Nei Choru which is the traditional Ghee rice, a popular dish from the cuisine of Kerala cooked by caramelizing lots of onions combined with basmati rice cooked in dollops of ghee and spiced with whole spices resulting in a very flavourful and aromatic rich delicacy. It’s very easy, quick to prepare and extremely delicious.
Nei Chor or Ghee rice is a simple recipe as it needs only a hand full of ingredients and is totally flexible as you can customize the dish as per your taste with whatever spices and ingredients available in your store. Nei Chor is a famed delicacy of south India especially a speciality dish from the Malabar coastal region in Kerala. This dish is a semi version of a biryani and is usually taken along with spicy non-vegetarian dishes. Traditionally cooked ghee rice is a simplified version of the Malabar Mopla biryani.
The Nei Chor is staple food for the daily requirements and goes with any kind of meat or vegetable curries. It is a very popular dish that generally graces the menu during festivals, parties and other occasions in south India. This dish is much like among the Kerala Muslim community and goes excellently well served with Chicken Korma. Nei Chor or Ghee rice can also be eaten on its own and often liked among kids. It is a quick and easy dish, but that does not in any way affect its grandeur. It definitely belongs to the group of those royal dishes such as Biryani and Pulaos. The flavour of the ghee and the spices makes it all the more majestic.
Nei choru or Ghee rice is royally and delicately spiced aromatic basmati rice with a strong flavour of ghee. The rice is roasted in ghee with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and cooked to perfection and finally garnished with roasted cashews, raisins and onions. It takes just less than 20 minutes from start to finish and is perfect for potluck parties since it pairs up well with spiced curries as well as simple raitas.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is butterfat that has been separated from the water, proteins, and salt in butter. Ghee is used heavily in Indian cuisine and is considered an extremely pure food in South Asia, and may be used to anoint representations of the deities, both in home worship, performed by laity, and in Temple worship, performed by Brahmin priests. Originated in South Asia and is commonly used in South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Pakistani) cuisine and ritual.
It is traditionally used Indian cuisine and gives a rich nutty taste. The texture, colour and taste of ghee depend on the source of the milk from which the butter was made and the extent of boiling and simmering. Ghee has a longer shelf life, both refrigerated and at room temperature. Ghee is a versatile ingredient that is used in making a variety of vegetarian, non-vegetarian dishes and making of delicious and mouth-watering Indian sweets. In southern India, Ghee is served with dosa.
In many parts of India and Pakistan, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengal, Orissa and many other states, rice is traditionally prepared or served with ghee (including biryani). In Rajasthan, ghee is considered to be a must have with Baati. All over north India, people dab Roti with ghee. In the Bharuch district of Gujarat, Ghee is served with khichdi, usually an evening meal of yellow rice with curry. Ghee is also used in preparing delectable Indian sweets such as Mysore pak, and different varieties of halva and ladoo. Ghee is an important part of Punjabi Cuisine and traditionally, the Parathas, Daals and Curries in Punjab often use Ghee instead of oil, in order to give the food added richness and taste.
For preparing this royale Nei Chor or Ghee Rice, firstly soak the basmati rice in water for about an hour. Drain the water from the rice and keep aside.
Add 2 teaspoons of ghee in a vessel and heat. Add the drained rice to this once its heated and keep stirring the rice until all the water gets dried and rice grains get coated by the small amount of ghee added (do not do this for long as you do not want the rice to be fried but only dried). Set the dry sautéed rice aside.
Prepare the pressure cooker for cooking the rice. Add one cup of ghee in the pressure cooker and in the time in heats up, slice the onions to be added. Add the sliced onions to the hot ghee and always add a little salt at this point to fasten the process of the onion frying. Keep stirring the onions till they are fried to slight brownish colour but not totally roasted. At this point, add the whole pieces of spices (garam masala) to the hot ghee. Add the dried and sautéed rice in the pressure cooker and add water in the measure of 1.5 cup water for every 1 cup of rice. Make sure that the measure of water is absolutely right or else it could spoil the rice.
Mix the content well and pressure cook it until you get a single whistle. (Tip: Do not put the whistle on top until you see steam coming out of it as this makes sure your rice is not prematurely cooked.) Do not open the cooker for 10 minutes after it’s switched off. After 10 minutes, open the container and mix well. Add the fried cashews to this and again mix well. The delicious Nei Chor is ready to be served with any delicious curry or a simple raita (either cucumber raita or onion raita).
Variations – You can add a handful of peas or mint leaves along with rice and cook, if you feel it is too plain. You can fry cashew nuts and raisins in ghee and garnish it. You can also garnish it with fried onions.
Ghee rice is quick, simple, full of flavours, royal and makes a scrumptious wholesome meal. Do give it a try. Your family and friends would just enjoy licking their fingers. Click the link for detailed recipe: