When I returned back from school with a parched throat, I was always greeted by the aroma of caramelized onion with ginger and garlic paste along with pandan (screw pine) and curry leaves. My mother along with other ladies made porridge in huge pot to donate to the mosque and share with relatives and neighbours during Ramadan.
People took turns making the porridge to donate to the mosque so it was always made in big batches. I miss my home now and to relive the memories, I make this dish at home quite a few times during Ramadan
As rice is a staple in Sri Lanka, porridge is usually made with soaked rice, fresh coconut milk and spices. Sometimes moringa leaves/ chicken/ beef is added to make it wholesome. Some opt to add maldive fish chips which is a delicacy in Sri Lanka. Maldive fish is smoked and dried tuna.
Time: Total of 6 hours including the time for soaking the rice in water. (4-5 hours soaking the rice in water +cooking time 45 minutes -1 hour)
Serves: 3-4 persons
1 cup raw white rice or porridge rice
2 litres of water
A few grains of fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp of broken chickpea halves (optional)
200 grams of beef on the bone or chicken (optional) but highly recommend it to be used
2 green cardamom
2 cm piece of ceylon or true cinnamon
A few curry leaves
A few slices of pandan/screw pine leaves
A few slices of lemon grass
2 tsp of ginger and garlic paste
1 medium tomato, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
2 green chillies, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped (I used shallots)
1 tsp meat curry powder or a combination of the following spice powder(⅛ of a teaspoon of each pepper,coriander, cumin,fennel, turmeric and chilli)
200 ml coconut milk
Oil or butter
1.Wash and soak the rice, fenugreek and chickpea halves (if you are using) in cold water for at least 5-6 hours.
2.Drain the water; in a pressure cooker add the drained rice along with the washed beef or chicken, the garlic, green chillies, a teaspoon of chopped onion and 2 liters of water. Cook for 30 minutes with the weight on. Leave it to cool. Remove the beef or chicken and shred them to small pieces and discard the bones.
3.In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat oil or butter. When hot, add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon followed by chopped onion. Cook until the onion turns golden brown; add the ginger & garlic paste along with the curry leaves, pandan leaves and lemongrass. When the ginger and garlic paste turn lightly golden, add the meat curry powder and cook till it is roasted for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook till tomato becomes mushy. Add the chopped meat and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4.Add the boiled rice and cook till it comes to a boiling point. Add salt and mix well.
5.Add the coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. Adjust the consistency of the porridge to your liking by adding less or more milk.
Do not boil. Adjust seasoning to suit your palate.
Note: If you are adding maldive fish, add it after the tomato. If you are using moringa leaves, add at the end of cooking as the leaves may change colour.
If you want a milder porridge omit the curry powder and green chillies.
For vegetarian version avoid the meat and maldive fish.