You can’t go wrong with a classic ghee rice recipe — especially if you follow these tips and tricks to make it perfect!
It’s no big surprise that we love cooking with ghee. We use ghee as a spread, cooking oil, and even in our coffee and tea. Ghee is so versatile and easy to use that it’s fun to be creative with and use in unique and interesting ways — like as a butter replacement in a zucchini grilled cheese or in our fragrant and flavorful Puerto Rican style ghee rice pudding. But sometimes it’s also good to return to the basics and celebrate a classic dish that is ubiquitous with ghee, like a traditional ghee rice recipe.
Ghee rice is a popular traditional dish in Southern India, but is quite common and loved throughout the sub-continent (and around the world, for that matter). A ghee rice recipe showcases fancy ingredients, like nuts and dried fruits, so it’s usually saved for special occasions and celebrations. The dish’s unobtrusive flavor lends itself well to be paired with stronger flavored curries, daals or kormas. Ghee rice is also a great complement to one of our favorite recipes, Mangalorean Chicken.
Tips and tricks for making the best ghee rice
Rice can be oddly tricky to cook perfectly, but once you know the tricks you may be surprised how simple it really is. The first important step to making fluffy rice is in choosing a high-quality, long grain basmati rice. For ghee rice recipes, it’s best to avoid sticky rice varieties. Long grain basmati rice, along with the addition of a generous portion of ghee will help keep the rice grains fluffy and separated, which is the sign of a successfully made ghee rice.
It’s also important to soak the rice before cooking it. Always wash rice in running water until the water comes out clear, and then soak the rice in cold water for 20-30 minutes. This will remove all excess starch.
Finally, avoid stirring your rice frequently. The more you mess with the rice, the more likely you are to break the rice grains which will result in a sticky mush. Try using a big wooden spoon or rice paddle that has no sharp edges that can break your rice.
Now that you’ve read the tips and tricks, you should be ready to make the most perfect ghee rice!
Traditional Ghee Rice Recipe
|1 Tbsp ghee
|1/2 onion, sliced
|8 cashews, halved
|1 chili, slit
|2 Tbsp raisins
|1 cup basmati rice, soaked
|1 bay leaf / tej patta
|2 cups hot water
|1-inch cinnamon stick
|1 tsp lemon juice
|2 pods cardamom / elachi
|1 tsp salt
|A couple of sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped
|1/2 tsp pepper
In a large heavy bottom pan (or kadai) heat ghee, cashews, and raisins.
Sauté until the cashews turn golden brown, being careful not to burn them. Remove the cashews and raisins from the pan and keep aside.
In the same pan, sauté the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and pepper.
Add the onion and chili and sauté until the onions turn golden brown.
Add soaked basmati rice and cook for 1 minute without breaking rice grains.
Add hot water, lemon juice, and salt. Stir well and then bring the water to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes.
Fluff the rice gently without breaking rice grains. Add fried nuts and raisins and mix well.
Top with freshly chopped coriander and enjoy ghee rice with your favorite curry.