Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hearty Spinach Pilaf - Indian Style

I was wondering what to make with the bunches of spinach my DH got from the vegetable market (again!). I just had made stir fried spinach and a variety of spinach curries and was dying to try something new. Browsing the internet, I found variations of Spinach Pilaf (Indian style) and immediately started on one for dinner. This has turned out to be one of my absolute favorite dishes, its rich and hearty, and chock full of nutrients, without being overtly greasy or heavy.

This is my version of Palak Pulao / Indian style Spinach Pilaf. Please give credit if copying.

  1. White rice - 1 cup
  2. Onion - 1 diced
  3. Fresh Spinach - 2 bunches or a large bag from the salad section, coarsely chopped
  4. Peas, fresh or frozen - a handful
  5. Cashew nuts, raw - a handful
  6. Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
  7. Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
  8. Black peppercorn - 6 pieces or fresh cracked pepper
  9. Salt - to taste
  10. Sugar - a dash
  11. Canola oil - 1 tbsp
  12. Butter - a pat (optional)
  13. Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a non stick saucepan. Stirfry cashews till golden brown. Reserve for later.
  2. In the same leftover oil, put in Black peppercorns, Ginger paste, Garlic paste and onions. Add a dash of sugar and salt. Stir and cook covered till onion is soft.
  3. Add spinach, cook till just wilted, about 2 mins on high.
  4. Transfer all the contents to a blender/ food processor and blend with splashes of water till mixture becomes a slurry.
  5. In the same pan, add rice and water, additional dash of salt and cook on high, till rice starts boiling.
  6. If you are cooking on an open pan, rice generally needs 1.5 to 2 times the water. If you are using a packaged rice, water requirement will be on the box. But, it is wise to put in less water than required at this point, since the spinach slurry also contains liquid.
  7. Add the spinach blend to the boiling rice, stir well.
  8. Making sure that the rice is still boiling, lower the heat and cover with a lid.
  9. Keep checking often, and stir occasionally so that the bottom does not start to burn.
  10. The mixture is a thick stew like consistency at this point.
  11. Add peas when the rice is almost cooked. Add garam masala, if using. Stir.
  12. Adjust salt at this point. Consistency of rice is creamy, almost like a risotto.
  13. take away from heat. Cover and let rest for 10mins. Residual liquid, if any, will be absorbed.
  14. Stir in fried cashews. Put on a pat of butter and serve hot.
This pilaf is tasty as is, but would be fantastic as a side-dish as well. And you get to snuck in spinach. I also ate this for lunch the next day it was delicious as a leftover.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Heart in the Coffee

Hi darling, I got you your coffee.
- Oh, I see you did not stir my coffee?
[Takes spoon from my hand and briskly stirs the coffee]
Oh no! stirred away the heart...the heart!!!
- Huh? There was a heart in the coffee?