Ghee Rice (Nei Choru, Neychoru) is a Kerala-style rice dish where rice is cooked with lots of ghee and spices. This dish is perfect to serve as a side dish with your everyday meals. Here is how to make it (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About Ghee Rice
Ghee Rice (Nei Choru, Neychoru) is a flavourful one-pot Kerala-style rice dish that is made using white rice, ghee, and a few spices. It is especially popular in the Malabar region of Kerala.
This simple rice dish comes together quickly using a few simple ingredients. It is served for everyday meals, special occasions, and festivals with curries and lentils.
Nei choru is also great to pack for school or office lunch boxes.
Any Malayali mess you go to, neychoru will be on their menu served along with prawn roast, kurma, or stew.
This perfect ghee rice recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free and can be easily doubled or tripled.
I like to make it in a pan over the stovetop but you can also make it in a traditional pressure cooker or instant pot. I have mentioned the processes below.
Use a 3-liter pressure cooker or a 6-quart instant pot to make neychoru recipe. If scaling the recipe, then use a bigger cooker (or instant pot). The time of cooking will remain the same.
Rice – This dish is traditionally made using Jeera Samba rice (seeraga samba rice). It is short-grain rice and is very flavorful. Having said that, I like to make it with long-grain basmati rice or even sona masuri rice.
Ghee – This is the key ingredient that adds a nice aroma to this dish. Use the best quality ghee for the best taste and flavor.
Spices – You will need aromatic spices like green cardamoms (hari elaichi), cinnamon (dalchini), black peppercorns (kali mirch), and cloves (laung). Lightly crush them in a mortar and pestle for the best flavor.
You can also add bay leaf, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and star anise to this recipe.
Others – You will also need onions, green chillies, cashew nuts, raisins, salt, and water.
Adjust the green chilies as per your taste. If making it for kids, you can skip them too.
How To Make Ghee Rice
Rinse 1 cup of white rice with water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak it in 4-5 cups of water for 30 minutes.
Heat 3 tablespoon ghee in a pan over medium heat.
Once the ghee is hot, add 5-6 whole cashew nuts and fry until they are light brown in color. Stir frequently while frying.
Now add 10-12 raisins to the pan and fry until they plump up.
Remove the cashew nuts and raisins to a bowl and keep them aside.
- 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 whole green cardamoms
- 2-3 cloves
- 2-3 whole black peppercorns
and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds.
Add ½ cup thinly sliced onions to the pan and fry until they turn dark brown in color (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently.
Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan along with 2-3 green chilies (slit into half), 2 cups of water, ½ teaspoon salt, and fried cashews and raisins. Stir gently.
Reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook undisturbed for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked well.
Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice gently using a fork and serve hot. You can also garnish the rice with chopped coriander leaves and crispy fried onions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can! Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins and keep them aside. Add the whole spices and saute for 3-4 seconds. Add onions, and green chilies, and fry until onions are golden brown in color. Add the cooked rice, salt, and fried cashew nuts and raisins and toss well to coat the rice with the ghee. Cook for 2-3 minutes and serve hot.
Follow the recipe until adding water to a 3-liter pressure cooker. Pressure cook the rice for 2 whistles on high heat. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and fluff the rice.
Press SAUTE button on a 6-quart instant pot and follow the recipe until adding rice to the pot.
Now add 2-3 green chilies (slit into half), 1 cup of water, ½ teaspoon salt, and fried cashew nuts and raisins. Stir gently.
Close the lid of the instant pot and set the valve to the sealing position.
Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 6 minutes at high pressure.
Once the timer goes off, do a 10-minute NPR followed by QPR.
Open the lid and fluff the rice using a fork. Serve hot.
Coconut Ghee Rice – You can cook the rice in thin coconut milk instead of water or add grated fresh coconut to the recipe.
Vegetable Neychoru – You can also add some vegetables like green peas, potatoes, french beans, and carrots to make vegetable ghee rice.
Fruits Ghee Rice – Just like vegetables, you can even add fruits such as mangoes, pineapple, or pomegranate.
Nuts Loaded Nei Choru – Along with raisins and cashews, add more dried nuts such as pistachios, almonds, etc, or dry fruits like cranberries, apricots, etc.
Egg Ghee Rice – Scramble an egg and mix it up with the cooked rice.
Ghee flavored rice tastes the best along with a delicious Vegetable Kurma or any other Kurma that you prepare at your home.
Ghee Rice also makes for a great side dish along with your festive vegetarian curries.
Ghee Rice stays good in the fridge for about 2-3 days. While reheating if you find it a little dry, sprinkle a little water and heat it properly.
You can either reheat it in a pan or in the microwave.
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Ghee Rice Recipe (Nei Choru, Neychoru)
- 1 cup white rice
- 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
- 2 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
- 2-3 cloves (laung)
- 2-3 whole black peppercorns (kali mirch)
- 5-6 whole cashew nuts
- 10-12 raisins
- ½ cup thinly sliced onions
- 2-3 green chilies (slit into half)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- Rinse rice with water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak it in 4-5 cups of water for 30 minutes.
- Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat.
- Once the ghee is hot, add cashew nuts and fry until they are light brown in color. Stir frequently while frying.
- Now add raisins to the pan and fry until they plump up.
- Remove the cashew nuts and raisins to a bowl and keep them aside.
- Add cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, cloves, and black peppercorns, and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds.
- Add onions to the and fry until they turn dark brown in color (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Drain the rice and add it to the pan along with green chilies, water, salt, and fried cashew nuts and raisins. Stir gently.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook undisturbed for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked well.
- Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the rice gently using a fork.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and crispy fried onions and serve hot.