Kola Kanda – watercress, coconut and rice herbal porridge


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

East by West

East by West

By Jasmine Hemsley

Published 2017

  • About

Move over green smoothies and smashed avocado – this is the new green brekkie! I first discovered this creamy rice and herb soup at Cape Welligama – a beautiful resort in Sri Lanka where the chefs were proud to make me a traditional breakfast. A steaming bowl of comfort might not be the first breakfast you consider in a hot country, but it totally hit the spot after a morning’s surfing, and even my beloved breakfast papaya made room for this dish.

The name comes from chief ingredient gotu kola, which is a nutritious wonder herb that grows in Southeast Asia. I’ve had to adapt it to what’s available here, and watercress fits the bill – the bitterness of this superfood works with the sweet creamy coconut. In April, make the most of asparagus’s short season. Traditionally made with broken, mushy red rice, Kola Kanda is served steaming hot with a piece of jaggery that you nibble between mouthfuls – this is particularly beneficial for Vata and Pitta types, to control the bitterness of the watercress.