Sambol – Sri Lankan oasis in Eagan

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Yankee Doodle Road in the heart of Eagan seems an unlikely place to find Sri Lankan food, but that’s what you’ll find at Sambol, along with its extensive Indian menu.

The tiny teardrop island of Sri Lanka off the southern coast of India is home to a cuisine influenced by its neighbor and the variety of foreigners who settled there. They included tea growers from Scotland, spice traders from Portugal, Muslims and Malaysians, along with Moors, Dutch and British. Here you will find the curries of India alongside lemongrass and other flavors of Southeast Asia. And, in Sri Lanka, holiday celebrations take on international flavors with the traditional fruitcake of Ceylon’s Christmas and the Dutch Christmas cake using fifty egg yolks.

Sambol’s menu is primarily Indian with selections from the North and South. Tandoori chicken is especially good here with a flavor enhanced skin surrounding moist, smoky meat. Palak Paneer with its spinach and homemade cheese combination is artfully flavored with Sambol’s spice choices. Chana Masala, another vegetarian dish, is also good as are Aloo Tikki, potato croquets with a pepper kick. Tandoori breads include nan and the Onion Kulcha, stuffed nan with seasoned onion, can be ordered as spicy as you like. The menu includes a full range of vegetarian, chicken, beef, lamb and fish dishes, along with traditional breads, soups, appetizers and desserts. Sambol also offers Chai, Madras Coffee, and Mango Lassi.

While there are a few Sri Lankan dishes on the regular menu, specialties such as Gothamba Roti and Hoppers are offered only on weekends. The paper thin rotis are made of wheat flour and served with a choice of curries, or add eggs or meat. Hoppers are rice flour bowls served with eggs and chutney, or add a curry for a full breakfast treat.

Sambol is open daily for lunch from 11 am to 2:30 pm and dinner 5 – 10 pm. Lunch features a buffet along with the regular menu and dinner is a la carte. The cheerful restaurant is located in a strip mall off of Yankee Doodle Road at 1260 Town Centre Drive in Eagan. It may seem like another world, but it is just 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.

For information or take out orders, call 651-688-8686 or visit their Web site at www.sambol.com.

Note
Many Farmers’ Markets are still open and filled with fresh products. Some close in mid- to late-October while others stay open for seasonal sales of Halloween pumpkins and Christmas trees. Check with your local market and shop the full season. Tomatoes are especially good this year as are corn, green beans, peppers, and apples. And the prices are so reasonable. How can you beat fresh homegrown produce at low prices? Stop by this weekend.

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