Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sri Lankan Kiri Bath (Coconut Milk Rice)

Sri Lankan Kiri Bath (pronounced "kiree-buth", translates in English literally as "milk rice") is a traditional dish that is served and eaten during celebrations and auspicious occasions to mark and symbolize luck and happiness.  Most Sri Lankans start the first of every month (especially January 1st) with kiri bath for breakfast in hopes of starting the month and year off with good luck.  This beautiful rice dish is very simple and consists of four ingredients:  rice, water, coconut milk and salt. Although these ingredients are basic, it is truly a delicious, creamy, savory rice dish that can be eaten plain, with spicy dishes or sweet jaggery.   I was fortunate enough to receive a sample of traditional Heirloom Ceylon Red Rice from Rural Returns by Essential Living Foods.  This beautiful, highly nutritious red rice is produced by rural communities in Sri Lanka (formally known as Ceylon) through sustainable farming.

2 cups rice (see note)
4-5 cups of water
2 cups of coconut milk (fresh, can)
salt to taste

Note: you can use any long grain white, brown or red rice for this dish.  If you use a firmer grain rice like brown or red rice I suggest you wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes to help the cooking process.

Step 1: Wash the rice several times with water until the water runs clear from the rice. Soak rice if you desire to help your cooking time.
Step 2:  In a large pot on high heat add rice and 4-5 cups of water. Bring rice to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer (medium-low heat) and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes until almost all the water is absorbed. Next add the coconut milk and the salt to taste. Mix all ingredients well and cook in at a low heat until the coconut milk is fully absorbed. The rice should be very tender and the consistency of the rice should be creamy (kind of like a firm rice pudding).

The rice is traditionally served on a platter and formed into a thick cake and cut into diamonds (see first picture for example). The rice will be firm enough to stick together and the pieces should be able to be served individually.  Although this rice is completely delicious on its own, it is traditionally served with chili/onion sambal called lunu miris pictured below or any of the dishes listed below.


 Disclosure: I received the Heirloom Ceylon Red Rice courtesy of Rural Returns.     I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.  The opinions stated in this post are my own. Thank you. 

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