Ambul Thiyal is a popular dried fish curry with a sour taste made in many homes in Sri Lanka.
The dish can be stored for days at room temperature without getting spoilt.
Ambul Thiyal can be traced back to ancient times where it was made in many homes and even in the palaces of the Kings that ruled Sri Lanka. It was stored for days in the same clay pot it was cooked in.
Goraka (Garcinia gummi-gutta) is the ingredient which helps to preserve the fish. It’s also responsible for the sour flavor in the dish.
How to make Ambul Thiyal
- 1 medium sized clay pot lined with rampe leaves or banana leaves
- Tuna - 250 grams cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
- Goraka – 3 pieces soaked in 1/4 cup hot water for 10 minutes
- Green chilies – 3
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Fresh ginger – 1 inch piece
- Leaves taken from 3 stems of curry leaves
- Raw/unroasted curry powder - 1 ½ teaspoon
- Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
- Pepper powder – ¾ to 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Fenugreek seeds – ¼ teaspoon
- Salt – ½ teaspoon
Place the fish cubes on the rampe/banana leaves inside the clay pot. Set aside.
Add the goraka pieces, green chilies, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, curry powder, chili powder, pepper powder, turmeric powder, fenugreek seeds and salt into the grinder and grind into a paste.
Remove from the grinder and place in a bowl.
Add ½ cup water to the bowl and mix the water and paste until fully combined.
Pour the mixture over the fish.
Cook the fish on medium low until the gravy has simmered.
Make sure to gently shake the pot from time to time to mix the ingredients.
Do not use a spoon as this can cause the fish to break.
Serve with white rice, dhal curry and coconut sambol (pol sambol).