Close up of a bowl of sambol with samphire, sea beets and chilli

Samphire and sea beet sambol

  • serves 2 as a side
  • Easy

Sambols are a very popular accompaniment to most meals in Sri Lanka – this version from Hoppers restaurant celebrates the British coast with crab and foraged sea herbs


Serve this samphire and sea beet sambol recipe as part of a menu along with Hoppers’ Sri Lankan crab curry and yellow rice.



  • dried chilli flakes 2 tsp
  • lime ½-1, juiced
  • curry leaves 5-6
  • shallots 2 round, peeled and roughly chopped
  • fresh coconut 50g, finely grated (or defrosted frozen grated coconut)
  • samphire a small handful
  • sea beets a small handful, roughly chopped
  • green chilli 1, roughly chopped (optional)
  • carrot 1 small, grated
  • coriander leaves roughly chopped to make 2 tbsp
  • black peppercorns ground to make ½ tsp


  • Step 1

    Use a large pestle and mortar to thoroughly bash ½ tsp of salt and the chilli flakes, adding a little squeeze of lime juice. Once the chilli flakes have turned into a bright red powder, add the curry leaves and shallots, and pound a few times to break them up and release their juices – you just want to bruise them, as opposed to turning them into a paste.

  • Step 2

    Add the coconut and the juice of half a lime. Pound a few more times to bruise the coconut, then stir everything together.

  • Step 3

    Tip the mixture into a medium bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Check for seasoning and add more salt or lime juice, if you like. This sambol is best enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled. It will keep for up to 3 hours but is best assembled at the last minute and eaten fresh.


If you can’t find fresh or frozen coconut, you can use 2 heaped tbsp of desiccated coconut. Soak it in 60ml of just-boiled water for 10 minutes, then squeeze out the water before using.

Want more crab salad recipes? Try this Thai kohlrabi and crab number

Thai Crab Salad Recipe with Kohlrabi

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 141
  • Fat 9.9g
  • Saturates 8g
  • Carbs 6.8g
  • Sugars 5.7g
  • Fibre 6.2g
  • Protein 2.9g
  • Salt 1.6g