In every hotel in Sri Lanka you will see this soup at the breakfast buffet, rich green in colour, quite thin, with pieces of red rice in the bottom. Beside it you will also see a bowl of palm sugar, to nibble on as you drink the soup.
Traditionally enjoyed before breakfast, this soup is deeply adored by the locals, including truck drivers on their way to the fish markets at 4 am, and actually in the markets, where stallholders will have a jar or thermos of this healthy, warming soup. At home, it is served like a rice gruel to people who are sick, and can be made with any green leaves, although the gotu kola, or pennywort, is the most prized.
Wash the rice and place in a heavy-based saucepan with the salt and
Meanwhile, place the pennywort, garlic and
After about 15 minutes, when the rice starts to soften, stir in the blended pennywort and remaining coconut milk. Bring to the boil.
Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and black pepper. Check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
Serve hot, with the palm sugar to nibble on as you drink the soup.
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