Kiribath | Sri Lankan Coconut Rice

A celebration dish from Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Coconut Rice

Tropical countries around the globe have their own versions of coconut rice. This one is from Sri Lanka, and is different to our other Coconut Rice dishes in that the rice is allowed to over-cook and become very soft and tender. It can be served hot, but if allowed to cool it solidifies and can be cut into diamond shapes.

Sri Lanka has a beautiful red rice which is often used to make this dish. It is nutty in taste, but is much softer than brown rice. This coconut rice is an auspicious dish in Sri Lanka, being made on every important day, festivals, celebrations and on the first day of each month to mark to symbolise luck and happiness.

Similar dishes include Sri Lankan Pineapple Curry, Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and South Indian Coconut Rice.

Have a look at our other Coconut Rice dishes, and explore our Sri Lankan dishes. All of our Rice Recipes are here. Or simply browse our Late Spring recipes.

Sri Lankan Coconut Rice

Kiribath | Sri Lankan Coconut Rice with Red Rice

250g Sri Lankan red rice
550 ml coconut milk
200 ml water
8 cardamom pods, crushed
0.75 Tblspn salt

Rinse the red rice, and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well.

Mix the coconut milk and water.

Place 500 ml of the coconut mild-water mixture in a pan with the cardamom, salt and rice. Bring to the boil and simmer over low heat for 3o minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Add the remaining coconut milk and stir well. Allow to cook until the liquid has absorbed and the rice is thick and sticky, stirring often. The rice should be very tender and the consistency of the rice should be creamy. It can take 15 – 30 minutes, depending on your rice.

If eating the rice hot, place the rice in a bowl and serve.

If serving the rice cold, spread the milky rice over a greased and lined tray and smooth over the top – a piece of grease-proof paper works well. When it is cold, cut into squares or diamond shapes when set and serve on a large platter or banana leaf. This is a very traditional way to serve this milk rice. The rice will be firm enough to stick together and the pieces will be able to be served individually.

The rice is delicious on its own. Or serve milk rice with sambol or any dish that does not have coconut in it. It is also wonderful served with banana and jaggery.

recipe notes and alternatives
This dish can be made with a wide range of white or red rices.

The amount of water and coconut milk is depend on the kind of rice you use. Adjust accordingly.

If you don’t have coconut milk, you can use milk.

When you flatten the milk rice on the serving dish or tray, apply a little coconut milk or ghee/butter on the surface, so that it doesn’t get dry. It also adds to the taste too.









4 thoughts on “Kiribath | Sri Lankan Coconut Rice”

    1. Hello Anonymous! See that little icon that looks like a printer? It is in the row of icons below the post. (Its the third one from the end.) That will print the recipe nicely for you.

  1. i have a bag of white rice i bought from lankan store it says kiribath rice. can i use this? also can you give me some ideas what else i can make (besides milk rice) with this rice? its a biggggggggg bag.

    1. It is probably a rice especially for cooking kiribath, and will be short grained, probably Kekulu Rice. If you want a couple of variations of kiribath (rice in coconut milk), see the wikip page under “Variations”:

      You can google Kekulu rice for some inspiration. I have not tried kekulu, but I would also use it in any way that you would normally use any short grained rice. Let me know how it goes.

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