Super super simple and super super flavourful spinach rice or simply green rice.
This recipe of Palak Rice is SO GOOD just on its own that one doesn’t need a side or curry or dal to go with it. A raita maybe. Or a simple kachumber (onion, tomato and cucumber salad), yes!
Anyone who knows me, has been following my blog or social media, knows I like to keep my meals simple.
A one pot recipe, Palak Rice is quick to cook, comforting and nutritious. One recipe, many benefits. This recipe of Palak Rice (spinach rice) will soon become your winter favourite and go to recipe for a easy meal under 20 minutes.
A good source of iron, rich in vitamins and essential minerals, high protein, super source of calcium, low in calories, fats and carbs... really, what's not to like about spinach (and leafy greens in general).
Like many other vegetables, spinach is now available through the year. I still prefer the seasonal winter palak though, I find it a lot more flavourful than the other one. Why? I don’t know.
Also red carrots for the most delicious gajar ka halwa, beetroots for raita, parathas, cutlets and so much more, fresh white cauliflower for gobi gajar ka achaar, aloo gobi and gobi parathas, fresh turmeric for this haldi adrak ka achaar… leafy greens for everythig from stir fries to kebabs to besan ka puda or chilla, parathas, pakodas, a mix of all veggies for this comforting chicken and vegetables bake… why can’t winter last 12 months?
Coming back to my recipe of Palak Rice (spinach rice), another interesting green rice recipe is this Chicken Kebab Pulao, using the marinade (and a few kebabs!) from my Mint Chicken Kebabs recipe.
Here are the other spinach recipes on my Indian food recipe blog WhiskMixStir.
Love rice and looking for more recipes? Try these.
Chickpeas Biryani (not pulao!)
Oh and since I mentioned Kanji; it is a natural probiotic, traditional Indian beverage made with carrots and beetroots. Ideally, with just purple carrots but in the absence of those, beetroots are added for colour to regular red or orange carrots. Did I say it’s delicious?! Just make it already.
This recipe of Palak Rice is naturally gluten free, vegan and vegetarian.
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Time taken: 20-25 minutes
Ingredients to make Palak Rice
1 cup long grain Basmati rice
1 cup spinach purée / palak purée
1 cup water
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 bay leaf / tej patta
2-3 cloves / laung
1 dried Kashmiri red chilli
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 sprig of mint leaves (optional)
½ cup fresh corn kernels (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice / lime juice
½ tsp black pepper powder
Salt to taste
Method of making Palak Rice
Start with soaking 1 cup of rice for about 30 minutes.
If you're short on time, skip the soaking part. Wash the rice and soak it till the prep and tadka is done.
Next, take about 25-30 medium to large leaves of fresh spinach. Leave the softer part of the stem on the leaves and discard the rest of the stem. Blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds and immediately place them in chilled water. This retains the bright green colour of spinach. Once the spinach leaves have cooled to room temperature, blend them to a fine purée along with the leaves from 1 sprig of mint. Even though it is totally optional in this recipe, pudina / mint adds a nice flavour to Palak Rice. This should give you about 1 cup of spinach purée.
Get all the other ingredients ready on the counter and then let’s start with the tadka (tempering) for our Palak Rice.
Heat ghee in a thick bottom rice pot or a flat bottom kadhai / pan. Add cumin seeds, dried Kashmiri red chilli, cloves and bay leaf. Once these crackle, add the chopped onions and tomatoes along with the ginger and green chillies.
I’ve added the onions and tomatoes together because we will not be cooking either of them completely to a brown masala paste. Both, the onions and tomatoes, will be half cooked before we add the rice.
Once the onions turn a light brown and tomatoes start to break, add the soaked rice. Mix lightly and leave the rice to roast, avoid the urge to mix again as it may break the rice grains, for a minute on medium heat and then add water along with the salt and black pepper powder.
I prefer to not add garam masala to my recipe of Palak Rice, the flavour from the cloves and black pepper powder are delightful to me. You could add a teaspoon of garam masala at this point, if adding.
The general ratio of rice : water for any pulao is 1 : 2. In this recipe of Palak Rice, we’re adding 1 cup of water and 1 cup of spinach purée, which is enough to cook the soaked rice through. If at any point during the cooking process you feel the water is lesser than required, you could add a couple of tablespoons more. I would suggest, go easy on the water as you could end up with khichdi instead of pulao (delicious nonetheless) if there’s too much water in your Palak Rice.
Let the rice cook on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, till it is about half cooked and then add the spinach purée and fresh corn kernels, if adding. Mix everything well, lightly, to avoid breaking the long rice grains.
Lower the heat once the spinach purée is added and cover the kadhai, leaving very little space for the steam to escape. This will allow the rice to cook, without the water bubbling out of a completely covered kadhai.
Once all the liquid has dried out and your rice is completely cooked (should take about 5 minutes,) switch off the heat and leave the Palak Rice completely covered for a few minutes before serving.
The resting time in the residual steam is what gives you fluffed up rice in a pulao where each grain is separate or what is called khile khile chawal. So, this is an important step in the cooking process of Palak Rice or any other rice recipe really, including the everyday boiled / steamed rice.
Fluff up the palak rice (spinach pulao) with a fork and serve.
Palak Rice goes perfectly well with any Indian Curry. In the picture above, I’ve served palak rice with paneer changezi (the curry is the same as my recipe of chicken changezi), basic salad and raita.
You could also make this a complete meal by adding a simple moong dal tadka or toor dal tadka and any Indian Sabji (think crispy bhindi, aloo gobi, aloo bhurji and more), baingan ka raita to the table.
Don’t forget the poppadums / papad, pickled onions / sirke wale pyaz and salad!
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