Kiri Bath


Kiri bath (milk rice) is a traditional Sinhalese dish served at almost all festivals, ceremonies and special occasions. Watching Priyantha feed his wife a piece of kiri bath with his own hand was bizarre and rather uncomfortable. I would run a million miles if someone tried to hand-feed me, but this is an age-old tradition in Sri Lanka and it is believed to bring good luck and strengthen family unity.


  • 440 g (15½ oz/2 cups) medium-grain white rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) coconut milk*
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) coconut cream*


Wash the rice well and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover the rice by 2.5 cm (1 inch). Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Stir through the coconut milk and bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked (the rice should be moist and sticky). Stir in the coconut cream and cook for a further 3-5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the coconut cream has been absorbed.

Pour into a lightly greased 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) tray or large shallow dish. Flatten down the rice with a spatula, and allow to cool slightly for 15 minutes. Kiri bath is traditionally cut into diamonds or squares, and served warm or cold topped with a spoonful of seeni sambol or lunu miris.