Vallarai Sambol

This recipe follows that in ‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils‘ pg 34 with a few slight variations. My mum grinds everything together,  whereas Nesa aunty has chopped all the ingredients finely.

My parents grow vallarai in our home, so this sambol is a feature in our family home. Mum and dad both swear by it’s nutrition and are always giving me some to take back to my home.

Since I am on a roll with using my sarees as part of the photo, here is another one. Again bought in Chennai and for about $12 AUD.


100 grams Indian Pennywort leaves (vallarai in Tamil) or Centella asiatica (in English science talk)
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/4 large red onion (note that the cookbook says 10 rose onions or 1 large onion, chopped)
6 green chillies, chopped (no need to chop if you are grinding)
5-7 curry leaves, chopped fine (again no need to chop if grinding)
1/2 tsp salt
small piece of ginger maybe about 1inch (ginger was not part of ‘Jaffna Tamils’ – it’s my mum’s addition)
1 tblsp lime juice


If grinding –
1. wash the leaves
2. add everything to grinder and grind till smooth

If not grinding
1. chop leaves fine
2. mix together with coconut, onions, green chillies, curry leaves and salt
3. Add lime juice. Mix well. Set aside for 15-20 minutes before serving


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