Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ghee Rice

Ghee Rice

I mentioned in a previous blog about Ghee, which, according to the Wikipedia, is "made made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all water has boiled off and protein has settled to the bottom. The clarified butter is then spooned off to avoid disturbing the milk solids on the bottom of the pan."

In the past, I've used ghee purchased at our local Indian grocery stores, but it's simple enough to make at home that I've been doing it "from scratch" in the past few years.

Simply melt half a stick of (preferably unsalted) butter in a small dish in a microwave oven for about two minutes, until a white froth appears at the top of the liquid. Remove from the oven and wait a few minutes for the solids to sink to the bottom. Spoon off the clear liquid (this is the ghee). You can save the ghee in the refrigerator for a month or so, assuming that it is stored in a container with a tight lid.

Ghee rice is a staple of many South Asian cuisines, consisting of aromatic basmati rice cooked with thinly sliced onions that have been saute├ęd in Ghee. As an accompaniment, it was one of the first Indian foods that Sandra and I ever made, while I was making my first chicken curry from scratch. We've made it so many times that Sandra and the kids have it committed to memory (two cups rice, three cups stock, onions, cloves, cardomom seeds, cinnamon stick).

This goes very well with Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, Curries, and most any other Indian or Sri Lankan dish.

Ghee Rice

Source:Savoring the Spice Coast of India
Fresh Flavors from Kerala
By Maya Kaimal
HarperCollins Publishers, 2000
Hardback, $ 27.50
ISBN: 0-06-019257-7
Prep Time:45 minutes
Yield:Serves: 6
Many Mappilas (Kerala Muslims) prefer their rice seasoned this way rather than plain. This buttery, slightly perfumed rice is good with Chicken Kurma, Chicken with Green Chilies and Tamarind, Spicy Chicken Liver Curry, or Lamb Vindaloo (see the book for recipes).


1 cups basmati rice

3 Tbs Ghee

1 cup thinly sliced onions

1 (2-inch) piece cinnamon, broken in two

4 whole cloves

4 cardamom pods, crushed

1 ½ cups water or chicken stock

In a large bowl wash the rice in many changes of water until the water no longer appears cloudy. Drain thoroughly.

In a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid heat the ghee. Add the onions, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Fry until the onions brown along the edges. Put in the drained rice and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the grains of rice begin to jump on the bottom of the pan.

Add water (or stock) and the salt and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and steam for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Bon Appetit

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