Sri Lankan Beef Skewers with Coconut Sambal

by Leah Halmagyi


  • 2 cinnamon sticks, crumbled
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 egg yolks
  • sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 dried chillies
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 3 eschalots, chopped
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
  • cooking oil spray
  • herb salad, roti (gluten free or regular) and coconut cream, to serve


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

1 Combine the cinnamon, cardamom and cumin seeds in a pan and toast over a moderate heat until darkened. Transfer to a mortar and pound to make a powder. Mix with the paprika and garam masala. Add to the mince and yolks, season with salt and pepper, then knead well to combine. Set aside.
2 Grind the chillies in a mortar until powdery, then sieve to remove the seeds. Return the chilli to the mortar with the coconut and eschalots, then pound until well-combined. Mix in the lime zest and season with salt and pepper.
3 Divide the beef mixture into eight pieces and form each onto a skewer. Sprinkle with cooking oil then cook on a hot barbecue grill for 10 minutes, turning several times, until firm. Drizzle with lime juice from time to time. Serve with the sambal, herb salad, roti and coconut cream.