• Sangeethaa Siva

Mom's Sri Lankan Seeni Sambol (Sweet Onion Relish)

Seeni Sambol (seeni means sugar) is a combination of a sweet, sour and spicy sambol. This delicious relish can be served with any savory meal or can be a good filling for bread or roti.

This dish is so versatile it can be eaten with rice, roti, bread and even on crackers. Although this dish is spicy, the spiciness is balanced by some sweetness. It may have you grabbing for a glass of water, but you'll be going back for seconds once your mouth realizes it's got your taste-buds dancing.


  • 7 Red onions, thinly sliced

  • 5 Cardamoms

  • 1 Small piece of cinnamon

  • 5 Tbsps of oil( increase if required)

  • 2 Tbsps of Sugar (I used Cane Sugar)

  • 3 Tbsps of Tamarind

  • 5-6 Curry leaves

  • 1 Pandan leaves (optional)

  • 1 Tbsps of Chilli powder

  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat a pan on medium heat , enough to hold all the onions

  2. Pour the oil, gradually add sprigs of curry leaves, 2 small cinnamon pieces, 5 Cardamoms, Pandan leaf and chilli powder.

  3. Add the chopped Onion to the spice mix and stir gently to merge all the ingredients, keep the heat steady while making sure the Onions don’t burn.

  4. Add salt to taste. Adding salt at this stage will speed up the cooking process.

  5. Let the ingredients cook while the Onions caramelizes to a deep amber and reduces in quantity.

  6. Cover the Onions cook for 10 minutes and add the tamarind juice and Sugar.

  7. Add Salt to taste, leave it to cool before transferring it to a glass jar and refrigerate.

  8. Voila:)

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you have to have a WHAT-THE-HELL attitude” – Julia Child

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© 2015 by Sangeethaa Siva