Plantain Sambol

(20 minutes, serves 4 as accompaniment)

Plantains are staple foods throughout Sri Lanka and the region, the main fare of millions of people for centuries. They’re rich sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and are easily digestible. This traditional Jaffna-style plantain sambol offers a luscious, spicy-tangy bite, and is a great way to perk up a plate of rice and curry.

2 large ripe plantains (about 3 c.)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. turmeric powder
oil for frying
6-8 dry red chilies
2 T vinegar
1 t. black or brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 t. sugar
1-2 minced shallots (about 1/2 c.)
1 chopped green fingerhot chili

1/2 t. salt, optional

1. Peel plantains and dice, then toss with 1/2 t. salt and turmeric.

2. Heat oil and fry diced plantain until golden; remove to a plate lined with kitchen towels and set aside.

3. Combine dry chilies, vinegar, mustard seeds and sugar to a smooth paste (in a blender or using a mortar-and-pestle).

4. Combine chili paste with shallots, chilies, and fried plantains. Taste and add 1/2 t. salt if desired. Serve as an accompaniment to rice and curries.

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