Ghee rice is a classic and super aromatic meal made with rice, ghee, whole spices, onions, cashews and raisins. It cooks up in a single pot, is kids’ approved and the perfect side dish that goes with pretty much anything. Forget about the plain rice and make this ghee rice for a quick meal anytime either in a regular pot, traditional cooker or instant pot. I have the instructions for all of these methods.
About ghee rice
Ghee rice is a popular South Indian rice dish where rice is sautéed and cooked with ghee & whole spices. Later it is garnished with caramelized onions, crunchy ghee fried cashews and raisins. Ghee, a traditional Indian cooking fat is the star of this dish that imparts a nutty aroma and delicious taste.
Apart from being a staple in many South Indian households, this is popular on the restaurant menus, wedding and party menus as well. Ghee rice is usually served with a gravy or curry like vegetable kurma, chicken curry, egg curry and sometimes even with special lentil dish.
There are a few different ways ghee rice is made. In this post I share 2 easy ways to make. The first method is a one pot dish and can be made in a traditional cooker, pot or instant pot. The second method is made with precooked rice where it is tempered with spices and curry leaves.
I can’t justify that one method is better than the other but in fact it is more of what you want to make – a pot meal or use up your precooked rice. But both ways, Ghee rice turns out super delicious!! I am sure you will make this time and again if you ignore the calories in the dish.
You can make ghee rice following the second method for a quick fuss-free meal for your kids. This was my mom’s favorite way to make ghee rice for us.
How to make ghee rice (stepwise photos)
1. Wash and soak 1 cup rice for 20 minutes.
2. Add 1½ tablespoon ghee to a cooker or a pot. Next add 14 cashews and fry till lightly golden. Also add 14 raisins. When they turn plump, remove to a plate and keep them aside. We need them for garnishing.
3. Transfer 1 medium thinly sliced onion to the same pan, fry them evenly stirring often until golden or light brown. Remove them to the same plate and keep aside. We need them for garnishing as they add flavor to the rice.
4. To the same pan, add ½ tablespoon ghee. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 star anise, 4 cloves, 1 small cinnamon, 3 cardamoms and a strand of mace. Fry for a min. Then add 2 sliced green chilis and fry for a min.
5. Next add drained rice.
6. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring evenly and frying.
7. Add half teaspoon salt. Pour 1¾ cups water if cooking in a cooker. To cook in a pot, pour 2 cups water. Stir and taste test the water. It has to be slightly salty.
8. If cooking in a pot, bring the water to a boil and then regulate the flame to low. Cook covered until the rice is fully cooked. Turn off the heat when done and leave the pot covered for 10 to 15 mins. The heat in the pot will make the rice fluffy.
If making ghee rice in a pressure cooker, Cook for 1 whistle on a medium high flame.
9. When the pressure releases, fluff up the ghee rice with a fork.
Garnish with raisins, cashews, fried onions and coriander leaves.
Pan fried ghee rice (recipe 2)
This is more like a fried rice, needs only pepper powder and no other spice is used. This makes a good lunch box dish for kids but without egg. I wonder if eggs keep good for so long in kids lunch box.
This can be made without egg or you can even use some of your favorite veggies like carrot, peas, capsicum and beans. I have grown up eating this more often during winters.
Pepper and curry leaves fried in ghee emits a great aroma & taste.
Most times I end up making this for my lunch. We don’t mind having it without any raita or gravy and just love to have it with grated carrot, sliced onions or cucumbers.
Ingredients for recipe 2
- ½ cup basmathi rice
- 1 boiled egg (pierce it with a fork randomly) (optional)
- handful of cashews and raisins
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 10 pepper corns (coarsely crushed)
- 2 sprig curry leaves
- 1 green chili slit
- 1 to 2 garlic chopped
- Salt to taste
1. Cook rice and cool it completely.
2. Heat a pan with ghee, fry cashews and raisins, set these aside to a plate
3. Add garlic, curry leaves, green chili and egg. fry till the leaves turn crisp
4. Next add coarsely crushed pepper powder and salt, saute
5. Add rice to the pan and mix well. fry for 2 minutes on high
6. Garnish with cashews and raisins just before serving.
- Use good quality ghee that has a nice aroma. It is the good quality ghee that brings a unique aroma to the rice. If possible use desi cow’s ghee or at least puree ghee. Avoid using oil.
- Always rinse the rice well a few times before making ghee rice. This helps to get rid of the excess starch and prevents the rise from turning mushy.
- Soaking rice for at least 30 mins before cooking helps the rice to expand well & cook up to fluffy grains.
- Different regions use different kinds of rice to make ghee rice. I make it using aged basmati rice. You can use any other rice of your choice.
- Frying rice in ghee for 3 to 5 mins is another key step to make perfect ghee rice.
Ghee rice recipe | How to make ghee rice
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cups basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced (optional)
- 1¾ cups water for Indian cooker (1¼ cup Instant pot, 2 cups for normal pot)
- 1 green chilies (slit or chopped)
- ½ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 14 cashewnuts or kaju
- 14 raisins
- 2 inch cinnamon or dalchini
- 4 cloves or laung
- 3 to 4 green cardamoms or elaichi
- 1 strand mace or javitri
- 1 star anise or chakri phool
- 1 bay leaf or tej patta
- Wash 1 cup rice until the water runs clear.
- Soak it for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- While the rice soaks, slice 1 medium onion thinly & slit 1 green chilies.
- Heat a pressure cooker or a pot with 2 tablespoons of ghee.
- Fry 14 cashews till lightly golden, add 14 raisins and stir up.
- When they turn plump set them aside in a plate.
- To the same pan, add onions. You can also skip onions.
- Fry them till golden to make the fried onions / barista.
- These onions are used for garnishing and they add flavor to the rice.
How to make ghee rice
- Add all the whole spices to the pan & fry for a min until aromatic.
- Add green chilies, drained rice & fry on a medium flame for about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir to prevent burning .
- Pour 1¾ cups water and salt as needed.
- You may need to add more or less water depending on the rice.
- Taste the water and check the salt. If needed add more.
- If making in a pressure cooker allow the cooker to whistle once on a medium flame. If making in pot, cover and cook on a very low flame until the rice is done.
- When the pressure releases, gently fluff up the rice with a fork.
- Transfer ghee rice to a serving bowl or plate. Garnish with raisins, cashews, fried onions and coriander leaves.
- Serve ghee rice with any gravy like kurma, curry or even with egg roast. You can also eat it plain.
Instant pot ghee rice
- Press the SAUTE button & add ghee to the inner steel pot of the Instant pot.
- When the ghee melts, add the cashews & saute until they turn light golden.
- Then add in the raisins and stir until they plum up. Remove the cashews and raisins to a small plate.
- Stir in the onion slices to the ghee and spread them in a single layer.
- Next stir them every now and then until they turn golden to light brown & aromatic. If the pot is too hot, you can switch the saute to low by pressing (saute button again). Drain the ghee well and remove to the same plate.
- Now add in all the whole spices, followed by the green chilli and drained rice.
- Saute for 30 to 60 seconds & press CANCEL button.
- Pour water and add salt. Deglaze by scrubbing the bottom of the steel pot with a spatula. Taste the water and add more salt if needed.
- Secure the instant pot with the lid. Position the steam release handle/ vent to sealing.
- Press the PRESSURE COOK button (or manual on older IPs) and set the timer to 5 mins.
- When the IP beeps, wait for natural pressure release for 2 to 3 mins. For softer rice, you can wait upto 5 mins. Then release the rest manually by moving the steam release handle from sealing to venting.
- Cool down a bit and then garnish ghee rice with fried onions, raisins and cashews.
- To double the recipe, you can double all the whole spices and keep the star anise same.
- The recipe can be doubled & made in Instant pot. Cook time remains the same.
- Wait for the rice to cool down a bit before garnishing.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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