Gotu Kola Sambola : When Healthy Meets Tasty

Source: NutraWiki

If you are a Sri Lankan, I don’t have to explain you what is “Gotu Kola” and what is “Sambola”. For non-Sri Lankans out there, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica or Asiatic pennywort), is a leafy green with a combination of both bitter and sweet tastes. Packed with vitamins B and C, proteins and important minerals, this is one of the most common leafy greens found in Sri Lankan diet.

Sambola on the other hand, is a Sri Lankan dish, which is somewhat similar to a salad.  This dish often shows up as an accompaniment, or sometimes, as a part of the main meal. There are a lot of variations of this dish – Pol Sambola, Gotu Kola Sambola, Lūnu (Onion) Sambola. Chopped onions and chillies combined with salt and lime can be seen as main ingredients in all these variations.

How to make Gotu Kola Sambola




200g of Gotu Kola (about 8oz) – Chopped

One cup of chopped red onions  (or shallots for best results)

One cup of grated coconut

3 – 4 green chillies

Maldive Fish (Optional)

Juice of a small lime


The rest is super simple! Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add salt and lime to taste!


Grated coconut is added mainly to cut down the slight bitterness of Gotu Kola. It is important to finely chop Gotu Kola, as this will allow it to mix well with coconut. As for onions, I prefer not to chop them too small; in order to add a bite to the dish. Salt and lime both play a role in reducing the bitterness and combining all the flavors together. I highly suggest the use of Maldive fish (unless you are a vegetarian), to add more depth and umami to the dish.

Enjoy this traditional Sri Lankan dish with some hot steaming rice, combined with other dishes like dhal, Kiri Kos or stir fried dried fish!

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