A trio of coconut, chilli and chicken

During our recent visit to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, I fell in love with coconuts and coconut products all over again.  Coconuts are widely used in the Sri Lankan diet and forms the main source of dietary fat.

The coconut tree does not just bring a lot of value to Sri Lanka but also forms part of the beautiful landscape.  Many different coconut options and products are available from street vendors, vegetable markets food stores located on just about every corner; these include coconuts in the shell, coconuts out of the shell, grated coconuts, coconut water, coconut cream, coconut oil, and the list goes on!




I loved the sambals made from coconut and the Sri Lankan curries are to die for, so this is my take on the Sri Lankan Coconut sambal and Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs.


Coconut Sambal – so easy to prepare and very tasty

You will need…

  • 100 g grated Coconut (Fresh if available otherwise you can use Coconut flakes)
  • Chili powder to taste.
  • ½ teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Red Chili sliced
  • ½ of the juice of a Lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of Tamarind juice (if you cannot find Tamarind juice just add the other half of the lemon)
  • ¼ teaspoon of Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Lemon zest
  • 1 small red Onion (Finely diced)


In a blender mix everything together to a course consistency.

Chill and serve with your Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs.









Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs

To make these kebabs, you will need the following…

  • 1 large Sweet Potato cut into bite size cubes and boiled for 5 minutes. (The orange varieties add great colour.)  Sweet potato can be replaced with pineapple or small onions
  • 1 kg Chicken cubes.  (I used deboned thighs)
  • 3 tablespoons of Coconut oil
  • 1 thumb of grated Ginger
  • 1 Clove of Garlic chopped
  • 1 small Red Onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of Chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 thumb of fresh Turmeric (optional) chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of Curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of Curry powder (Garam masala)
  • 1tablespoon of brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 tin of Coconut milk


STEP 1:  The marinade 

In a saucepan heat the 2 tablespoons of Coconut oil over a slow heat.

Add the Mustard seeds and wait until they start to pop, now add the Curry leaves, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, Chili flakes, Ginger, Onion and Garlic.  Fry all the ingredients together and then add the Sugar, the Salt and the Coconut milk. Let the dish simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  Allow the marinade sauce to cool to room temperature.

STEP 2 :  Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs

Place the Chicken and Sweet Potato cubes into a large bowl, mix lightly and then add your marinade sauce. Mix the marinade sauce through the cubes. Leave the Chicken and Sweet Potato cubes to marinade for an hour.  Alternating the Chicken and Sweet Potato cubes skewer the cubes.

The Coconut Chilli Chicken Curry Kebabs can be shallow fried in a saucepan using Coconut oil until cooked evenly or barbequed on a grill until golden brown and delicious.

The sweet taste of the Coconut, the spiciness of the Chili and authenticity of the Curry brings the whole world of Sri Lanka to your taste buds.  A burst of utmost pleasure.



sunshine in a bottle

Don’t you just love the beautiful color of a lemon?  The yellow reminds me so much of a new day filled with sunshine.  It also takes me back to my childhood, remembering the lemon trees we all had in our backyards.

When the lemons were in season, we did not waste any time to start picking lemons, off course, guarded with a pot of salt!  We peeled the lemons, added the salt, and ate it pulling funny faces because of the tartness of the lemon.  We would have such a good laugh!

Well, now I have learned how to preserve this beautiful fruit which adds a variety of flavors to a dish – deep citrus, kind floral notes – to just mention a couple.  It just piques your curiosity when you taste your dish with the added preserved lemon.



These salt-cured lemons have made a long journey north and west, joining the world of cuisine over the past thousand years. They add a fermented quality to dishes, that a fresh lemon just cannot do.

Now for the recipe…

  • Cut the lemons from the stem end into quarters up to the base. Don’t cut right through.  Open them up and fill the lemons with sea salt.
  • Stack the lemons one by one in a jar. Add more salt as you go along.
  • Roast coriander seeds on the side and add this to the jar. (¼ cup of coriander seeds to a 500ml jar.)
  • Add 1 tsp of chopped thyme
  • When the lemons are squeezed into the jar, fill the jar to the brim, with the lemon, salt, thyme and coriander seeds.
  • Squeeze some lemons and fill the jar with fresh lemon juice.
  • Seal and store your preserved lemons in a dark cold place for at least 4 weeks.
  • Shake the jar once daily for the first week; this will clear the liquid in the jars.

How to use it:

  • Thinly sliced into a salad of baby beetroots, roasted red capsicum, red onion, fresh coriander
  • Try it with baby tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, crushed garlic, ground cumin and sweet paprika
  • Chopped in Couscous with chickpeas, thinly sliced scallions, chopped flat leave parsley and seeded green olives
  • With chicken and black pepper for a beautiful lemon and pepper chicken
  • With a rack of lamb add coriander, salt pepper and thinly slice preserved lemon slices. Roast in the oven
  • Lemon salsa: chopped lemon rind, chopped red chili, chopped garlic, Extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, chopped coriander, chopped tomatoes, chopped black olives.  Eat this with grilled sardines


Sometimes 4 weeks could be a bit long when you really need to use it in one of your favourite dishes, so here’s a ‘cheat’ recipe that will give you the same flavours in a very short time:

Slice  3 lemons in thin slices

Sprinkle a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp roasted coriander seeds and 3 tsps salt over the lemon slices.

Then squeeze out all the juice from the lemon slices, by hand, and put the lemon rinds and squeezed juice in a pickling jar.  Keep for two to three hours before using it.


There is so much more you can do with these lovely lemons.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.