Serve this yellow rice recipe as part of a menu along with Hoppers' Sri Lankan crab curry and samphire and sea beet sambol. Next, check out our egg hoppers, coconut sambal and more Sri Lankan recipes, plus learn more in our insider guide to Sri Lankan food.


  • 200g basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 7½cm piece pandan leaf, or 3 dried pandan leaves
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • crispy fried shallots, fried curry leaves, sultanas or roasted cashews, to garnish


  • STEP 1

    Wash the rice under cold running water until the water runs almost clear. Tip into a medium pan, cover with fresh water and soak for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Drain well.

  • STEP 2

    Heat a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the ghee or butter, followed by the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the rice, pandan leaf, turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir gently, being careful not to break the rice grains.

  • STEP 3

    Add 350ml of cold water and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until the water reaches the level of the rice. Cover, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 15 minutes without removing the lid.

  • STEP 4

    Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice gently with a fork. Garnish with fried shallots or curry leaves, sultanas or roasted cashews, and serve.

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