Special Ghee Rice

Sometimes, the itch to write just disappears. That is when I really feel some slides come in and just make up for what I am not able to express. A beautiful one for keeps...


I guess neychoru or ghee rice is something that a lot of Malabaris love with their spicy non-veg gravies. Even though I am not a fan of it, I make it on and off as HD loves it. I have already shared the recipe - as prepared normally and pressure cooked, however both the instances I have used basmati rice. As you go towards the northern side of Kerala - Thalassery, Kannur and likes - they use a smaller variety of rice which is called Jeerakashala. The grain is small but it has a special taste and smell, which makes it stand out when made into neychoru or into biriyani. Today's recipe is just a decked up ghee rice, flavored with coconut milk. Nice and rich, first time I served it with this mutton masala and it was a really good hit. Definitely, this one is going to feature on the tables more frequently now!

Special Ghee Rice
Serves 4


Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup jeerakashaala rice
2 tbsp ghee
3 cloves
1 pc cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 cardamoms
6 peppercorns
1 star anise
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tbsp cashewnuts
8-10 raisins
1 2" pc ginger, pounded
1 onion, sliced
400 ml thin coconut milk
400 ml water
1 sachet seasoning powder (optional)
Salt to taste

Method:

Wash the jeerakashala rice well and set aside to drain.

Heat ghee in a deep saucepan. Fry the whole spices and curry leaves briefly. Add the cashewnuts and raisins and fry for half a minute. Add in the ginger and saute till raw smell is gone. Now add the onion and saute till wilted. Add in the coconut milk, water, seasoning powder and salt and allow it to boil on high flame. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add in the rice and allow it to boil again. Now reduce flame to bare minimum, close the saucepan and allow it to cook undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes till the rice is cooked and water is all absorbed. Toss the rice with a long wooden spatula for ensuring even cooking.

Switch off the flame and fluff up the rice. Serve hot with a spicy curry!

Notes:

1. Jeerakashala rice is a small grained rice used mainly in northern Kerala for their biriyani dishes, especially in the Thalassery style ones, whether chicken or mutton!
2. You can use basmati rice. If using, then use similar proportion of coconut milk and water, however ensure to soak the washed rice for 30 minutes before draining.
3. You can use a mix of coconut milk and milk as well.

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