A healthy fish fried rice with butterfly pea flower | Sunday Observer

A healthy fish fried rice with butterfly pea flower

15 August, 2021

Fried rice is often perceived as a kind of not-so-healthy dish that many of us love to eat. Fried rice was a healthy quick dish when it was prepared traditionally by its inventors. Later on, when the commercial preparation of it began, especially in Sri Lanka it lost its goodness and now people find it unhealthy due to the way it is prepared and unhealthy ingredients that are used in the preparation. However, fried rice can be prepared in a manner which would support our healthy eating regime.

Blue fried rice or fried rice prepared using butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea) extract is in fact a healthy option to prepare and eat fried rice. Blue rice is highly popular in Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia. If you happen to visit the most attractive Asian travel destination, Thailand you can taste many dishes prepared using butterfly pea flower extract such as blue rice, blue tea and blue cool drink. Blue rice is known in Thai language as Nasi Kerabu.

Medicinal properties in blue fried rice

Butterfly pea is a climber and is widely grown in Sri Lanka. There are mainly three types of butterfly pea climbers found in Sri Lanka which are white (Ela Katarolu), blue (Nil Katarolu) and purple (Dan Katarolu). All these butterfly pea varieties are used in Ayurvedic stream of medicine for preparing various medicines to cure illnesses. According to Ayurvedic medical practitioner Sri Palitha Geegana Arachchige who is also serving as a lecturer told Sunday Observer that all parts of butterfly pea climber is used in Ayurvedic medicine. He added that flowers when consumed as a drink or in any other form has the ability to cure common cold, cough and fever. Hence, consumption of butterfly pea flower can be a healthy practice during this pandemic period to enhance immunity of the body as well as to cure cold, cough and fever.

The other benefits of butterfly pea flower as per Dr. Geegana Arachchige are as follows,

Enhances immunity

Heals body pain

Reduces fatigue

Revitalises brain

Delays aging (due to anti-oxidants present)

Improves memory

Good for kidney diseases

Detoxifies body

Prevents diabetes

Although butterfly pea flower has such a vast range of health benefits, it is under- used in Sri Lanka due to ignorance. Many dishes can be prepared using this flower as it acts as a natural colouring agent. The extract of flower can be used as a natural colour instead of toxic artificial blue colour in preparation of food.

Blue fish fried rice

Here is a healthy fish fried rice that can be prepared using the extract of butterfly pea flower. Not only does this fired rice look attractive with an unusual colour for a fried rice, it is tasty as well as healthy. If you can find fresh butterfly pea flowers in your surroundings, this is an ideal treat for your family. Do try it!

Ingredients required

Butterfly pea flowers- 30

Basmati rice- 250g

Fish -100g

Carrot- 50g

Scallion- 50g

Spring onions- 2

Sesame oil- 3 tbsps

White pepper powder- ¼ tsp

Salt as required

A small cinnamon stick

For deep frying fish pieces

Sesame oil- 1 or 2 cups

Curd- 2 tbsps

Curry powder- ½ tsp

Turmeric- a pinch

Chilli powder- ½ tsp


Ginger-garlic paste- ½ tbsp

(tsp- tea spoon, tbsp- tablespoon)


Cut fish into smaller pieces. In a bowl add curd, curry powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Mix them well and add cut fish pieces and let the fish pieces marinade for half an hour.

Wash butterfly pea flower carefully to remove dirt and dust. Make sure the flowers would not get crushed in the process of washing. In a bowl pour 2 cups of boiling water and add butterfly pea flower. Close the bowl and let the colour of the flowers be extracted to the water. Wash Basmati rice and place the rice in a rice cooker. Then add the blue water (butterfly pea flower extract) and little salt and let the rice soak for 20- 30 minutes. The ratio of Basmati rice and water is 1: 1.5 cups. If too much water is added the rice will be over-cooked and if the water is not enough, the grains will be hard to eat. Once the rice is soaked, cook it with blue coloured water. Heat a pan and add sesame oil. Deep fry the marinated fish pieces carefully as fish can easily be broken. Transfer the deep-fried fish pieces into a bowl and keep aside.

Grate carrot and chop scallion and spring onions. Remove the excess oil in the pan and add 3 tablespoons of sesame oil. When oil is heated, add the cinnamon stick.

Then add carrot, scallion, spring onions and salt and sauté for one to two minutes. Do not over-cook vegetables when making fried rice. To this add cooked blue coloured Basmati rice and the deep-fried fish pieces. Then add white pepper powder and mix carefully. Add salt if required.

Decorate with fresh butterfly pea flowers and serve hot. Give your loved ones a different experience!