Ghee Rice Recipe

Ghee Rice Recipe
The cuisine of Kerala is influenced by its wealth of aromatic spices and the year round availability of fresh coconuts. As is characteristic of South Indian cuisine, rice usually takes center stage and my delicious & aromatic Ghee Rice is a wonderful example of what traditional Keralan cuisine has to offer. The origins of this dish can trace back to the Malabar region in Kerala. The Malabar region is a narrow strip of scenic coastline that runs along India’s southwestern border from Karnataka into Kerala.

Ghee rice is basically rice that has been cooked in fairly copious amounts of ghee along with warm spices & a few aromatics. Of course, you can always add more/less ghee as you wish. But the resulting dish is very flavorful & extremely fragrant. This recipe can easily be halved or even doubled if needed, but as a general rule of thumb: 1 cup of uncooked rice yields about 2 cups of cooked rice, which will easily feed 2 people. So feel free to make as much or as little rice as you need. Best of all, ghee rice is super simple to make.

Ghee (also known as clarified butter) is a staple in Indian homes. It is used for both cooking & also in Hindu religious services as an offering to god. It is simple enough to make your own ghee at home but it is also available in any Indian grocery story or market. In Marathi, the word for ghee is “tup” (pronounced as “thoop”). Now personally, I prefer making homemade ghee for the obvious reasons but also because the aroma that wafts through your home during the process is truly intoxicating.

My Homemade Ghee Recipe

GHEE RICE (Fragrant Butter Rice)


2 cups Basmati rice
2 tbsp unsalted cashews
2 tbsp almond slices
2 tbsp golden raisins (or regular raisins)
1 large onion, thinly sliced – divided
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 stick of cinnamon (about 2” in length), broken
2-3 green cardamom pods, gently crushed
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
5 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
salt, to taste
crispy fried onions for garnish


First, rinse the rice well until the water runs clear. Then soak it in just enough water to cover for about 15-20 minutes. Drain well & set aside until needed.

In a large pan on medium high heat, heat 1 tbsp of the ghee. When hot, add in the cashews along with the almonds & golden raisins. Sauté for a few minutes or until the nuts have just lightly browned. Then remove the nuts & golden raisin mixture, set aside until needed.

Now to the same pan on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the ghee. When hot, add in half of the sliced onions along with a good pinch of salt. The onions will gradually soften & become translucent at first, then they will reduce & become golden brown. This may take up to 25-30 minutes (or slightly longer), but it’s totally worth the extra little effort. Then remove the crispy onions from the pan & set aside until needed.

In the same pan on medium high heat, add the remaining 2 tbsp of the ghee. When hot, add in the whole spices (cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, cloves, black peppercorns & bay leaves). Let the spices cook for a few minutes in the ghee & then add in the remaining onions along with the garlic & ginger. Sauté the onions until they are just softened & translucent. Next, add in the rice & mix well so that all of the rice grains are covered with the aromatics & spices. Season with salt as needed & then add in 4 cups of water. Bring to a gentle boil, cover & let simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes. Then remove the pan completely from the heat & allow it to sit covered for another 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the rice in a rice cooker if you wish. Lastly, fluff the rice gently with a fork & garnish with the nuts, golden raisins & crispy fried onions before serving.

 photo Gheerice.jpg

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You Should Also Read:
Indian Rice Recipes
Tamarind Rice Recipe
Homemade Ghee Recipe

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