Gotu Kola


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

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.


  • 260 g ( oz) gotu kola* (or flat-leaf parsley), stems removed
  • ¾ tablespoon sprats* (dried baby fish)
  • 60 g ( oz/½ cup) freshly scraped coconut*
  • 1-2 thin green chillies*, finely chopped
  • 4 small pink Asian shallots*, very finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon salt


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.