Sri Lankan Yellow Rice (Kaha Bath)

We all know how to make our rice and we love it that way. But once a while, when you come across something that is so beautiful, you leave what you have been doing all your life and do this new beautiful thing. That’s what happened to me when I first tasted this rice in Sri Lanka and  then made it at home after, and owned this simple but glamorous recipe. It has become my favourite thing to make even on a regular day.


Serves: 4-5
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Expertise Level: Easy
Ingredients Availability: Easily available in Super Markets
Food Mood: 

  • Taste Palate: Subtle and Elegant
  • Ambiance:  This is by far the perfect thing for a sumptuous lunch – a Sunday lunch..
  • TV Series: Daredevil Season 2, ’cause  we are Netflix junkies


  1. 500 grams (2 cups) Basmati rice
  2. 2 tbsp ghee
  3. 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  4. 6 cardamoms
  5. 6 cloves
  6. 8 peppercorns
  7. 1 tsp turmeric
  8. 2 inch piece lemon grass
  9. 2 inch piece cinnamon
  10. 2 1/2 cups chicken stock/ water for veg option
  11. 1 cup coconut milk
  12. 2 level tsp salt
  13. 12 halved cashews (and some raisins if you like)


  1. Wash and drain the rice. Set it aside. Keep the dish under the fan to dry the water out completely
  2. Heat ghee in a deep bottomed pan for cooking the rice.
  3. Then add the onion and fry until transparent.
  4. Now add all the ingredients including the rice and fry, stirring constantly for 2-3 mins.
  5. Pour in chicken stock and coconut milk and cook in medium heat until the moisture evaporates.
  6. When the rice is cooked, the spices will emerge on the top. This will take around 20 mins for Basmati Rice.
  7. Remove the spices and stir slightly with a fork.
  8. In a separate pan, add a drizzle of oil and stir fry the cashews (and raisins) for a minute and garnish your rice with it.

Serve this gorgeous rice in traditional Sri Lankan way as Lamprais : Rice, curry, sambol, brinjal paella, frikkadels, plaintain chips in a banana leaf parcel and steam for 15 mins. But if you want to do it the Indian way, this rice goes beautifully with a meat curry, or pork or mutton fry or a heavy spiced vegetable curry (I am thinking dum aalu right now), if you are a vegetarian.

Food Marriage

You need cashew (and raisins) in this dish. It somehow calls for them, and you will miss them dearly if you don’t add them. I left the raisins out as hubby dearest hates them.

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