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Madras-Style Nei Sadham (Ghee Rice): A South-Indian Tamilnadu Recipe

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Tasty homemade ghee rice

Tasty homemade ghee rice

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

3 min

30 min

33 min

Serves 2 people


  • 1 cup long-grained rice (basmati rice)
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 red chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10–12 cashew nuts, broken into small pieces
  • 4–5 badam (almonds)
  • 10–12 dried grapes (raisins)
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsps ghee
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  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add 3 tablespoons of ghee and allow it to melt. Once the pan is hot, reduce the flame. Add the washed cashews and almonds, and sauté until they become golden brown. Remove the sautéed nuts and set aside.
  2. To the same pan, add the raisins (dried grapes) and sauté for a few seconds. The raisins will burn if you saute for too long, so be careful. Remove the sautéed raisins from the pan, and return the sautéed nut mixture to the pan.
  3. In a pressure cooker, add 1 tablespoon of ghee. Once the ghee is hot, add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves. Allow the ingredients to splutter.
  4. Add the red chilies in the cooker and sauté for few seconds. Take care not to sauté the chilies for too long, as it might trigger coughing.
  5. In the same cooker, add the sliced onions. Fry the sliced onions until they become golden brown. Take care not to fry beyond the golden brown stage, as the aroma and taste will be negatively affected.
  6. Add the drained rice and sauté on low flame for 4 minutes. Do not over mix, as the rice might break. Add 2 1/4 cups hot water and salt (to taste). Close the lid and allow the cooker to give 4 whistles. Switch off the flame when whistles are done.
  7. Wait until the pressure releases. Remove the lid, and mix in the sautéed nut and raisin mixture.
  8. Garnish the dish with sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and chopped coriander leaves (if desired). Serve hot with any curry (e.g., chicken, paneer, egg, or potato curry).

© 2013 Ravi and Swastha

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