Saturday, 25 October 2008

Ghee Rice (Neychor)

This is an easy Malabar festive food that’s made especially when guests come home with quick notice or even for a variety when there are parties at home. The trick in making this ghee rice lays mainly on the water and fire adjustment. Once these both are done properly, the rice should come out perfect. The rice is very fragrant with the whole garam masala and the clarified butter really boosts up the flavour of this dish.

This was one of the dishes that used to make in the budding stage of my cooking. And the first recipe in my old recipe book that I lost long ago. I remember the first time I made this, the rice came out caky I don’t remember why it happened so, may be I added too much of water. You could literally cut the ghee rice into slices. I prepared this for my husband (SEK) during the first visit to UK and I was still a student. SEK used to ask me frequently to learn at least few recipes from my mom as she is an excellent cook. I never bothered to. All I thought was I would write the recipe down, and follow as such and anything any everything will come out perfect. I never even cooked once before that first visit to SEK. First time when I landed here I took the recipe book to kitchen, started making ghee rice as that was the easiest at that time. I added onions with exact measure given by my mom and started to sauté it in low flame. After around 15 minutes, I started wondering how long the onions will take to get cooked because I remember my mom finishing the dish itself by half an hour! And I dint know how they will look once they are cooked. I waited for some more time and confused what to do, called my husband and asked him “Are the onions getting cooked or are they already cooked?” .SEK was surprised and he told me that was why I asked you to try it out from there before coming.

I had visited him quite few times during my studies before settling with him completely. And I think it s almost the same story every time I visit him. Apart from the ghee rice, I also had one signature curry at that time. Either it was chicken, mutton or prawns; it all had the same masala (Chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric) and the same taste. And another funny incident I still remember is that; at that time where SEK was under my brutal culinary experiments, one day I had prepared the chicken curry and the next day I made prawns. SEK asked me did u put prawns in yesterday’s chicken curry, as both taste exactly the same. :) It was only when I started living with him (July 2007) I started to take a bit of interest in cooking…A discovery of different ingredients and cuisines from across the world…..Cooking is not that simple… Ghee rice (Neychor)
Serves 8

4 cups Basmati rice
8 cups water
1 cup onion sliced (1 medium size onion)
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 cardamom pods
6-8 cloves
6-8 small pieces of cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
½ cup clarified butter (Ghee)
salt to taste

1. Wash rice and strain of all the water by placing the rice in colander.
2. Boil water in the kettle or a large cooking vessel.
3. In a large pan, set the heat on to high and ghee. When the ghee gets hot add onions and sauté until the onions just starts turning pink. At this stage add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon and cumin seeds and sauté for a minute until the aroma of the spices starts coming out. At this stage add boiling water and salt to this.
4. Tip in the rice slowly and cook on high heat by keeping the lid open. At this stage you can see that rice lies in the bottom of the vessel and water is on top.
5. When you see that the rice has come on top and water has gone below, reduce the flame to low, and cook it covered until all the rice is cooked eventually. In between you can toss the bottom part of rice and bring to top so that the rice gets cooked evenly.

Serve hot with chicken curry/mutton curry, raita , pappadam and pickle. And whenever there is neychor at home, chicken fry is always there.

1. Never wait until the onions get brown or golden as this will change the colour of rice completely.
2.Always ccok in hig flame until u see all the rice has come on top and water has gone down but still the rice is not cooked. At this stage lower the flame and cook until done.
3. You can also add 4-6 curry leaves along with the boiling water for extra taste and aroma.
4. For smaller quantity, just use half the amount of ingredients.


meeso said...

After seeing your facebook food pics, I'm on the search for something to make tonight... I've added this to my bookmarks :P

Anonymous said...

Well explained with all fine details.Having read and tried your other recipes I know you are a cook par excllence.Keep it up


Anonymous said...

I was looking for some good Malabar recipes n thank you for posting all the wonderful recipes. Will be trying out one by one.

Gayathri Ramdas Sreekanth said...

Hi Shabs...have made this before and today again..came out perfect both times ! Lately I could never get the rice to cook correctly...but this was soo perfect and tender...Your technique was perfect..Thanks and keep up the excellent work !

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