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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A - Z Indian Biryani / Pulao / Khichdi Series ~ N for Nei Choru / Ney Choru

Nei choru is a mildly spiced, richly flavored ghee rice version from Kerala / Malabar regions. Nei choru literally means ghee rice and the dish is cooked in a base of ghee, making it an aromatic and flavor loaded one. Ghee rice is a savory rice preparation which is popular in southern parts of India albeit with minor regional variations. Khuska or kuska rice is a similar dish that includes mint and cilantro as well in the preparation. Ghee rice is even reserved for celebratory occasions and it has been a popular choice in the region for years, especially for vegetarians, when picking a simple yet rich tasting dish for parties, small or big. 

I started cooking for this marathon with nei choru since it was a simple dish to start with before plunging into the world of layered biryanis. I remember enjoying it very much in spite of it's simplicity. If not a fan of elaborate, time and energy consuming biryani preparations which have a laundry list of ingredients and steps, then this would be the basic version to try without getting intimidated. Ghee rice provides a very delicious base for spicy curries, kormas or even dals. A short variety, aromatic rice called jeerakasala / jeerakasamba / kaima that needs no prior soaking is the preferred choice of rice in the Malabar regions to prepare ghee rice. Basmati rice would be a great substitute if not able to find the mentioned rice. Keralites seem to pair ghee rice with non veg versions but this parippu curry was one of the suggested side dishes for the vegetarian folks. The pairing sounded so unusual initially but after tasting it, I have to admit that this combo go real well.

1 cup rice*
4 to 6 tsp. ghee (One can use more.)
1/4 cup cashews and raisins
1 cup peeled and sliced onions (divided)
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 inch cinnamon piece
1 bay leaf
1 and 3/4 cup water
salt to taste
* A short grained rice called jeerakasala is used locally but basmati rice can be substituted in it's place.

1. Wash and soak rice in water for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.(This step is optional. No need to worry if you forgot.)
2. Heat 2 tsp. ghee in a pan and or directly in  a small pressure cooker. Add cashews and toast on medium flame until golden brown. Don't burn them. Remove them with a slotted spoon onto a small plate. Add raisins next and toast them (by shaking the pan so that they are evenly toasted) until they turn plump. Remove them with a slotted spoon onto the cashew plate. Next add half of the onions and 2 tsp. ghee (I added oil here.) and saute on medium flame until they turn golden brown, stirring continuously. This is the only step in the recipe that calls for some attention. We want the onions turn golden brown with sweet flavor. Don't saute on high flame or don't leave the onions unattended since they can burn easily and would turn bitter and not suitable to use in the dish. Transfer the onions to another bowl.
3. Add the remaining ghee to the pan / cooker and add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Saute them for few seconds and add the remaining onion slices and. Saute until translucent. 
Next add rice, water and salt. Mix well and taste the water. It should be a little on the salty side. If using pressure cooker, close the lid and cook for 3 whistles. If using a pan, add 1/4 cup more water than the quantity mentioned in the ingredients' list. Cover and cook on low flame, without keeping peeking into the dish until done, about 20 minutes.
4. Steps 2 and 3 can be done simultaneously using two different pans, to cut down the cooking time.
5. Garnish with raisins, cashews and fried onions. Serve warm with any Kerala style coconut based curry / parippu curry. (Recipe here.)

So far in my Biryani / Pulao / Khichdi series,
A for Ambur Biryani
B for Basanti Pulao / Misthi Pulao
C for Corn - Fenugreek Greens Pulao
D for Donne Biryani
E for Ek Toap na Dal Bhaat
F for Fada ni Khichdi
G for Gutti Vankaya Biryani
H for Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani
I for Iyengar Puliyogare
J for Jaipuri Mewa Pulao
K for Kashmiri Pulao
L for Lucknowi Biryani
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99.


Harini R said...

This was my first pick for the letter N but somehow couldn't stick with it. Looks delicious and is very similar tot he ghee rice I make.

vaishali sabnani said...

I love such simple recipes which pair well with curries and dals . They might not be a show stopper at parties , but surely lift it up . The rice would so good on their own , the basic rice , ghee and cardamom can make the rice into a special one . Love those nuts and your last pic is stunning !

sushma said...

Nei Choru looks delicious with all the garnished nuts and fried onions.

Kalyani said...

Nei Choru seems to be the pick of the day -I think I saw it already on 2-3 blogs already ! the nut studded rice is perfect for any celebrations ;.. with a dal / gravy / korma its a superb meal...

Sharmila Kingsly said...

Ghee rice is my favorite... With some chicken curry..love it..

Gayathri Kumar said...

I am loving all the nei chori recipes I am reading today. Love your garnish too. The rice looks really rich and a perfect base for spicy side dishes.

Srivalli said...

Awesome pictures Suma. Somehow I have been eyeing the way you seem to plate the rice and dal and wanted to recreate, have not been able to do. Will try it sometime soon. This nei choru and dal is a pair to die for and surely makes it so tasty.

Srividhya said...

parippu curry and nei choru is one amazing combo. Try it with eriserry too. You will love. The pepper loaded eriserry with ghee loaded rice = food heaven only. Between I think we didn't post same recipe today. ;-)

cookwithrenu said...

Beautiful click. That rice and the curry looks like a match made in heaven. So tempting.

Swati said...

So easy to make and Looks so delectable with kaju kishmish on top of it.. Lovely capture!!