Festive Fare: The Hot Buttered Rice Tradition

By Andrea Pavee

Special days and Sundays are times of feasting at home.

To keep up the tradition, I make it a point to upscale my cooking efforts to serve up something special for the family then.

When I was young, my Mum would make the ultimate comfort food: hot buttered rice.

She would make it mid-week so as to give us a little boost from the humdrum of our school days, It would be served topped with piping hot helpings of either Chicken a’la King or Beef Stroganoff. Pasta was a rarity then in Malaysia.

To pass on those fond memories to my own family, the hot buttered rice tradition is now a staple at home, although with a twist.

Hot buttered rice is a marvelous accompaniment to any dish, as long as it is not soupy. Roasts, thick curries, chicken a’la king, or beef stroganoff all pair well with it.

Since we use salted butter at home, I stave off adding in salt to the rice. If you use unsalted butter you can add salt for flavour. However, salt is an optional ingredient so feel free to toss it out altogether.

I use pandan (pandanus) leaves and also a sprig of curryleaves when cooking the rice. Knot your pandan leaves for easier discarding after your rice cooks. As for the curry leaves, you can toss them into the rice pot still stuck onto their stems since both the stems and leaves are fragrant.

Into this mix, I add cardamom seeds, star anise, cloves, and a stick of cinnamon. Lastly, into the pot goes an onion and a bulb of garlic.

The butter, and a generous sprinkling of black pepper is added once the rice is cooked, and just before serving.

While stirring in the butter and pepper, remove the onion, garlic, pandan and curry leaves. Take out as much of the dried spices as possible. Do not worry if you cannot get everything out, as they can be removed when dining.

Butter rice must be served piping hot for a lip-smacking meal.

Butter Rice


4 cups of Jasmine rice

¼ cup butter

3 pandanus leaves, knotted

1 sprig curry leaves

5 cardamom seeds

3 star anise

½ teaspoon cloves

1 stick cinnamon

1 onion, peeled

1 bulb of garlic, washed

Coarse black pepper

Salt to taste (optional)


  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear.
  2. Wash the pandan and curry leaves, and the dried spices.
  3. Remove the outer flaky skin of the onion and garlic. They will go into the rice pot as is.
  4. Put the washed rice, leaves, dried spices, onion and garlic into the rice pot and boil as normal.
  5. Once the rice is done, remove the onion, garlic, pandan & curry leaves, and as much of the spices as possible. If you are unable to, not to worry, as they can be removed during dining.
  6. Drop in the butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Pepper rice lavishly and serve piping hot.

Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 4April 2021

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