These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

Sri Lankan Egg & Seeni Sambol Buns

These soft, fluffy Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are filled with spicy caramelized onions relish and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

Seeni sambol (caramelized onion relish) is a very popular side dish in Sri Lanka. It is sweet, spicy, slightly sour and served with bread, hoppers (fermented crepe) and roti for breakfast or dinner. You will find seeni sambol buns or egg and seeni sambol buns in every bakery in Sri Lanka. We have these buns for breakfast, as a snack with tea or coffee, also when we go on long road trips. 
Egg and seeni sambol buns are one of my favorite breakfast options. Whenever I visit the bakery, I make sure to buy these. Caramelized onion relish and eggs are a fabulous combination.

These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

The bread roll dough is a family recipe and it is eggless which is an excellent dough recipe for vegetarians. We use dry milk powder for this recipe but I also have made this recipe with fresh milk many times which works well too. Back home I use Mauripan Instant Dry Yeast which is the best yeast you can find in Sri Lanka. In Doha, the best yeast you can find is Saf-Instant red dry yeast ( I am not paid to say this ). This dough recipe is made by hand however, you can use a stand mixer to put this dough together.

I make these Egg & Seeni Sambol buns for Easter breakfast. This basic eggless bun dough recipe is what I use for many filled bread rolls that I make.

Possible Variations

Vegetarians can fill these bread rolls only with the onion relish made without Maldive fish.

Make it Kid-friendly

If making for kids, don’t add red chili powder and red chili flakes for Caramelized onion relish.

Ingredients

Seeni Sambol( caramelized Onions relish)

Red onions – Traditionally red onions are used for this recipe, but you can use yellow onions. I recommend using red onions as they give the best flavor for this dish. Try to get onions that are the same size, because it cooks evenly.

Oil – Use a flavorless oil like sunflower, vegetable, or corn oil. 1/4 cup of oil seems a lot, but it’s essential to use all of it for best flavor and it helps to preserve the relish for a longer period. Therefore avoid using less oil. In this case, you can drain the oil after cooking with a strainer, so it will not ooze out when you fill the buns.

Spices & Herbs – Cardamom, cinnamon, curry leaves, Pandan leaves, red chili powder, and red chili flakes are essential for an authentic flavor. However, you can reduce the spiciness by adjusting the chili powder and chili flakes. This recipe calls for whole spices, but you can use ground spices too. If using ground spices, I suggest you add 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Curry leaves should be fresh.

Maldive Fish Flakes- Cured tuna fish flakes are one among many other essential ingredients in Sri Lankan cooking, but you can make it without this.

Sugar – The recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar or brown sugar to balance out the spiciness and tartness in the dish. Sugar alternatives like coconut sugar, palm sugar or stevia also can be used. Try to avoid maple syrup, honey or agave nectar which might affect the flavor of this dish.

Tamarind pulp/ paste- Tamarind is tart, combined with sugar and spice, is a burst of flavor! You can buy seedless tamarind in small blocks or tamarind past in bottles. If you get the seedless tamarind or with seeds, first you will have to soak 1 1/2 Tablespoons of tamarind pulp in 1/4 cup of hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, using a spoon mash up the tamarind until the pulp is blended. Hands can be used at this point but make sure the mixture is not hot. Finally, you can pass the tamarind mixture through a sieve to get a smooth paste. Use 1 Tablespoon of tamarind paste diluted with 1 Tablespoon of water for this recipe.

How to make caramelized onion relish?

You can make this ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze it for 6 months. This is not a quick dish to prepare, but I will guarantee that it’s worth the wait and you will love it!

Onions should be thinly sliced and slow-cooked on medium-low heat. I used brown sugar for the recipe, you can use white sugar or sweetener. The recipe has both chili powder and chili flakes. Please change the chili according to your spice level. Adding Maldive fish is optional. Leaving out Maldive fish doesn’t make a big difference in the flavor.

  • Peel the onions, wash them and thinly slice the onions and leave aside. 
  • Keep a wok or large frying pan on medium-low heat and add oil into the pan.
  • After a minute, add the cinnamon stick and bruised cardamom pods in the oil and let it fry for few seconds.
  • Next, add the sliced onions, curry leaves, Maldive fish flakes, and pandan leaves. Stir well and let the onions sauté till it turns pink, translucent and slightly golden. It takes about 30 minutes to come to this stage. Don’t forget to stir a few times so that the onions don’t burn.
  • At this stage add salt, red chili flakes, and red chili powder and sauté for 10 minutes. Stir a few times.
  • Lastly, add the sugar and tamarind pulp mix well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Take off fire.
  • Cool completely. This keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 6 months.
These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs.
The lighting in this pic is terrible as it was late(dark) when I took the picture. I posted it just because I want you to see how the end product looks like 😉
These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

Making the bread roll dough

Ingredients

Flour – Use all-purpose flour for this recipe

Yeast – I use instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast which might take a little longer in the rising. Always check the expiry date of the yeast. I regularly prove the yeast with sugar and a little warm water, before adding it to the flour to see whether the yeast is activating. If the yeast is old the mixture won’t be frothy. This means you will have to start all over again with new yeast.

Water – It is important to use warm water (the temperature at 110°C ) Depending on the flour and the weather conditions you might need more or less water. Add the water gradually to get a very soft dough but not wet dough. If the dough is dry add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time similarly if the dough is too wet add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until you get the correct consistency. Avoid adding too much flour.

Milk – Use whole milk and don’t use fat-free or low-fat milk. Use 2 tablespoons of dry milk instead of whole milk.

Butter – Full fat unsalted butter or full-fat salted butter. If using salted butter reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.

Sugar – I use regular granulated sugar.

Egg wash – Use one whole egg and one egg yolk to brush on top of the buns. Vegetarians can brush the buns with milk or cream.

Making the bun dough

  • Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center.
  • Add warm water and milk to the flour mixture and knead it to form a very soft dough. 
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough springs back.
  • Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it somewhere warm for 1 hour or till the dough is doubled in size. 
  • Punch the dough down, leave it to rest for 10 minutes and shape the dough.

Filling the buns

  • Peel and cut the hard-boiled eggs into half.
  • Divide the dough into 10 for large buns.
  • Now, roll each ball of dough into a 5-inch oval (center should be slightly thicker than the edges.)
  • Put 1 Tablespoon of onion relish right in the middle and place half an egg on top. Bring the dough around it together and make a ball( oval) by pinching the edges together. Make sure you pinch the edges to seal well.
  • Next, put the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover and let it rise until double in size, about 40 minutes. (depends on how warm the room is)
  •  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200° C.
  • After 40 minutes, lightly beat an egg and the yolk together and brush it on top of the buns gently.
  • Bake the buns till golden brown for 20- 25 minutes. 
  • Serve warm.

Sri Lankan Egg & Seeni Sambol Buns

Recipe by Ruwani Ravin KumarCourse: Breakfast, Snacks, LunchCuisine: Sri Lankan
Servings

5

servings
Prep time

2

hours 

10

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

15

minutes

These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

Ingredients

  • Seeni Sambol( Caramelized Onion Relish)
  •  2lb/1kg red onions 

  •  ¼ cup/60ml of sunflower/vegetable oil

  • 1 stick of cinnamon 

  • 3 cardamom pods bruised

  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves 

  • 2 2″ inch pandan leaves

  • 1 Tablespoon Maldive fish flakes (optional) 

  • ½ teaspoon salt  

  • 1 -2 teaspoon red chili flakes (adjust according to your spice level)

  • ½-1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust according to your spice level)

  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar 

  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste  

  • Bread Roll Dough( Bun Dough)
  • 500g/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons/10 g instant yeast

  • 1 cup / 240ml of warm water

  • ½ cup/ 120ml of whole milk

  • 30 g/ 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 5 hard-boiled eggs

  • Egg wash**
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk beaten

  • vegetarians – brush the buns with milk /cream

Directions

  • Seeni Sambol ( Caramelized Onion Relish)
  • Peel the onions, wash them and thinly slice the onions and leave aside. 
  • Keep a wok or large frying pan on medium-low heat and add oil into the pan.
  • After a minute, add the cinnamon stick and bruised cardamom pods in the oil and let it fry for few seconds.
  • Next, add the sliced onions, curry leaves,Maldive fish flakes and pandan leaves. Stir well and let the onions sauté till it turns pink, translucent and slightly golden. It takes about 30 minutes to come to this stage. Don’t forget to stir a few times so that the onions don’t burn.
  • At this stage add salt, red chili flakes, and red chili powder and sauté for 10 minutes. Stir a few times.
  • Lastly, add the sugar and tamarind pulp mix well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Take off fire.
  • Cool completely. This keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 6 months.
  • Bread Roll Dough ( Bun Dough)
  • Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center.
  • Add warm water and milk to the flour mixture and knead it to form a very soft dough. 
  • Next, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough springs back.
  • Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it somewhere warm for 1 hour or till the dough is doubled in size. 
  • Punch the dough down, leave it to rest for 10 minutes and shape the dough.
  • Filling the Buns( Bread roll)
  • Peel and cut the hard-boiled eggs into half.
  • Divide the dough into 10 for large buns.
  • Roll each ball of dough into a 5-inch oval (center should be slightly thicker than the edges.)
  • Put 1 Tablespoon of onion relish right in the middle and place half an egg on top. Bring the dough around it together and make a ball( oval) by pinching the edges together. Make sure you pinch the edges to seal well.
  • Put the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover and let it rise until double in size, about 40 minutes. (depends on how warm the room is)
  •  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200° C.
  • After 40 minutes, lightly beat an egg and the yolk together and brush it on top of the buns gently.
  • Bake the buns till golden brown for 20- 25 minutes. 
  • Serve warm.

Notes

  • You could reduce the sugar if you want to. 
    Remember to drain off the oil before filling the buns. 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon could be used instead of cinnamon stick. If you are using ground cinnamon add it after you add the sliced onions to the pan. 
  • Adjust the chili flakes and chili powder according to your spice level. If you prefer to use one type of chili, I would recommend using chili flakes.

Did you make this recipe? Mention @celebratingflavors on Instagram and hashtag it #celebratingflavors

These delicious Sri Lankan Egg and Seeni Sambol Buns are soft, fluffy and filled with spicy caramelized onions and hard-boiled eggs. Excellent for breakfast, snack, Lunchboxes, and picnics.

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2 Comments

    • Thank you, David. This is a common snack in Sri Lanka, alternatively, they have buns filled only with spicy onion relish. You should try making it some time, I am sure you will love it. Thanks for the visit.

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