Sunday, February 28, 2010

Palak/Spinach Rice

Last time we had taken in laws to this fine restaurant - 1947, we had ordered this Spinach rice. Though it wasn’t quite dry, we did love it for its fabulous taste, with mild spices, and plenty of greens. Especially, FIL loved it a lot, but couldn’t have enough of it as he was already full. And he kept on praising it for some days.

And on a weekday morning, he had taken out a couple of bunches of palak from the fridge, and started picking it, by the time I woke up. Yes, he actually chooses the menu for the day and keeps the veggies ready, by the time I or MIL get into the kitchen to start cooking. That in fact, reduces a great deal of our work!
Coming back to my story about Palak rice, that morning, FIL wanted me to prepare it. Oops, I find it quite difficult to cope with sudden ideas of trying out a new dish, if I’m not prepared for it; especially on a weekday morning!! So I explained to him, saying I was not very sure about the recipe, though I could give it a try, and that I would look through a couple of recipes for Palak rice and come back and prepare it for dinner the same day. He too agreed.
In between work, that day I checked through some recipes, and found that every recipe was different from each other, and everything looked different and had different sets of ingredients. Hmm.... I thought, I should take points form at least a couple of recipes to suit the taste of my family.

I came back home and gave it a try, in my own way, of course adapting a couple of thing from a couple of places. And I should say the outcome was just awesome! It had a rich taste, and yet mild spices, and tasted great. It’s now a dish-in-demand at home :)
Palak Rice

Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 25 min, including cooking rice
Serves : 4

Ingredients:
For rice:

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Milk - 1 cup
Cloves - 2-3
Bay leaves - 1 (optional)
Cooking oil/ghee - 1 tsp

Fresh spinach - 2-3 medium sized bunches
Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped (optional)
Cooking oil - 1 Tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 4-5 small pcs
Cloves - 4-5
Pepper - 8-10 (optional)
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Green chilies - 4-5, vary depending on taste
Ginger - ½” cube
Fresh cream - 1 Tbsp
Ghee - 1-2 tsp
Cashews - 10-12, made into pieces

Method:
• Wash and soak rice for 10 minutes
• Cook in a pressure cooker with water and milk, with the spices cloves and bay leaf for a nice aroma and oil/ghee added to make the rice grains non sticky
• After rice is cooked, allow to cool slightly, ensuring that the grains do not get sticky
• Meanwhile, pick and wash the spinach leaves and let the water drain completely
• Chop into very fine pieces. Alternatively, a part of the spinach can be processed in a food processor or mixer, to get a coarse paste. Green chilies can also be combined while grinding
• In a cooking pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and allow to splutter
• Add grated ginger and slit green chilies, if not ground to paste already
• Add finely chopped onion and sauté till translucent
• Once onions are done, add the spinach - chopped and the coarsely ground paste
• Sauté well till the raw smell disappears and the color changes o a darker green. This might take 5 to 10 minutes depending on the pan used and the heat of the stove
• Add salt and mix well. Note that spinach as such is slightly salty and requires a lesser amount of salt
• Once done, mix in the rice, and add fresh thick cream
• Mix thoroughly and heat for a few more minutes, letting the water content to go
• Serve hot, optionally with a raita of your choice

Tips n Tricks:
• Ensure the raw small of spinach is gone, by sautéing well.
• Be sure to drain the spinach well after washing it, as it already has a high water content

Variations:
• Potatoes can be boiled, mashed and added
• Grated cheese can be added in place of fresh cream

3 comments:

  1. Very nice spinach rice..looks so colorful...

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks very good. I make something similar with mint. Should try palak version too.

    ReplyDelete

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