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Spicy red onion sambal is spooned over diamonds of coconut rice in this Sri Lankan dish, served to commemorate new beginnings. While a mortar and pestle is traditionally used to pound the sambal, it also can be gently pulsed together in a food processor.

January 2021


Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Recipe Summary

2 hrs 15 mins
50 mins


Lunu Miris


Make the kiribath
  • Place rice in a medium saucepan; add water to cover. Swirl rice to rinse, and drain. Repeat process twice, pouring off as much water as possible. Add 3 cups water and cardamom, if using, to rice; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until water is mostly absorbed, about 15 minutes. 

  • Uncover rice; stir in coconut milk and salt. Cook over low, stirring often, until coconut milk is mostly absorbed and mixture is creamy and thick, about 5 minutes. Discard cardamom. Transfer rice to a platter or baking sheet; top with a piece of parchment paper. Spread rice into a 1 1/2-inch-thick rectangle; use a spatula to flatten top. Let cool at room temperature until set, about 5 minutes. Remove parchment paper; cut rice into 3-inch squares or diamonds. 

Make the lunu miris
  • Place 1 cup onion in a medium bowl; set aside. Using a mortar and pestle, mash together fresh chile, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, chile powder, turmeric, and remaining 1 cup onion until mixture is crushed and well combined. Add to onion in bowl; stir in cracked black pepper, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve with kiribath.


Find Kashmiri chile powder at South Asian grocery stores.