#HealthDrink #AgeOldRecipe #TraditionalSouthIndianFood #Neeragaram #ComfortFood #GrandmasRecipe
Kootchulu or Neeragaram is a simple, age-old recipe made from overnight fermentation of cooked rice. For over many generations, this has been a staple health drink in many parts of India. It acts as a natural body cooler, especially in summer. This unique porridge or kanji tastes slightly sour with the aroma of sesame oil and the crunchiness of onions.
The fermented rice water is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and thus helps to strengthen our immune system. When had on an empty stomach, it keeps us hydrated throughout the day.
How to make Kootchulu | Fermented Rice Drink?
This is my family’s all-time comfort food. Though there are many versions of this kanji being prepared in various parts of country, I follow my Grandma’s recipe.
Preparation is simple. Cooked rice is soaked in water and kept overnight in clay pot for fermentation. Next day morning, the strained fermented rice water is mixed with chopped shallots, curry leaves, salt, few drops of sesame oil and few spoons of mashed fermented rice. In Telugu, we call this as ‘kootchulu’ and in Tamil, this is known as ‘Neeragaram‘.
We will need the following ingredients to make this drink
- Leftover cooked rice – 2 cups
- Water – 6 to 7 cups
- Curd / Yogurt – 2 tbsp
- Til Oil / Sesame Oil – 2 tsp
- Shallots / Small Onions – 2 tbsp
- Curry Leaves – few, torn into pieces
- Salt to taste
- Fermentation process: Take 2 cups of leftover cooked rice and soak it in 6-7 cups of water, preferably in earthen pot or in stainless steel vessel. Keep it on the kitchen top. Refrigeration is not required.
- Next day morning, strain the water and keep the rice aside. We have to use only the rice water to make this drink.
- Mash 2 tbsp of fermented rice and blend with 2 cups of rice water, 2 tbsp of yogurt, 2 tsp of til oil / sesame oil and salt as required.
- Add 2 tbsp of finely chopped Shallots / small onions, few curry leaves and serve immediately.
- Instead of yogurt, buttermilk can be used. Green chillies or a small piece of mango pickle can be added for some spiciness.
- I prefer to add shallots as it is milder and more nutritious than the usual ones.
- The remaining fermented rice can be used to make ‘neeragaram’, a thin diluted curd rice-like porridge.