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Olive Samba Rice

olive samba rice


This recipe was born because I wanted to use up a bottle of green olives that I had bought earlier.

Samba rice is a variety of rice from Sri Lanka and some parts of South India. There are several varieties of samba and it comes in red or the usual white rice. I suppose the red ones are unhulled and that accounts for the red colour. Samba rice can be identified from its oval shape and it is usually short-grain. It is very filling and a little corn-tasting and not so fluffy as the Thai rice.


olive samba rice 3

olive samba rice 4


But then I like to add fibre to my cooking and surely samba rice fits the bill. I use samba rice for many recipes such as Dosa, (Indian pancakes served for breakfast) and for many kinds of flavoured rice where the cooked rice needs to be grainy in texture.

I must mention that as much as I do healthy dishes, I also love to eat totally devilish and full-of-butter desserts (more of this later)!

My olive samba rice is an easy one pot meal which can be eaten on its own or you may add a salad or a protein side dish. When I made this, I added a simple salad and my Spinach & Chicken Meatballs.

It is a nice dish to bring on a picnic as it can be eaten hot or cold. So enjoy and I suggest to read my notes below before attempting the recipe.


olive samba rice 2



2 cups samba rice, washed, rinsed well and drained

1 cup green olives, sliced

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil*

3 cloves garlic, smashed

3 thin slices ginger, smashed

1 green chilli, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp garam masala**

2 tbsp tomato paste

4 stalks spring onions, cut into lengths

Salt to taste



Heat oil in a pan, add the ginger, garlic, green chilli and bay leaf. After 1 minute, add the rice and olives.

Stir to ensure all the grains are coated with the oil, for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add in the tomato paste, garam masala and salt. Mix well.

Transfer to a rice cooker, add enough water (about 3 cups) to cook the rice.

Once cooked, garnish with the spring onions.



You can use any variety of rice, but ensure you use the right amount of water for that rice.

If you want a spicier rice dish, add more green chillies or omit this completely if young children are eating.

* Virgin coconut oil can be obtained from the health food section in larger supermarkets, or in health food stores. You can replace the virgin coconut oil with butter which also gives a nice nutty flavour.

** Garam masala is an aromatic spice mix; it can be obtained from larger supermarkets or in Indian grocery stores.

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