Ceylonese Chilli-Salt-Onion Paste ලුනු මිරිස්

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Today, I am sharing a popular Sri Lankan condiment; probably the most popular after coconut sambal. If you are a Sri Lankan food lover, this is a “must know” condiment. Undoubtedly, it has a long past. To prepare this mouth-watering sambal, people used grinding stones, different types of mortars and pestles, and the latest is the food processor. If it is practical, I prefer using grinding stone instead of any other appliance because I believe that it gives the perfect blend of tastes of the four ingredients. Unfortunately, very few own one.

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Ingredients

  • 200 g shallots/small onion or red onion
  • Dried red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime to taste (about 1 ½ lime)

By using a mortar and pestle or a grinding stone, mash the red chillies and salt together. If you are a beginner, add less salt if you are not sure and you can always adjust the salt later on. Once the red chillies break in to chilli flakes, add the sliced onion and mash them together. Put them in to a bowl and squeeze the lime in to it. Mix everything well using fingers. Adjust the salt of necessary.

Modern way

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  • 200 g shallots/small onion or red onion
  • Dried red chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime to taste (about 1 ½ lime)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of Maldives fish

First Method

Simply, add all the ingredients except for lime and Maldives fish to the food processor. Once they are all well mashed, put them in to a bowl and add Maldives fish. Then, Squeeze the lime in to it. Mix everything well using fingers. Adjust the salt if necessary.

Second method

Instead of adding salt and chilli flakes first, add the onion to a mortar and pestle. We want the onions to absorb the taste of chillies and salt very well. Once they are half way mashed, add salt and chilli flakes. Mash them all together again. Add the Maldives fish and mash them all together again.  Place mashed mixture in a bowl and squeeze the lime in to it. Mix it using your fingers. Adjust the salt if necessary.

 

*** If your hands are very sensitive, you can always wear gloves while mixing the ingredients together.

 

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