Red rice kiri bath

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Usually cut into diamonds and allowed to cool, these wonderful creamy rice cakes are beautiful with ripe banana and any spicy sambal. In Sri Lanka, they are served on auspicious occasions such as New Year, and every full moon, known as a poya day, when key events in Buddhism are honoured — but they are also eaten at other times because they taste so good. My dad used to love them with green mung beans in them, too.


  • 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz/6 cups) Sri Lankan red rice, or other red rice
  • 6 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 75 g ( oz/1 cup) fresh coconut flesh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) coconut cream
  • vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 1 banana leaf, softened (optional; see tip)


Wash and drain the rice, then place in a rice cooker with the cardamom pods, coconut and salt. Cook according to your rice cooker’s instructions. Alternatively, cook the rice using the absorption method.

Tip the rice into a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the coconut cream and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until combined and sticky.

Lightly grease the banana leaf, if using.

Scoop the rice onto an oval platter, then smooth out the rice to an even 3 cm (1¼ inches) thickness, using the greased side of the banana leaf to help you.

While it is still warm, cut the kiri bath into diamonds using a wet knife and allow to cool.

The kiri bath is best enjoyed the same day. Any leftovers can be rolled into balls around some Seeni sambal, then crumbed and deep-fried, like a Sri Lankan ‘arancini’.