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Peter Kuruvita ambul thial

Ambul Thial

This hot sour, peppery dish was originally developed as a way to preserve fish in the South of Sri Lanka. It is now a picnic favourite all over the country.

It is best to use with any dense, oily fish such as Tuna, Bonito or Mackeral  CLICK HERE FOR A DEMONSTRATION


1kg of black fish – Tuna or Mackeral
8cardamom pods
1/2 table spoon coriander
1/2 table spooncumin
1 table spoon roasted curry powder
1 teaspoonsalt
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1 stick of cinnamon
3 pieces of goroka
1 large onion diced chopped fine
2 green chillies
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 slice of ginger
1 tsp of black pepper corns
water to cover the fish
juice of lime


Grind the cardamom pods, coriander, cumin, curry powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon  chillies, garlic, chilli flakes, ginger, black pepper corns and goroka with a little water onto a grinding stone and make a paste. Set aside.

Wash and cut the fish into 4-6 pieces through the bone.

Place all the remaining ingredients in an earthenware chatty with 250 ml of water and mix until the paste has dissolved.

Mix in the fish and then cook over a coal fire, covered, until the water has evaporated.