To make Pilaf, rice is first sauteed, often with aromatic spices before any liquid is added. You can become creative and flavor with many different kind of diced vegetables, leafy greens or toasted nuts. Spinach cilantro pilaf is one of our household favorites. You can also make plain spinach pilaf without cilantro or use just plain cilantro without adding spinach.
Heat the cooking vessel. Add spinach, cilantro and green chillies and saute it for 2-3 mins until most of the water from spinach evaporates. Transfer the contents into a blender and blend it along with coconut, ginger garlic paste (you can also use fresh 1 inch ginger and 6 garlic cloves) into a smooth paste.
Heat the cooking vessel and add the spices (cumin, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves). Allow the cumin to splutter and then add tomatoes. Saute it for 3 – 4 min. Add the blended spinach- cilantro paste and saute it for another 2 min. Add the drained rice and saute it for 2-3 min. There are different ways you can cook this rice: Instant pot, rice cooker, pressure cooker, or in the cooking vessel itself. I use instant pot for faster cooking.
Transfer the contents into instant pot, add water until 3 cups mark and turn it on. The rice is usually cooked in 12 min with the instant pot settings. If cooking in the vessel itself, add 5 cups of water and cook the rice in low medium heat with the lid on, until rice turns soft. Alternatively, you can also transfer the contents in the rice cooker or regular pressure cooker and cook as per the directions.
Once the rice is cooked, allow it to rest for few minutes. Fluff the rice and garnish with toasted cashew nuts and caramelized or fried onions (optional). This rice goes well with yogurt dip or raitha.
|3 cups brown basmati Rice rinsed and soaked in water for 30 min and drained|
|1 bag (110z/316g) spinach washed|
|1 cup cilantro chopped|
|4 green chillies|
|2 tbs ginger garlic paste|
|4 tbs grated coconut|
|1 tsp cumin|
|1 tsp fennel seeds|
|3 cardamom pods|
|2 inch cinnamon stick|
|1 bay leaf|
|2 tomatoes chopped|