The very versatile spinach goes into this very green one-pot rice meal, making it a wholesome Sunday lunch option.
I normally keep coriander pesto handy in the fridge for a quick addition to salads or sandwich spread. Putting some pesto into spinach rice, along with the garnish of fried cashew nuts, worked wonders with the otherwise simple meal.
On to the recipe…
- Basmati Rice – 1 cup
- Water – 1.5 cups
- Spinach – 1 large bunch
- Onions – 1
- Salt – to taste
- Cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch
- Olive oil – 1 teaspoon
- Coriander pesto [recipe below] – 1 tablespoon
For coriander pesto:
- Coriander leaves – 1 bunch
- Garlic cloves – 10
- Salt – a pinch
- Olive oil – 1/2 teaspoon
- Extra virgin olive oil – 3 tablespoons
- Cashew nuts – 10
- Green chilly – 1 or 2 (optional)
- Olive oil – 1 teaspoon
Peel and using a blender or mortar and pestle, grind garlic cloves and salt to paste. Finely chop (or coarsely grind) coriander leaves.
In a small pan, heat a teaspoon of olive oil. Add garlic paste and after 30 seconds, add finely chopped coriander leaves. Cook for two minutes on medium heat, stirring continuously.
Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a dry container, pour extra virgin olive oil over it. Stir gently, making sure that the oil coats all of the coriander-garlic paste. Add more oil if needed.
This can be stored in the fridge for several days. I have used coriander pesto made this way for up to 10 days, I’m sure it stays good longer.
Wash rice in several changes of water till the water runs clear. Spread out and keep aside for 20 minutes.
In the picture above : Washed basmati rice, onions, spinach leaves and coriander pesto.
Chop the onion finely. Wash, de-stem and chop spinach.
To cook rice, use a large non-stick pan, which has a close-fitting lid. Heat the pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add onions and cinnamon stick. When the onions turn golden, add chopped spinach and a pinch of salt. Set the heat to high and cook till the spinach wilts (5 mins).
Add rice and fry for two minutes so that the rice is well-coated with the spinach mix.
Add a cup and a half of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, clamp the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes.
Now uncover, gently stir in a tablespoon of coriander pesto and cover again. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes, till the rice is cooked through and the water has evaporated.
Let it rest covered for 10 minutes. Then uncover and fluff with a fork.
The Cashew Chilly Garnish:
Chop green chillies.
Heat a few drops of oil in a tadka ladle. Add chopped green chillies and cashews. Fry for a few seconds till the cashew nuts begin to turn golden.
Mix the cashew chilly garnish into spinach rice. Serve with plain yogurt or raita.