Keralan Lemon Rice with Malabar Spinach Mallung

Keralan Lemon Rice with Malabar Spinach Mallung
Kerala is known as the "land of spices" with the oldest historical records of the Sumerians dated back 3000 BCE. Keralan food is traditionally vegetarian based and is well known for its traditional baquet called "Kerala Sadya" which is a pure vegetarian meal served with boiled rice and a variety of side dishes served during festivals, ceremonies and special occasions. Food is traditionally served on banana leaf and almost every dish has coconut and spices like chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds, tamarind and asafoetida.
Cuisine: Vegan
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6
  • 3 cups brown basmati rice (soaked overnight for 8 hours)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or black)
  • 1 stalk pandanus leaves
  • 25 curry leaves
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 red chilli pepper, chopped finely
  • 1 lb malabar spinach
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup fresh coconut grated
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp lime juice
Kerlan Lemon Rice
  1. Soak the rice in cool water to sprout for 8 hours, rinse off the next morning and put 3 cups of fresh water with 1 cup coconut milk with the rice. Cook the rice in rice cooker according to instructions.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add coconut oil, onion, garlic, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, red chillies, pandanus leaf, sea salt, lemon zest, and handful of cashew nuts. Stir fry for 2 minutes until the cumin and mustard seeds start to pop, stir in turmeric powder and lemon juice. Remove the stove and add it to the cooked rice. Fluff with a fork and mix the rice up.
Malabar Spinach Mallung
  1. Wash the malabar spinach and chop the greens, onions and green chilli pepper into minuscule bits.
  2. In a small pot, add the mustard and cumin seeds to pop on low heat. Add curry leaves to saute until fragrant then add onion, green chilli, greens, coconut milk, fresh grated coconut and sea salt to cook. Let it simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and squeeze in lime juice.
  3. Serve the mallung with Keralan Lemon Rice.
Mallung, or mallum, is a traditional dish of Sri Lanka. The mix of greens and coconut is cooked in a dry skillet without any oil, so the fat comes from the coconut. I strongly recommended using fresh or frozen coconut for this recipe rather than dried coconut because the flavor and texture of fresh coconut is so much better. Any leaf green can be used: Kale, swiss chard, cabbage, beetroot or radish leaves. Although greens are the most common mallung ingredients, many other types of vegetables also can be used, like cauliflower, root vegetables, carrots, beans, unripe papaya, tender jackfruit, bread fruit. All make a wonderful mallung. Once you have mastered the art of creating mallung, creative cooks can get adventurous. The texture of mallung makes it an ideal filling for wraps. It’s delicious inside pastry or sandwiched in bread, or even in pie recipes. The art of mallung is full of exciting possibilities and can make any meal more enjoyable.