I am always conscious that my guests will have different chilli tolerance levels. So I never make my Sri Lankan dishes ‘hot’, that is, with a lot of strong chilli. Instead, I have a chilli paste that I keep in a jar in the fridge and I put it out in a small dish like a sambol for guests to add some onto the side of their plate and integrate it with what they are eating as they see fit.
- 350 gms fresh red chillies
- 15 gms garlic
- 2 tbsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 ml vinegar
- Chop the stems off 350 gms fresh red chillies.
- Chop 15 gms garlic fine.
- Grind together 2 tbsp cumin seeds, 15 gms of chopped garlic, 1 tsp salt, a splash of vinegar, You can use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or coffee bean grinder.
- Put the 350 gms red chillies, the cumin/garlic/salt paste, 100 ml of vinegar into a blender.
- Blend this till you have a paste that still has small flakes of chilli in it. You can keep blending it till all the chilli is thoroughly nixed if you like, but I think it looks better when serving this as a sambol to have some flakes showing.