Kola Kenda is a traditional Srilankan breakfast from the Kandy region in Sri Lanka.
During our trip to Srilanka couple of years back, Kola Kenda was one of the items served for breakfast. Although, there was a lavish spread of different breads and english breakfasts, I remember clearly that we wanted none of it and kept going back to the Srilankan local breakfast counters all through our stay. Kola Kenda was one of them that left a serious impression on me. So, when I came back, I tried my hands at re-creating it at home.
I found it impressive that Srilankan everyday vegetarian foods make use of a lot of herbs.
I find Kola Kenda to be similar to our South Indian Kanji / Ganji / gruel that we make using par boiled Kerala Matta Rice in Dakshina Kannada or mangalore side. It is so healthful because of the unique way it includes medicinal herbs like Brahmi known as Vallarai in Tamil used so often in Ayurveda.
Kola means leaves in Sinhalese. Other herbs like Mukunuwenna (ponnangani keerai / honagone soppu / sessile joyweed), Shathavari (Hathawariya in Sinhala) and Velpenela aka Balloon vine / love in a puff and Drumstick leaves also find their way into the Kenda.
I used Srilankan red rice that I had brought back with me to make Kola Kenda. However, any local unpolished red rice can certainly be used in its place.
I cooked the Kenda in a clay pot just like they do in Sri Lanka.
This amazingly healthy and simple Srilankan Herbal Red Rice Porridge is made by cooking red rice until the grains are fully cooked and infusing with the goodness of Brahmi (Indian Pennywort) and curry leaves. This is as real as real food can get, certainly tastes way better than it looks and 100 times good for the brain.
Red Rice with its bran intact is nutty, wholesome, filling, loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamin B along with its mesmerizing color. You should really consider trying if you haven’t yet.
This recipe is an example of how rice can be cooked in a healthy way. Never again tell that Rice is bad for health. What say?
Try this herbal porridge or Kanji for a change instead of the store brought bread or the corn flakes to bring sparkle, vitality and joie de vivre needed to live life to its fullest
The porridge should be green in color due to the concentration of the greens. I made the Kola Kenda with the amount of Brahmi and Curry leaves at hand. You can add more greens for a greener Kenda like this.
- 1/2 cup Unpolished Srilankan Red rice / any local unpolished red rice
- water - 2 cups for cooking kenda 1 cup water for the coconut milk
- 1 cup freshly grated Coconut
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns or to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 small onion or 3-4 shallots finely chopped
- 3 small organic garlic pods or 1 tsp crushed paste
- 2 small bunches of fresh Gottu Kola / Brahmi leaves
- 5-10 stalks Kara Pincha / Curry Leaves
wash red rice well couple of times. soak rice for 3o mins
pressure cook with 3 cups water for 6-8 whistles
in the meanwhile, grind washed brahmi and curry leaves to a smooth paste with little water. Strain the green juice into a bowl.
crush the black peppercorns finely in a mortar & pestle
grind freshly grated coconut with water to a smooth paste. Add more water and strain the coconut milk, about 3/4 cup
Heat the coconut oil in a clay pot on low-medium flame (never high). when the oil is hot, add crushed garlic and chopped shallots and saute until translucent.
add a pinch of salt to season the shallots.
Transfer the cooked red rice gruel into the pot. Add the coconut milk and cook some more until it thickens up and the rice grains breakdown further about 5-7 mins.
Add the blended green juice at the end after turning off the stove
season with salt and black pepper powder to taste
Wash the leaves once in salt water to get rid of microbes