Savoury Rice

I had tried to get hold of some of the Sri Lankan Burgher cuisine recipes for some time now. While some of the dishes such as lamprais, frikkadels and some kinds of specialty cakes around Christmas time are very popular and are recreated by cafes and bakeries around the country, I was more interested in the home-cooking of Burgher families. Besides Refinceyaa who shared her aunt’s recipe for capsicum with eggs on this blog, I had also asked Trevor Martil who is another of my former colleagues. He recently sent me some of his mother’s favourite recipes. Today’s recipe is one such dish, which Trevor’s mother calls ‘savoury rice with a difference.’ This rice recipe (providing both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options) is what I am sharing at Fiesta Friday together with some special music clips.

The special song clip for today is a rendition, by Amitabh Bachchan, of renowned poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s beautiful Bengali poem Ekla Cholo Re written in 1905. This song is from Sujoy Ghosh’s acclaimed Hindi movie Kahaani (translation: Story, 2012) starring Vidya Balan. Translation of the lyrics can be found on Wikipedia.

The next song clip is from Aamir Khan’s talk show Satyamev Jayate (translation: Truth alone prevails). Composed by Ram Sampath for the lyrics written by Swanand Kirkire, Meenal Jain sings the beautiful Hindi song ‘Sakhi’ at the end of the episode on domestic violence. I think I must have watched all the episodes of the first season in 2012.

Hope you enjoyed the songs and do let me know if you tried out the recipe today!

Savoury Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • 250g cooked rice
  • 150g chicken (vegetarians can substitute this with tofu or mushroom)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 capsicum chili
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce (Trevor’s mother prefers to use Sri Lankan MD brand)
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chili powder
  • ginger paste and garlic paste (Again, Trevor’s mother prefers the ready-made MD brand)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 30g green peas
  • 2 eggs
  • cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise
  • curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (vegetarians can substitute this with vegetable stock)
  • parsley
  • coriander leaves


  1. Temper spices, star anise, onions, curry leaves.
  2. Add cooked rice, 1/4 cup milk, turmeric. Allow to simmer.
  3. Add green peas, eggs and stir in a tablespoon of butter.
  4. Serve and keep aside.
  5. Cut chicken into small pieces, marinate in soya sauce, and place in a pan.
  6. Cook till water is absorbed.
  7. Add oil and stir-fry adding all vegetables, onions, ginger, garlic sauces and 1/2 cup chicken stock.
  8. Cook and take off heat with gravy.
  9. Pour over rice.
  10. Sprinkle parsley and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Recipe source: Trevor Martil


23 thoughts on “Savoury Rice

  1. Thanks to you and to Trevor and his mother for sharing this beautiful rice dish. I am very tempted to try the mushroom version of it. And thanks also for bringing music to the party. I have read a lot of Tagore, but hearing his words put to music is a real treat.

    • Thank you, Hilda. Do let me know if you do try out the mushroom version of the savoury rice. Nice to know that you are a Tagore fan. I have read some of the translations of his work which I have really enjoyed – particularly his novel, Gora. Have a lovely weekend and thanks for co-hosting the Fiesta this time!

      • Of course I read everything in translation so have no idea how much I missed from the original. I really do intend to make this dish – I hope sooner rather than later – and will let you know. Hope you too have a good weekend.

  2. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #24 | The Novice Gardener

  3. This would definitely go over big in my house. I plan on trying both the chicken and the mushroom versions! Happy Fiesta Friday! πŸ™‚

  4. Very interesting recipe Ahila! I first heard about Burghers when I read ‘The Jam Fruit Tree’ by Carl Muller. This one is going on my list to make! I loved Kahaani & Satyamev Jayate πŸ™‚

    • I must admit that I am not a fan of Carl Muller’s style of writing so have only read very few of his works. I am sure you must have also read the work of another literary figure who has Sri Lankan Burgher roots – Michael Ondaatje. Glad to hear that you will be trying out this recipe, Naina. Please do let me know how it turned out. And, yes, Kahaani is a lovely movie and Satyamev Jayate a beautiful, awareness raising talk show though I must say I have not seen any of this season’s episodes.

    • Thank you, Linda πŸ™‚ By the way, I made some harissa paste today and plan to make chorba tomorrow for my family first. Will let you know how it turned out. Have a great weekend as well!

  5. Hi Ahila – I so look forward to your posts and the amazing flavours and music that you share with us. Thank you for bringing all of these to the party this week and a very happy Fiesta Friday to you!

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