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. 😛
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? 🙂
Tags: anguna kola, sambol, Sri Lankan cuisine