Vishu Kanji | red rice and coconut porridge

vishu kanji

Vishu is all about the spring harvest. Though a shorter season it is a prep for the upcoming hot humid summer and the monsoons to follow. It is the beautiful Vishu Kani that wakes you up to watch the harvest gleam golden in the light of the oil lamp. The fragrance of fresh harvest of red rice, jackfruit, varieties of beans, and the yellow flowers of “kani konna” all together make it a real treat. Since the kani happens early in the morning breakfast before the sadhya becomes all the more important.

What is Vishu kanji?

The Vishu kani is seen early in the morning. This means breakfast becomes a must before the elaborate afternoon sadhya. A delicious filling porridge with red rice, field beans and coconut milk is prepared as breakfast. This gruel-like preparation is Vishu kanji. Simmered in coconut milk the kanji is soft cooked. This makes it easy on the stomach and light enough to be ready for the later elaborate meal.

Ingredients for vishu kanji

Though just a few ingredients, the Vishu kanji is a creamy porridge.

Red rice: the rice that is used to make Vishu kanji is called unakkalari. This is a short-grain raw rice with the red bran. Slightly sweeter this rice cooks and breaks down into a mushy texture quickly compared to the rose matta rice that is more popular. The bran is the key factor here. If you don’t get this rice you can do short-grain white raw rice too.

Hyacinth beans:hu: Hyacinth beans are used in this recipe to impart their unique flavour and texture. Also known as mochai (Tamil) or puliavara ( Malayalam), it is an essential ingredient for Vishu kanji. These are a high-protein bean,  along with being a good source of minerals like phosphorous and zinc. The dried beans have a tough skin that can be removed and only the cotyledons are used like I have used in this recipe.

Coconut milk: the main cooking medium and liquid content of this recipe is coconut milk. The thinned-out extract is used for cooking the rice and then as a final touch, the creamy first extract is added.

Salt: The kanji is usually had in a savoury version. So salt is added after cooking. I prefer to sprinkle it just at the time of serving. 

red raw rice

Let’s make vishu kanji

Vishu kanji is a simple recipe that relies on boiling. Usually open pot method of cooking is used to make this recipe. However, you can easily make this in the instant pot or a pressure cooker too.

Cooking the beans: the longest cooking time is for the beans. I used the skinned split beans as they are so much more easier to cook and creamier. Wash and soak the bean for 10 minutes or even up to 30 minutes. Discard the water of soaking and add fresh water. Now cook the beans on a low heat till the beans are fork tender.

Cooking the rice: the red rice is washed and soaked for 10 minutes. You can either pressure cook this rice or cook it on an open stove with excess water.

Making the kanji: Once the rice is cooked with a bite add thinned-out coconut milk. This is the 2nd extract of the fresh coconut milk. If using store-bought coconut milk, remove half the can of the thick milk and then add water to thin it out. Mix well and add this to the rice that is cooking. Stir well. Add the cooked beans and cook on a low heat. The rice and the beans become softer, as they soften and thicken to a lumpy consistency, mix well. Add the creamier extract of coconut now and remove from heat. Mix to a smooth consistency and sprinkle salt. The kanji is now ready.

How to serve vishu kanji?

Vishu kanji is not a sweet dish. So it is often served with a rustic style jackfruit puzhukku and some mango pickle. You can pair thoran, mezhukkupertatti, papadam, chammandi etc with it.
Sometimes this vishu kanji is served with crushed jaggery on the side making it one of the simplest combos.

coconut milk kanji

Vishu Kanji

Vishu Kanji is a gentle recipe of soft cooked rice in coconut milk. The traditional gluten free, porridge recipe is served on Vishu morning as a breakfast.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Dish, Soups and salad
Cuisine gluten free, Indian, South indian
Servings 4 people


  • deep pot


  • 1 cup Red rice
  • 1/4 cup hyacinth beans
  • 2 cups drinking water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream


  • Wash and cook the red rice with water.
  • Roast the hyacinth beans lightly.
  • Add water and cook the beans till they are forktender.
  • Once the beans and rice are cooked.
  • Add the beans to the rice, add the coconut milk and mix well
  • Slow cook the mix, constantly mixing it.
  • Once the rice and beans are cooked to a porridge consistency, add the thick coconut extract and mix well.
  • Remove from heat and mix well.
  • The Vishu kanji is ready to serve.
Keyword Indian vegetarian dinner, Kerala recipes, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Stay connected.

What are your Vishu traditions? Do you also make Vishu kanji?

We would love to hear from you if you make vishu kanji, especially if our recipe is the one you tried.
Have a very happy Vishu!
See you at the next post.

vishu kanji

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