Mint Sambol

If you are like us, and there is a lot of fresh mint which will otherwise go to waste when it freezes, harvest it now and make this recipe. Sambols are not the same as sambals. The former come from Sri Lanka, the island off the southeast point of India, formerly known as Ceylon. Sambols are largely made of uncooked ingredients, much in the same way as Mexican salsa. Try this with chips. This recipe comes from Mango and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, page 32. This sambol can be served with fish or grilled vegetables, too.

1 tsp coarse salt

5 or 6 black peppercorns or scant ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

2-3 green cayenne chilies, or substitute Serrano chilies, coarsely chopped

½ cup chopped red onion or shallots

1 cup loosely packed mint leaves

About 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

If using a flat stone mortar and a pestle, put the coarse salt on the mortar and grind the peppercorns (or pepper) into the salt. Add the garlic and chilies and grind them into a thick paste. Add the chopped onion or shallots and grind in. Finally, add the mint and lightly pound to mix it in. Transfer to a small bowl, add the lime juice, and mix.

If using a food processor, grind the black peppercorns, if using, in a spice/coffee grinder, then add all the ingredients to the food processor and process to an almost uniform paste.

Serve in a small bowl.

Makes a scant 1 cup; serves 4 to 5.

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