly.

Life is an adventure. Join me! :)

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