Kerala Neichoru: Local Rice Enriched With Ghee
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If you’ve grown up in India, you know how integral ghee rice is to our culture. Right from being fed to babies as one of their first solid food to aromatic heaps sitting pretty at daawats, a good plate of ghee rice can be a revelation. However, this Kerala variation of ghee rice, infused with the aroma of whole spices, dry fruits and fried onions, is one to write home about. A good neichoru can form the foundation of a great Mappila biryani; or even better, be eaten with spicy meat curries.

What makes this neichoru special, is how rich and delicious the rice tastes on its own, making one wonder if it really needs to be eaten with an accompaniment. Traditionally, neichoru was cooked in large pots and requires quite the number of skills to nail it down to the tee. This method however, requires minimum effort, can be made in a pressure cooker or instant pot but holds just as much flavour, like you would expect the elaborate preparation to have. You could obviously switch the variety of rice being used depending on where you live and adjust the amount of water, accordingly. This recipe works well even when replicated with fragrant basmati rice.



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  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • Half an onion, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fried onions
  • ½ cup kaima rice
  • 1 + ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste


Image Courtesy: Aharam

  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes. Heat some ghee in a pressure cooker and add the whole spices. Allow them to foam around the edges and turn aromatic.
  • Throw in the sliced onions and saute for a couple of minutes followed by the rice. Make sure to coat the grains of rice with the aromatic ghee and toast for 3-4 minutes, until the grains start to plump up with the fat.
  • Pour in the cup of water and add an additional quarter, only if necessary. Season with salt and allow the mixture to come to a roaring boil.
  • Turn the heat down, clamp on the lid and cook the rice for 10-12 minutes on a low flame. Once done, let the lid sit until it is safe to remove and fluff up the rice using a fork. Serve hot with mutton or chicken curry, dal, pickle and poppadum.