Erachi Choru is a traditional meat and rice recipe from the Malabar region of Kerala. Made with all the great spices of Malabar, and flavorful coconut oil, it is the taste and love of Kerala on a plate.
For me, this recipe started from an insatiable craving for Biriyani, my favourite rice dish on a Sunday afternoon. It was a lazy weekend, and I didn’t have the patience or time to cook a proper biriyani. Nevertheless, the craving to devour some rice and meat cooked with spices was not just going away. Just before I was about to order a home delivery, it happened – a brain wave! It was a photo that my brother-in-law had shared on Whatsapp – the erachi choru that he cooked recently. He had mentioned that it was much easier to cook compared to a biriyani. Now, instead of calling the takeaway, I rang him up for the recipe. In just above an hour, I was feasting on the hot erachi choru.
Moral of the story: It’s time to think (and cook) beyond “Biriyani!”
Erachi Choru (Meat Rice Kerala Style)
For the meat
- 1/2 kilogram mutton
- 5 onions (medium)
- 2 tomatoes (medium size)
- 12 green chilies (moderately hot)
- 2 inch ginger
- 15 cloves garlic (3 tablespoons when chopped)
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1/4 Cilantro (Coriander leaves)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 lime (small)
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- to taste salt
For the rice
- 500 gram basmati rice (2 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 piece star anise
- 2 cardamom
- 3 cloves
- 1 piece mace
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil
- Thinly slice the onions. Chop the tomatoes, green chilies, garlic, ginger, cilantro and mint leaves. While chopping and slicing you don't have to make them look pretty. All these ingredients are going to get mashed during the course of cooking.
- Add the above ingredients (Take only half of the chopped cilantro and mint leaves. We'll use the rest for the rice) into a bowl.
- Add yogurt, turmeric powder, salt, and juice from a lime (about 1/2 tablespoon). Mix well.
- Keep this mixture aside.
- In a pressure cooker, heat some oil, and add the mutton pieces.
- Heat the meat in a medium flame, and add the set aside mix and mix well.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes. Close the lid, and cook in a high flame until the first whistle (steam). Lower the flame, and cook for two more whistles. Switch off and let it rest.
- Rinse the rice and soak in water for 15-20 min. In a wide, thick bottom pan, add 5 cups of water. Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, maze, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Add the remaining cilantro and mint leaves and mix well.
- Drain the rice, and add to the water. Stir well, keep the lid on and bring to boil. Cook for about 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Open the pressure cooker. The meat should be cooked to perfection - just starting to come off the bone. If the meat is not cooked to this consistency, cook for another 10 minutes in medium flame without the lid.
- The rice should be well cooked by now with just a little water remaining in the pan. Do not let it go dry.
- If there is excess water, cook with lid open for a few more minutes.
- Add the cooked meat to the rice, and mix well by stirring slowly. By this time your kitchen will be filled with the wonderful aroma of the dish that is coming together.
- Add coconut oil and stir gently. Coconut oil adds a wonderful aroma to the "Erachi Choru".
- Sprinkle one teaspoon of garam masala evenly on the rice. Close the lid and switch off the flame. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Open the lid, stir one more time. Serve hot with raita.