Iam making the One pot ghee rice or Nei Choru with jeeraga samba rice” with my traditional brass cookware lined with tin. As a nod to the old traditions, I have switched many of my daily use cookware to the traditional hand me downs I have received from my grandparents, parents and In-laws. Today I have used my brass vessel handed down to me from my parents. Brass is an alloy made of 70% copper and 30 percent zinc. This is a layer of tin applied in the inside of the bass vessel. Why do we apply a layer of tin in a brass or a copper vessel ? The one line answer to this is to avoid absorption of higher levels of copper into our foods. Then why make a copper or brass vessel at all ?
Here is what I have gathered
Cookware in which copper is the main structural element like the one above, is manufactured without a lining. These are made for cooking of preserves or meingues or non acidic foods, because the amount of copper absorbed is negligible and essential for the human body. But if the same cookware is used for cooking foods which are highly acidic and are cooked for a longer period of time, acute amounts of copper leaches into the food causing copper toxicity.
So we need a vessel which is all purpose, long lasting and non reactive to all types of food. Brass or copper vessels are lined with a thin layer of Tin or silver. Both are non corrosive and non reactive elements. Silver being expensive we use tin as the affordable layer for lining the inside of the vessels. Copper or brass as an outer layer will help in uniform distribution of heat hence making a perfect cookware.
This thin tin layer also erodes in a few months of continuous cooking and it has to be layered or coated again. This process of lining a vessel with tin is called as “kalai ” in hindi and ” eeyam poosara pattarai” in tamil. In the process the tin as we know is going into our foods but has been researched and confirmed that it does not have any side effects. I have provided links in my website to understand what a kalai wala really does, and detailed videos of the process. He places the brass or copper vessel on fire, and pumps air on to it. He sprinkles Aluminium Chloride powder on the inside followed by a small piece of tin which touches the hot interior. The tin gets coated as a very thin layer all around the vessel. The vessel is as good as new.
Here is an interesting video on kalaiwala’s
Here is the recipe for the ghee rice or Nei soru made in one pot.
The ingredients I need for a ‘One pot ghee rice or Nei Choru with jeeraga samba rice ‘ would be the basic flavours which are strong, well cooked and uniformly distributed. A ghee rice can be enjoyed the best when it is not silky with oil, but loaded with flavours in every morsel of food.
I have used the ghee in the beginning of the cooking rather than as a seasoning at the end because it mixes into the food evenly while cooking instead of just coating the top of the grains.
I have used Jeera samba also locally called “Seeraga Samba “rice for the recipe. This rice is 1/3rd the size of basmati rice and resembles a cumin seed which is called Seeragam in Tamil.
This rice grows in the samba season that is August to January and hence the name “Seeraga Samba” or “Jeera Samba ” rice.
I love seeraga Samba for this recipe because it retains its texture when cooked and does not lump up making it the perfect choice for a south indian biryani or flavoured rice recipes.
Nei Choru or One pot Ghee rice
- 3 cup Jeera Samba rice
- 4.5 cup Water
- 6 tbsp Ghee
- 4 pieces Onion thin sliced
- 8 pods Garlic
- 2 inch ginger
- 3 pieces Green chilli
- 1/4 cup Fresh mint
- 1/4 cup Fresh coriander
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Cardamom powder
- 2 inch cinnamom
- 3 pieces Cloves
- 1 piece Nutmeg
- 2 tbsp curd
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup Onion thinly sliced.
- Wash and clean the rice, soak it in water for 20 minutes.
- Grind together ginger, garlic and green chilli into a green paste. Add chilli as per your taste.
- Heat the ghee in a clean large vessel of 5 lt capacity.Add the dry spices followed by the ginger garlic chilli paste.
- Approx 2 tbsp of it. Fry till the raw flavour is completely gone from the garlic.
- Add the sliced onions, saute till they turn translucent while in low heat. About 4 minutes.
- Make sure the onions do not become dark, to maintain the white colour of the ghee rice.
- Add the curd to the sauted translucent onions, saute till oil separates. About 2 minutes.
- Add chillies (Optional),
- Add the water. 1(Rice): 1.5(Water ). Let the water come to a boil.
- Add salt. Add the fresh mint, coriander leaves.
- Add the washed soaked rice.Close the lid and let it cook for 7 – 8 minutes in low flame. The rice will be partially cooked.Give it a stir.
- Close the lid, cook for 4- 5 minutes. The water would be fully absorbed and the rice is almost cooked.
- Switch off the stove. Set a cast iron pan/ tava on the stove. Switch on the stove for 3 – 4 minutes. When the pan is heated, Place the vessel with the rice on the pan and allow it to cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.
- This is to let the rice cook till the end and evaporate the last bit of water in the vessel without burning at the bottom.Switch off the stove and remove the vessel from the pan and set aside.
- Season with fried onions (optional)