Gotu kola is the Sri Lankan version of Middle Eastern tabouli, and is a refreshing accompaniment to curries. I love fresh salad, but Sri Lankans don’t eat salads that often. When I discovered gotu kola I ate it almost every day. If you are unable to get gotu kola, substitute it with flat-leaf parsley. The fresh coconut, sprats (dried baby fish) and lime juice give this salad a typical Sri Lankan flavour.
Wash the gotu kola (or parsley) leaves in cold water, then dry them and chop finely. In a small heavy-based frying pan, dry-roast the sprats for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Using a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), pound the sprats into a coarse powder.
In a small bowl, combine the ground sprats with the coconut, chillies, shallots, lime juice and salt. Add the gotu kola and mix all the ingredients together. Serve with a curry and rice.
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