Ghee Rice is a dish that is widely prepared in Southern states of India Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We had an opportunity to taste Ghee Rice during our friend’s pre-wedding dinner that we had attended couple of years ago.
My trip to Kerala that year was first on many instances. I was visiting Kerala for the first time and even attending a Malayali wedding for the first time. It was also our first of the food excursion that we undertaking following which we have done several such food trips in several states and regions of our country.
We landed in Kannur a day before the wedding and had a pre-wedding dinner to attend that night. We were told by my Hindu-Malayali friend that wedding meal would be an elaborate vegetarian affair. So if we wanted to have an opportunity of trying out on some non-veg items pre-wedding dinner would be our last chance. Dinner that night was not as elaborate as the wedding lunch next day, and we just had couple of dishes served in menu that night. For non-vegetarian folks like us Chicken Biryani was being served, and for vegetarians Ghee Rice was served. Being a foodie to the core, we refused to get chained by such trivial choices and we insisted for both the dishes. We have talked about our experience with chicken biryani here. Ghee Rice was sort of revelation for us, it was a pre-cursor to what Kerala had to offer us during the course of our stay for next 5 days. It was as simple as a homely meal can be but the flavors were unmatchable. I had learnt a lesson that how best of the flavors can be achieved with simple ingredients.
Post our visit to Kerala, we have made this dish several times in my kitchen, each time focusing on the simplicity. I ensure that I stick to few basic but fresh ingredients and I must admit each time the results are soul satiating.
The dishes originating from Malabar like Chicken Biryani and Ghee Rice requires that a small grain rice like Jeerakasala be used for achieving best results. I have realized it over my several trials that the dish begins to weave its magic when Jeerakasala rice is mixed with ghee. However, if you find procuring this variety of rice difficult, you can go ahead making this dish with Basmati rice
Let’s see how this dish is made.
- 1 cup=200gms rice. We have used short grain Jeerakasala rice. It can also be replaced with long grain rice
- 2-3 tbsp. Clarified Butter (ghee)
- 50 Gms Onions sliced into lengths
- 8-10 Cashew Nuts
- 1 tbsp. Raisins
- 10 Black Peppercorns
- 4 Green Cardamom
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Cloves
- Saffron strands soaked in 1-2 tbsp. Milk (Optional ingredient)
- ½ tsp Salt
- Clean and wash the rice with water. Strain the excess water.
- Heat 2 tbsp. clarified butter. Fry raisins. As raisins puff up, remove it from the pan.
- Fry Cashew Nuts until it gets golden in color.
- Add Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, Peppercorns and Cloves. Fry for few seconds. Now add sliced Onions. Fry until it gets tender.
- Remove the fried ingredients from the pan and reserve.
- Add 1 tbsp. clarified butter in the pan and allow it to melt. Add rice in the pan and fry on medium heat for 5 mins.
- Add salt, 2 cups of water. Mix well. Allow the water to boil. As the rice begins to boil, lower the heat and cook covered.
- Rice gets cooked in 8-10 mins. Ensure that you do not have excess water. Turn off the heat
- Put in the fried ingredients and mix. Be watchful to not break the grains.
- Finally put saffron milk on top. Ghee Rice is ready to be served.
- Ghee Rice is an authentic dish from God's own Country-Kerala. Combination of Jeerakasala rice with ghee is unmatchable.
- Ghee Rice can be relished with fish curry, chicken curry or Kadala curry
Click here to watch recipe video