Aromatic Malabar cuisine ghee rice made with jeeragashala rice is a festival lunch treat. Try out this fragrant non-spicy rice topped with fried onions and roasted cashews. Make it with a korma, papadam, salad and pickle to enjoy the tastiest meal of your life.
This is one post I wish I could just write in Malayalam. That Kozhikoden dialect is the only one I can say this in. I do miss Kozhikode. I grew up there, went to school and college, and made memories laced with that faint fragrance of neichoru from our neighbour, Suharathatha. These platters of neichoru are passed over the compound wall during Id or Ramadan or for every wedding we had attended in and around our neighbourhood. Then amma learnt to make it and now me!
Neichoru is not Biriyani
Please, don’t ever call the neichoru a ghee Biriyani. it destroys the very idea of that delicately flavoured preparation. I can give you simple three reasons to understand this. Firstly, it has a very gentle flavour and not a strong spicy spice mix like the Biriyani. Secondly, neichoru is made with short-grain rice. The food enthusiasts from Malabar will agree with me here. Plus there are no vegetables in the neichoru.
What rice is best for Malabar neichoru?
The short-grain karma otherwise called jeeragashala is the preferred rice to make neichoru. This is a short-grained, white, raw rice. Upon cooking the rice has a distinct aroma that gives its characteristic flavour to this Malabar-style neichoru.
Other ingredients needed to make perfect malabar ghee rice
The recipe card below carries the details and step-by-step details of preparing this neichoru recipe. Let us know in the comments how yours turned out. To save the recipe for later, pin it onto your board from here
- instant pot
to cook the rice
- 1.5 cup Raw rice kaima/ jeeragashala
- 3 cups drinking water
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
- 2 bayleaves
- 3 green cardamom (crushed)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 inch fresh ginger root (pounded)
- 3 cloves
for the garnishes
- 3 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
- 1 large red onion (Sliced thin)
- 2-3 tbsp cashew nuts
- Use a moist cloth and clean the rice by rubbing on it.
- Into a pressure cooker, add the tbsp of ghee and add the spices into it.
- As the spices roast and add the rice and mix it well.
- Once the rice is well coated add the salt and water and cook the rice.
- Set for rice to cook in the instant pot.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan add the three tbsp ghee and bring it to heat.
- Add the sliced onion, on medium heat roast till the onion is translucent and golden brown.
- Now add the cashew nuts and roast them.
- Once this is ready set aside till the rice is cooked
- Release pressure naturally for the rice and fluff it well with a fork. Add half of the roasted onions and cashew nuts and mix well.
- Transfer into a serving dish and garnish with the rest of the roasted onions.
- Serve warm. If serving later keep covered and warm.
Meal prep and lunchboxes
Neichoru stays good for two to three days in the fridge and up to a month in the freezer. Ensure it is in tight food-safe containers as the fragrance permeates the entire fridge otherwise.
This is one of the recipes my mum used to pack for friends during hostel days. Folded in wilted banana leaf with the dates pickle on the side, it is a gorgeous meal. However, there is a drawback when you open the lunchbox the fragrance attracts your colleagues to dig in. So pack extra.
Pairing with neichoru
Neichoru when served for vegetarians is served with a mild curry, kurma. Along with this beetroot pickle, papadam and salad are preferred. Often for desserts, you will find an assortment of puddings and fresh fruits. To wash down this delicious meal try spiced tea, sulaimani or some Nilgiri lemon tea.
Neichoru is more of an emotion than a complicated recipe. It is simple, fragrant and makes you want to eat some rice. It is festive, so try it during ID, Christmas or Diwali. Stay subscribed to us for new updates as we post them.
See you in the next post.