Thursday, 15 September 2011

Spinach Rice

The first year of marriage was a bittersweet one ;). I was very nervous trying out newer dishes and used to look for hints and signs from hubby dear to figure out his feedback. He hardly says anything, whether he likes the dish or not; he would not even mention that salt is too less/more until I tasted and figured it out myself. So I used to be careful and apprehensive about my cooking all the more. Often, I used to be stuck for mixed rice choices then. I was so strongly against making rotis for lunch, so it has to be rice, and rice-dal-rasam-vegetable is too boring. So when I traveled to Chennai once that year and was killing time before my flight back to Bangalore, I dropped into Landmark and was browsing through the culinary section. I came home with 3 lovely books from Mallika Badrinath - a 100 recipes each for tiffin, vegetable gravy and rice dishes. The best thing I love about her recipes is the precision. She never writes "Fry for a few minutes", the way I write ;). She would word it like, "fry for a few minutes until the raw smell goes and there is a nice aroma" or "fry for a few minutes until the gravy starts sticking to the bottom of the pan". And she gives a glossary of food names, in various languages.

I love spinach dishes... Keerai-paruppu is one of my favourites with hot steaming rice... So this recipe from a Mallika Badrinath cookbook, immediately captured my fascination. This is a regular dish at home.

The original recipe in her book states the following:


Palak (spinach) - 1 bunch
Rice - 1 cup
Green peas - 1 cup
Small Onions - 1 cup
Tomato - 1 medium sized
Green chillies - 2 large
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Cashews - 6-7
Salt -  to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Oil for rice - 1 tsp


Wash the rice and green peas. Cook the rice and peas, in an open vessel with a tsp of oil. The oil will help keep the rice grains separate. Let it cool down and keep aside.
Wash and chop the spinach coarsely. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the small onions and fry for a few minutes;
Remove 6-8 onions and keep it separate for garninshing. Add tomatoes, garam masala, green chillies and cashews to the remaining onions and fry.
Add the chopped spinach and fry for a few minutes, until the raw smell goes. Allow this to cool down. Grind this mix with required salt and very little water.

Mix the cooked rice with this paste, keep on low flame for 5 minutes; Garnish with small onions, and fried cashews. Add a spoon of ghee. Serve hot with Raita.

After the first few attempts, I made some modifications to this recipe.
If small onions are not available, I use the regular onions. I make the spinach paste and keep it aside. It stays good in the refrigerator for even a week. I cook green peas (microwave for 5 minutes). I add hot rice and mix it at the table. So this is like a keerai thokku.
priya's signature image at photobucket

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