Nei Choru | Neychoru Recipe (Kerala Style)

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Sometimes, it is the simplest dishes, that stir an entire whirlwind of emotions, comfort and satisfaction within our body. Just like a Jeera Rice or ghee rice with the most basic ingredients and hardly any steps to be followed, still bringing in that ‘wow’ factor in our meals. The Nei Choru or Neychoru from ‘God’s own country’ Kerala is just another variation of the beautiful ghee rice. This delicacy uses a special variety called ‘kaima rice’ or ‘jeerakasala rice.’

kerala nei choru garnished with fried cashews, fried raisins, fried onions, coriander leaves and served in a blue rimmed bowl with text layovers.

About Nei Choru

First things first, the meaning of the name. The Malayalam words ‘nei’ or ‘ney’ refers to ‘ghee’ and ‘choru’ refers to ‘rice.’ Hence, when put together, it is simply a savory dish of rice, ghee, spices and seasoning which is quite aromatic. There may be other flavorings like nuts, dry fruits and fried onions like I have added in my recipe.

As obvious from the name, Nei Choru is a Malabar specialty from the cuisine of the South Indian state Kerala. Also, traditionally, a certain variety of rice, called kaima rice is used to make this dish. This rice is also referred to as jeerakasala rice, jeerasal or seeraga samba rice.

The main difference between the kaima rice and basmati rice is that the former one is a variety of short grain rice, but is equally flavorful and fragrant as its long grain counterpart. Kaima rice has a typical non-sticky texture which is considered quite ideal for making South Indian biryani, like a Malabar or Thalassery biryani.

While you try this recipe of Nei Choru, here’s a flavor loaded vegetable Kerala Biryani, that you must try out as well. It will also be a delicious change from your regular Mughlai and Awadhi biryanis.

More on Neychoru Recipe

This post mentions the way I prepare a Kerala style Nei Choru at my home. The recipe is very easy, no hassles or fanciness attached to it, yet is able to take your simple everyday meal to a different level.

So, rather than having the good ol’ plain steamed rice-dal-sabzi meal, add some more efforts and prepare this yum Neychoru. Since this is also an oomphed up ghee rice, it also goes great with dals or thick gravies.

If you are searching for the classic way of making this rice-based dish, this Ghee Rice with basmati rice is your go-to recipe.

For an authentic experience of the Nei Choru, you must use the kaima rice. But if you are facing difficulties in sourcing this particular type of rice or don’t have it handy at home, your next good option is the popular basmati rice.

Neychoru tastes out-of-the-world delicious with any coconut-based curry like a veg korma, potato stew or any other stew of your choice. Since the flavors are subtle in this Kerala style ghee rice, you can also have it with parippu curry or any other dals.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Nei Choru

Preparation

1. Rinse 1.5 cups kaima rice (seeraga samba rice) or basmati rice (300 grams) in water a couple of times. Then, soak rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. Later, drain the water and keep aside.

soaking kaima rice in water to make neychoru.

2. Heat 4 tablespoons ghee in a thick bottomed pan.

heating ghee in a pan to make neychoru.

3. Then, add ½ cup thinly sliced onions.

thinly sliced onions added to the melted ghee in pan.

4. Mix and begin to sauté the onions on low to medium heat.

sautéing onions in ghee.

4. For faster cooking of the onions, add a pinch of salt. Keep on stirring and sautéing the onions till they turn crisp and golden.

sautéing onions in ghee.

5. Sauté till the onions turn crisp and golden.

sautéing onions till golden for neychoru.

6. Remove the fried onions with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

fried onions on a steel plate for neychoru.

7. In the same pan, add 12 to 15 cashews.

cashews added in the hot ghee in pan.

8. Fry cashews till golden.

frying cashews till golden.

9. Remove the fried cashews with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

fried cashews kept with  fried onions on a steel plate.

10. Next, add 1 tablespoon raisins. When the raisins puff up, remove and keep aside.

frying raisins in hot ghee in pan.

Make Nei Choru

11. To the same pan, add the whole spices – 1 tej patta, 1 inch cinnamon, 3 cloves and 3 green cardamoms. Sauté till the spices splutter and crackle.

sautéing spices in hot ghee in pan.

12. Next, add ½ cup thinly sliced onions.

thinly sliced onions added to the hot ghee.

13. Sauté the onions stirring often till translucent.

sautéing onions in ghee.

14. Add the soaked kaima rice grains.

rice added to the onions to make nei choru.

15. Season with salt as per taste.

salt added to the rice in pan.

16. Gently mix the rice with the remaining ingredients.

rice mixed with the rest of the ingredients in pan.

17. Add 3 cups water and mix well. Check the taste of the water and it should taste slightly salty. If not, then add some more salt.

For an al dente texture in the rice, you can add 2.5 to 2.75 cups water.

water added to the rice mixture and mixed.

18. Cover the pan with its lid. On low heat, simmer till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked, tender and fluffy.

Do check a couple of times when the rice is cooking. If the water has dried up and rice grains are undercooked, then add some more water.

cooking rice in the covered pan to make neychoru.

19. Once done, gently fluff the rice.

cooked rice fluffed and neychoru ready to be served.

20. Serve Neychoru garnished with the fried onions, fried cashews, fried raisins and some coriander leaves. You can serve Nei Choru with a coconut based veg gravy like veg korma or any dal.

neychoru garnished with fried cashews, fried raisins, fried onions, coriander leaves and served in a blue rimmed bowl with text layovers.

Expert Tips

  1. No kaima rice? No worries, go for basmati rice for this recipe.
  2. I would suggest not to miss on the fried onions as it imparts a hint of sweetness as well as earthiness to this otherwise delicately spiced ghee rice variant.
  3. Running short of time? Cook the dish completely in a pressure cooker. If doing so, add 2.5 cups water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.
  4. Make a vegan variation by using oil instead of ghee. When using oil, add 3 tablespoons of it.

More Rice Recipes To Try!

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ghee rice recipe kerala style, nei choru recipe

Nei Choru | Neychoru Recipe (Kerala Style)

The Nei Choru or Neychoru from ‘God’s own country’ Kerala is just another variation of a delish ghee rice. This delicacy is a Malabar special and made with rice, ghee, spices and dry fruits. This recipe uses a special variety of rice called ‘kaima rice’ or ‘jeerakasala rice.’
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine Kerala, South Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups kaima rice (seeraga samba rice) or basmati rice – 300 grams
  • 4 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 12 to 15 cashews
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 3 cups water
  • salt as required
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro) – for garnish

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Rinse kaima rice (seeraga sambar rice) or basmati rice in water a couple of times. Then soak rice grains in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.
    Later drain the water and keep the soaked rice aside.
  • Heat ghee in a pan. Keep the heat to low or medium.
  • Add ½ cup thinly sliced onions.
  • Mix and begin to sauté the onions on a low to medium heat till they turn crisp and golden. 
  • Remove all of the fried onions with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add 12 to 15 cashews and fry till golden.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
  • Next add 1 tablespoon raisins. When the raisins puff up, remove and keep aside.

Making nei choru

  • To the same pan, add the whole spices – tej patta, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms. Fry on low heat till the spices splutter and crackle.
  • Next add ½ cup of thinly sliced onions and sauté till they turn translucent.
  • Then add the rice.
  • Season with salt as per taste. Gently mix the rice with the remaining ingredients.
  • Add 3 cups water. Mix well. Check the taste of the water and it should taste slightly salty. If not, then add some salt.
  • Cover the pan with its lid. On a low heat simmer till the water is absorbed and the rice grains are tender, fluffy and cooked well.
  • Once done, gently fluff the rice.
  • Serve Neychoru garnished with the fried onions, cashews and raisins. Also garnish with some chopped coriander leaves. You can also serve Nei Choru with a coconut based vegetable curry or any dal.

Notes

  • Instead of kaima rice, you can use basmati rice. 
  • The entire recipe can be made in a pressure cooker. If cooking in a pressure cooker, then add 2.5 cups water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. 
  • For a vegan version, use oil instead of ghee. Just add 3 tablespoons oil. 
  • For larger servings, scale up the recipe easily. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Nei Choru | Neychoru Recipe (Kerala Style)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 423 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 306mg13%
Potassium 214mg6%
Carbohydrates 65g22%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 8IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 40mg4%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 14µg4%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 41mg10%
Phosphorus 125mg13%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Neychoru recipe from the archives first published in January 2017 has been republished and updated on November 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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5 Comments

    1. Parul, i think it should be around 1.75 to 2 cups. it depends upon the quality of the rice.