Soft, fragrant and with a beautiful golden hue- this Sri Lankan yellow rice recipe is an absolute must-try!
This Sri Lankan yellow rice is an absolute classic rice dish that can be paired with any curry of your choice. If you have been planning out a simple Sri Lankan meal to try at home, or for some guest that you’re hosting, don’t forget to try this out.
It takes just minutes to put together in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, and is so versatile, you can pair it with almost anything you’re making.
Ready to take a quick sneak peek into all that goes into making it? Scroll down and keep reading to discover just that and more.
Ingredients For the Recipe
You’ll need just a handful of simple ingredients to put the Sri Lankan yellow rice together.
- Basmati Rice: 1 cup
- Onions (chopped): 1 cup
- Pandan leaves (chopped): 2 tbsps
- Ginger garlic paste: 2 tbsps
- Curry leaves: 1 sprig
- Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: 1 tbsp
- Water: 2 cups
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Make the Sri Lankan Yellow Rice
Got all your kitchen tools and ingredients ready? Here’s what you need to do next to replicate the recipe from scratch.
Wash and soak the rice in water for 10-15 minutes.
In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the chopped onions, pandan leaves, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, and mix.
Next, add the turmeric powder and salt and mix.
Add the rice next with water and mix.
Pressure cook for 2 whistles or until the rice is completely cooked.
Serve hot with curry of your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can definitely replicate this recipe in a regular pot if you don’t have a pressure cooker or just don’t prefer using it. The beauty of using a rice cooker or a pressure cooker for this recipe is that you’ll always get the perfect, separate grains of rice, every single time. Plus, you can just dump all the ingredients together and be done with it.
If you’re planning to make the rice in a pot, just remember to choose a clay pot or one that has a heavy bottom. This will ensure an even distribution of heat and will keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
You can! Basmati rice is actually the preferred choice for this recipe because this long-grained variety of rice has the perfect texture, shape, and size that you are looking for. However, if you don’t have it or are just on the hunt for an alternative, you could use practically any other kind of short-grained rice for this recipe.
Just remember that the variety of rice that you’re choosing should be non-sticky. Also, keep an eye on the amount of liquid you are using to cook the rice- you don’t want it to end up mushy.
Most other Sri Lankan yellow rice recipes will also call for the use of coconut milk. If you have it, don’t forget to add it in too- the coconut milk will add a wonderful balance of flavor to the rice and lend it a delicious creaminess you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Remember that even if you are using thick coconut milk, you will need to cut down on the amount of water or liquid that you’re using to cook the rice. If you don’t have coconut milk, you could also use coconut cream instead.
This recipe is super simple, which is why there is minimal use of spices. If you have some whole spices like star anise, cardamom, clove, and black peppercorns at hand, you can add a few of those into the mix as well.
You can also add some golden raisins into the rice towards the end.
Tips to Make the Sri Lankan Yellow Rice
Think you’re ready to give the recipe a try? Wait up! You might want to keep these little tips and tricks in mind to make sure you nail the recipe.
- While plain water is always a good choice to cook the rice, if you want some extra flavor, you can add a stock cube or just use vegetable or chicken stock to cook the rice.
- The pandan leaves are optional, but if you can get your hands on them, don’t forget to add them into the dish- they can add a nice subtle flavor to the dish that you won’t want to miss out on.
- Want your yellow rice to have some extra rich flavor? You can skip the oil and use butter instead.
- Don’t mind a bit of spice? You can add some chopped green chillies into the mix too.
- While turmeric powder is definitely the healthier choice for this recipe, if you don’t have it, you can add a pinch of saffron strands instead of give the rice that yellowish color.
- Once the rice is completely cooked, use a fork to ‘fluff’ the rice a bit. This can help the grains of the rice separate, and you’ll get that perfect looking plate of flavorful rice.
- Don’t forget to top the rice with some crispy fried onions, fried garlic or some lightly fried cashewnuts right before you serve. They can brighten up the dish and lend it some extra flavor and texture.
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Your pot of steaming hot Sri Lankan yellow rice tastes incredibly delicious on its own, but of course, it is always a good idea to team it up with any curry of your choice. If you want to make it as a part of your vegetarian meal, you can whip up a quick Sri Lankan potato curry or mushroom curry, or make the famous Ambulthiyal go along with the rice.
Quick Sri Lankan Yellow Rice
- Wash and soak the rice in water for 10-15 minutes.1 cup Basmati Rice
- In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the chopped onions, pandan leaves, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves, cinnamon stick and mix.1 cup Onions, 2 tsp Pandan leaves, 2 tsp Ginger garlic paste, 1 sprig Curry leaves, 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- Next add the turmeric powder and salt and mix.1 tsp Turmeric powder, 1 tsp Salt
- Add the rice next with water and mix.2 cups Water
- Pressure cook for 2 whistles oruntil the rice is completely cooked.
- Serve hot with curry of your choice.