Experimenting “Kiribath”

“Kiribath” (kiri = milk, bath = rice, hence milk rice) is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from a special kind of rice called “Kekulu”. Be it rich or poor, Kiribath is an essential dish for any special moment in Sri Lanka, specially in celebrating the Sinhalese New Year. Kiribath is cooked and served as the first meal after the dawn of the new year.

Sri Lankan traditional new year dining table featuring "Kiribath".
Sri Lankan traditional new year dining table featuring “Kiribath”.

To cook a proper kiribath dish we need following essential items; Kekulu rice, coconut milk with right amount of thickness, clay pot and firewood hearth. Since, it is hard to find these exact items in this part of the world, I did an experiment on cooking kiribath using Basmathi rice, canned concentrated coconut milk and a rice cooker.


Even though, basmathi rice is somewhat  similar to Sri Lanka kekulu rice in physical shape, kekulu contain higher amount of water in them. Therefore I made a (kind of) calculated adjustment to the recipe increasing the amount of water per cup of rice. Despite of not having the perfect conditions such as controllable temperature, clay pots, correct kind of rice and fresh coconut milk I was able to cook a kiribath dish which is somewhat similar to what my mom makes back home.


A feature of a correctly cooked kiribath dish is the ability to cut them into trademark diamond shaped smooth pieces. My kiribath pieces wasn’t the best when it comes to shape, but they were almost there.


Through this experiment I realised that the correct conditions, right materials and equipment are key requirements for making a perfect kiribath. Anyway, the kiribath made with the stuff we have here wasn’t too bad both in shape and taste. It was an attempt to be proud of, at least until I hit an authentic Sri Lankan kitchen again!

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