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Sri Lankan Kiribath Recipe

Sri Lankan Kiribath Recipe

Kiribath is a traditional Sri Lankan rice dish consisting of a simple combination of rice, coconut milk and salt. It can sometimes contain spices if a stronger flavor and fragrance is desired.

It is prepared by mixing cooked rice with coconut milk and salt while the rice is still warm. The mixture has a thick porridge like texture which can be shaped or molded and sliced into pieces. It is usually shaped into a flat circular cake and cut into diamond shapes. Kiribath is eaten as a side dish or main meal.

When eaten as a side dish, Kiribath accompanies savory foods like fish curry. If eaten as the main meal, it can be eaten for breakfast, paired with fruit or jaggery, a type of unrefined sugar.

It is common to serve Kiribath with sambol. Sambols are condiments that can be sweet or savory and can be made with a wide range of ingredients such as nuts, fish sauce or hot peppers.

Kiribath variations include a sweet version made with jaggery or filled with coconut. Sweet versions are usually eaten as dessert. Spiced Kiribath is made with spices like cardamom, cinnamon or pandan leaf. Kiribath with more complex textures are made with nuts or mung peas.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Kiribath is unique to Sri Lanka. In Sri Lankan Sinhala language, ‘kiri’ means milk and ‘bath’ means rice. It is prepared for special occasions like weddings, birthdays and other celebrations. It symbolizes new beginnings so it is often prepared when moving into a new house and for the New Year.

Sri Lankan Kiribath Recipe

Sri Lankan Kiribath Recipe

Yield: 5 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Kiri Bath is a traditional Sri Lankan rice dish. It is a simple combination of rice, coconut milk and salt.


  • Glutinous rice or jasmine rice - 2 cups
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Coconut milk (thick) - 1 cup
  • Salt - ½ tsp
  • Pandan leaf (optional) - 2 inch


  1. Rinse the rice atleast three times or until water runs clear.
  2. Transfer the rice to a large pan and pour in the water.
  3. Add pandan leaf now, if using.
  4. Cook on medium heat, check the rice constantly.
  5. As the last bit of water evaporates, lower the heat.
  6. Let the rice overcook so it becomes soft and mushy.
  7. Pour in the coconut milk and add the salt. 
  8. Check if the salt is adequate.
  9. Maintain low-medium heat to avoid the rice sticking to the pan, stirring occasionally.
  10. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes or until the rice has a soft creamy, porridge-like consistency.
  11. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Line a cake pan with plastic wrap and pour the rice in.
  13. Gently even out and flatten the rice to take the shape of the pan.
  14. Smooth out the surface of the milk rice with the back of a flat spoon.
  15. Once cooled, turn it upside-down over a plate and let the molded Kiri Bath slide gently down to the plate.
  16. When the rice is set, slice into diamond shapes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 244mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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