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Nombu Kanji (Colombo)

During Ramadan Muslims fast (avoid eating and drinking) from sun rise to sunset; about 15 hours give or take depending on the season. At sunset, when it is time to break their fast, having heavy or dry food can be a bit hard to consume at first. So many Muslim families prepare their own style of nombu kanji, a rice porridge, which is ideal for consuming after long hours of fasting. This recipe is by Sitthi from Colombo.


  • ½ cup of sambar or suwendel rice

  • 1 ½ cup of chicken stock (or chicken stock cube)

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup shredded chicken

  • 1 small onion sliced

  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped

  • 1 inch piece of ginger chopped

  • 1 small stick of cinnamon

  • 2 or 3 pods of cardamom

  • 1 small tomato chopped

  • 1 Green chili

  • Few whole peppercorns

  • 1 bayleaf (optional)

  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil


  • It’s best to use broken rice, so after washing the rice either break it roughly with a mortar and pestle or just one or two quick blitzes in a food processor. Do not make it fine.

  • Add the rice to a saucepan, pour in the chicken stock, and add the bayleaf, cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorns. Boil ingredients to cook.

  • In the meantime, add the coconut oil to a frying pan and once hot, saute onions, tomato garlic and ginger. Once fragrant, add the turmeric, give it a quick mix and follow immediately with the shredded chicken and a pinch of salt.

  • When coated well, remove from heat.

  • Add the chicken mixture to the rice, and follow with the coconut milk. Add more water if the mixture is like kiribath, it should be thick but fluid unlike the high viscosity of freshly made kiribath. Add salt to taste if necessary.

  • Bring to a simmer.

  • Serve hot.

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Recipe source

  • Sitthi from Colombo

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