Kerala Style Ghee Rice Recipe (Nei Choru, Neychoru) + Video

How to make Nei Choru Ghee Rice

Nei Choru, which translates to Ghee Rice in English, is a delicacy that descends from the rich tapestry of Kerala’s culinary traditions. This fragrant and flavorful dish combines the simple yet majestic grains of rice with the luxurious richness of ghee, an Indian form of clarified butter that is both aromatic and indulgent. The fondness for Nei Choru lies not only in its delightful taste but also in its ability to pair splendidly with a variety of Indian curries and side dishes.

Its preparation involves the use of high-quality Basmati or Jeerakasala rice, known for their long, slender grains and distinctive aroma. The cooking process begins by gently frying spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom, along with onions and nuts in ghee until they release their essential oils and fragrances. The rice is then added, carefully sautéed to absorb the essence of this spice-infused ghee, resulting in each grain being fully coated and shimmering with flavor.

Nei Choru Ghee Rice Recipe

Kerala Style Ghee Rice Recipe (Nei Choru, Neychoru) + Video

Nei Choru Ghee Rice

Nei is “ghee” and choru is “rice” in Malayalam. Nei choru is a popular delicacy from Kerala. It is prepared with a fragrant rice variety called kaima, or jeerakasala. The onions, raisins, and cashews fried in ghee add a unique flavor to the dish. Whether for a party or potluck, this rice is a crowd pleaser. Serve it hot with Egg Kurma or Potato-Onion Curry.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people
Calories 485 kcal


  • 1 large skillet


  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons cashews
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 onion thinly sliced, divided
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 green chile halved lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 11/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup kaima rice rinsed in cool water, drained, soaked in water for 20 minutes, drained


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the ghee.
  • Add the cashews and raisins. Cook for 30 to 45 seconds, until the raisins become plump. Transfer the nuts and raisins to a dish and set aside.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high. Add half the onion and cook for 12 to 15 minutes until browned. Transfer the onion to another bowl and set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. Cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the green chile, garlic, and the remaining onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, add the water and salt, and bring to a rolling boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the rice is steamed and the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat.
  • Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the rice. Add the fried onions, cashews, and raisins to the rice and mix well.


You can use long-grain basmati rice instead of kaima rice. The cooking time
and the rice-to-water ratio are the same.
Keyword cashews, ghee, raisins

Cooking Tips about Nei Choru Ghee Rice

Nei Choru | Ghee Rice from Kerala - ãhãram | Recipe | Ghee, Other recipes,  Food

  • Quality of Rice: Select high-quality Basmati or Jeerakasala rice for the best results. These varieties are known for their fragrance and long, slender grains which contribute greatly to the final presentation and taste of Nei Choru.
  • Rinsing and Soaking: Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear before soaking it. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes to ensure that it cooks evenly and expands to its full length.
  • Use of Ghee: Ghee is the heart of Nei Choru. Use a generous amount of clarified butter to impart a rich aroma and flavor. For an extra indulgent variant, you can fry some cashews and raisins in ghee until they’re golden brown and add them as garnish.
  • Sautéing Spices: Fry whole spices such as cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom in the ghee along with onions and nuts until they are aromatic. This infuses the oil with a complex flavor base that will carry through to the cooked rice.
  • Water to Rice Ratio: The ratio of liquid (water or coconut milk) to rice should be correct – usually, it’s about one and a half cups of liquid to one cup of rice but check the specifics for the rice you use. If using coconut milk, the rice will take on a subtle sweetness and creaminess.
  • Cooking Method: Gently cook the rice on a low flame after bringing it to an initial boil. This ensures each grain remains separate and doesn’t get mushy.
  • Steaming the Rice: Once the water is almost absorbed, put a tight-fitting lid on the pot, and allow it to steam on the lowest heat setting. This steams the rice to fluffy perfection without burning the bottom layer.
  • Garnishing: Garnish the completed dish with fried onions, raisins, and additional nuts for an enticing appearance and a delightful contrast in textures against the soft rice.
  • Resting Time: Allow the finished Nei Choru to sit off the heat, covered, for an extra 10 minutes before serving. This lets the grains absorb any remaining moisture and solidify the flavors.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve the ghee rice alongside a spicy curry or with a fresh raita to complement the richness of the dish.

Serving suggestions about Nei Choru Ghee Rice

Ghee rice (Neyitha nuppu / Neyi Choru) - Simmer to Slimmer

  • Spicy Curries: Elevate the richness of Nei Choru by pairing it with spicy meat or vegetable curries such as chicken curry, mutton stew, or Malabar fish curry. The spices in these curries contrast beautifully with the subtle flavor of ghee rice.
  • Mixed Vegetable Kurma: A creamy and aromatic mixed vegetable kurma can complement the ghee rice with its medley of flavors and smooth consistency, making for a lighter yet satisfying meal.
  • Simple Dal or Lentil Gravies: Serve Nei Choru with a side of dal fry or any lentil-based gravy. The humble taste of lentils balances the ghee-laden rice exceptionally well.
  • Pappadams or Papad: No Keralite meal is complete without crunchy pappadams. Fry some up for a crispy addition that adds a textural dimension to your meal.
  • Pickled Side: Kerala’s traditional pickles such as lime or mango pickle offer a tangy and spicy kick that cuts through the richness of the ghee rice.
  • Kerala Egg Roast: A popular aromatic and spicy egg roast can be a hearty side that matches Nei Choru both in its simplicity and richness.
  • Raita: A cooling raita made from yogurt, cucumber, and a hint of spices can cleanse the palate between mouthfuls of the aromatic rice.
  • Salted Lassi or Buttermilk: To drink, serve a chilled salted lassi or buttermilk which helps balance the richness of the ghee rice and aids digestion.
  • Roasted Cashews or Nuts: Though Nei Choru already contains nuts fried in ghee, adding a garnish of extra roasted cashews elevates the nuttiness and diverse texture.
  • Sautéed greens or Stir-fried Vegetables: For added nutrition and a touch of color, consider sautéed spinach or a stir-fry of vegetables seasoned with garlic and mild spices.
  • Beef Ularthiyathu: If you’re looking to indulge, beef cooked down with aromatic spices and coconut slivers known as Beef Ularthiyathu goes wonderfully well with ghee rice.

Top 5 FAQs about Nei Choru Ghee Rice

Vegetable Ghee Rice Recipe - Tickling Palates

  • What makes Nei Choru different from other types of flavored rice? Nei Choru sets itself apart with its aromatic profile generated by spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom gently fried in copious amounts of ghee. It’s the unique combination of these whole spices and the richness of the ghee that infuses the Basmati or Jeerakasala rice with a luxurious flavor distinct to this dish from Kerala.
  • Can I use regular butter instead of ghee for making Nei Choru? Ghee, which is clarified butter, is the traditional and quintessential ingredient for Nei Choru due to its higher smoke point and nuttier flavor compared to regular butter. While you can use unsalted butter in a pinch, the taste will be slightly different and it may burn more easily during cooking. For authentic flavor, using ghee is highly recommended.
  • What is the best rice to use for Nei Choru, and why is soaking it important? The best rice varieties for Nei Choru are either Basmati or Jeerakasala rice, prized for their fragrance and slender grains, which contribute greatly to both presentation and taste. Soaking the rice is crucial as it helps in achieving a fluffier texture by allowing the grains to expand to their full length and ensures even cooking.
  • Is Nei Choru served as a main dish, or does it require accompaniments? Nei Choru is versatile and rich enough to stand on its own as a light main dish, but it is traditionally served with accompaniments to enhance its flavor profile. It pairs beautifully with spicy curries, creamy vegetable kurma, simple dals, pickles, pappadams, and tangy raita for a more rounded and satisfying meal.
  • Are there any vegan or dairy-free alternatives to ghee for preparing Nei Choru? While ghee is integral to Nei Choru, those following a vegan or dairy-free diet can substitute it with a vegan ghee alternative made from refined coconut oil or vegetable oils designed to mimic the taste of ghee. However, bear in mind that the final taste will differ from the traditional Nei Choru made with dairy ghee.

Nei Choru, also known as Ghee Rice, is a traditional dish from the southern parts of India, especially popular in regions like Kerala and Karnataka. It’s a simple yet aromatic dish, often included in celebratory meals and special occasions.


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