Sri Lankan Ghee Rice with Pandanus | Buttered Rice

Ghee rice is such a celebratory dish, rich in flavour and great to accompany light spicy dishes. This rice is flavoured with pandan leaves and curry leaves, adding sultanas to highlight the sweet floral notes of the pandan. It is exotic and luxurious, and a delight at the table.

I was never much bothered with washing and soaking rice, but basmati deserves this attention. I love the aged basmati rice with its long beautiful grains, and soaking definitely adds to the finished product. Please make the time to soak the rice while you chop the onion and get the other ingredients ready.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry with Roasted Coconut, Sri Lankan Coconut Curd Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice, and Sakkarai Pongal. Also try Sri Lankan Pol Roti.

This rice dish adds to our collection of mixed rice dishes. You can explore them all here. It is a Sri Lankan dish, and you might like to browse our other Sri Lankan recipes here. Or perhaps have a look at our Indian recipes too. Our Late Spring recipes are here.

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Pandanus | Pandan Leaf | Screwpine Leaf | Rampe | Kewra

The stiff, bright green pandanus leaf is used for its colour and flavour in curries and rice dishes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Chinese, Indonesia and the S.E. Asian countries.  There is no real substitute for the unusual nutty, grassy but sweet flavour of the leaf,  which is cut into pieces or tied in a knot and added to dishes. Different varieties have flavours that are variously described as rose-like, almondy, and milky sweet, vanilla-like. (There are over 700 varieties of Pandanus, some edible and some not. The most aromatic types are from Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.)

Screwpine leaf was the name given by English traders who travelled to Asia. The Indian name for it is Rampe and in Bangladesh it is called ketaki. Kewra is the flower of the Pandan plant.

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Cumquats Rice

A delicious variation on Indian style flavoured rice.

To everyone alone today, I say hello! Enjoy your time of luxury, either at the beach if you are in this part of the world or snuggled up with books and movies if you are not.

Needing a quick bite yesterday, I turned to my fav style of one pot rice. One Pot dishes are wonderful for suppers, a quick meal, or those evenings alone with a good book, some good music and maybe a movie on TV. Not a lot of preparation and best of all, not a lot of washing up.

Similar dishes include Roasted Cumquats with Flowering Thyme.

Feel free to browse our Rice recipes. Or you might like to browse Indian recipes too. Check out our easy Spring recipes here. And our Cumquat Recipes are here.

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Kampung Ghee Rice | Malaysian Village Rice

A warming, fragrant, beautiful rice for cool days.

Ghee and rice go together so well. Ghee Fried Rice is a Malaysian dish that is often called Kampung Ghee Rice. Kampung refers to its rustic village origins. This is a wonderfully fragrant rice, lighting up your whole house with its warm spice fragrance. I was first introduced to the recipe by my friend and cook extraordinaire Franz. Thanks Franz.

You might like to browse our rice recipes here. Our favourite is South Indian Coconut Rice. Or explore the S. E. Asian recipes here. And find inspiration in our Spring recipes here.

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What is Indian Jaggery, Asian Palm Sugar, Chinese Rock Sugar and Middle Eastern Rock Candy?

Palm Sugar

Juice extracted from the coconut flower, palmyra palm, sugar palm or aren palm, is boiled and packed into molds to make sugar with a faint caramel taste. It is a delicious, raw, honey-coloured lump sugar much used in coastal India and throughout China and SE Asia.

It is available in block form or in jars. The colour ranges from pale golden to very dark brown. Palm sugar is thick and crumbly and can be gently melted before adding to sauces or dressings. Soft brown sugar, demerara, or coconut sugar can be substituted, if necessary. Palm sugar is available from Asian or Indian food stores. It has a creamy, rich sweetness that works beautifully in desserts, and also in savoury dishes to balance the saltiness of soy sauce, the acidity of lemons or limes, and the pungency and spiciness of chillies. It can also be used to replace sugar in any recipe where the colour of the sugar will not affect the final dish.

If palm sugar is not available, use Indian Jaggery or a soft brown sugar. I often use them interchangeably, as I enjoy the differences in taste they give to a dish. When travelling, I will often bring back Palm Sugar from the region, as the taste also varies from country to country. I particularly enjoy Balinese Palm Sugar.

Palm Sugar Syrup

To make Palm Sugar Syrup, combine 1 cup of water, 2 pandan leaves and 2 cups chopped palm sugar. Bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes, strain and store in the fridge. Use in a variety of ways – it would be delicious with Mangoes in Syrup.


Jaggery is another name for palm sugar, and typically comes from the sap of date palms, coconut palms or sago palms. It can also be made from sugar cane juice – after sugar canes have been crushed to produce cane juice, the liquid is boiled down and reduced to make jaggery.

Jaggery might be labelled according to type — whether it’s made from palm trees or sugar cane — but not necessarily. Because jaggery is basically unrefined it can be produced by anyone, including small producers where labelling may not be used at all. It is usually golden brown to dark brown in colour.

Rock Sugar

The Chinese have used sugar in savoury dishes since ancient times and have developed a repertoire of different sweeteners. Among these is rock sugar, or yellow sugar, which comes in hard, angular and irregular sized pieces. It is made from palm, beet, or cane sugar and is less sweet than granulated sugars. It has a clear taste, with no caramel tones. Because it’s less sweet, it is great in tea, and doesn’t overwhelm the flavour of tea as much as white sugar can.

Lump Sugar

Chinese Lump Sugar is opaque, different sized lumps of crystallized, refined sugar made from sugar cane. Unlike Rock Sugar, it has a regular square shape and a smooth surface. The colour can be white or yellow. This sugar also has a clear sugar taste, with no caramel tones and it is made by suspending string in a raw sugar cane juice. The sugar in the juice crystallizes around the string, forming lumps of sugar crystals around it. It is slightly less sweet than Rock Sugar, adding a subtle, mellow flavour to dishes as well as a translucent finish.

Rock Candy

In the Middle East, and in parts of India, rock candy is used to sweeten teas and coffee and is used as an after dinner snack. It is another form of  crystallised sugar. Apparently, it is also one of the world’s best hangover cures. It can be bought in packets or loose, or formed around sticks and infused with saffron for stirring into your tea. Try it if you ever have a stomach ache or upset stomach. Persian rock candy sticks  are called nabāt.

Persian Rock Candy with Saffron

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series.  Check out our easy Dessert recipes.


Lemony Sago in Coconut Milk | Sabudana Coconut Payasam

Sago is back in fashion!

Sago is back in fashion! It is wonderful when it is paired with enough lemon juice that it is tangy, and enough jaggery that it is sweet, and swimming in coconut milk. A truly delicious and cooling dessert, just made for hot weather. It can be served hot, cold and at room temperature.

Are you after other Sago dishes? Try Sago Pachadi, Sago Payasam, and Sago Pilaf.

You might like to browse all Sago recipe and explore all of our Dessert recipes. See the complete set of Indian recipes too.  Or be inspired by our Late Spring dishes.

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Tropical Coconut Sago Pudding | Lemony Sago in Coconut Milk | Sabudana Coconut Payasam

Sago is back in fashion! It is wonderful when it is paired with enough lemon juice that it is tangy, and enough jaggery that it is sweet, and swimming in coconut milk. A truly delicious and cooling dessert, just made for hot weather. It can be served hot, cold and at room temperature. This is gorgeous. I still make it often.

Do you remember sago – that lumpy stuff that we ate as kids? Tasteless but oh so cheap to cook. Well, it is back! Borrowing from the cuisines of South and SE Asia, sago is now a yummy, sweet dessert for summer (cold or chilled) or winter (hot). Try this one. Great for any time, even for kids arriving home from school.

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