Spinach rice or palak rice is a flavorful rice prepared with tomato and spinach. Serve it as a side dish with grilled meats or as a main dish with some raita or curry.
What is Spinach Rice?
To prepare spinach rice, spinach and rice are seasoned with some basic Indian spices and cooked together. It is a variant of pulao / pilaf. Saute spinach along with whole garam masala, onion, ginger garlic paste and some tomato, then add rice and cook until rice is firm.
Why Palak Rice?
Tired of cooking same old pulao or bagara rice all the time? Then try palak rice for a change. Preparation is exactly the same as bagara preparation except for the vegetables. Substitute mixed vegetables with spinach, add some tomatoes for tang and a delicious palak rice is ready!
Beauty of palak rice or as a matter of fact, any pulao or bagara is that it pairs well with raita and gravy curries. This is great when lazy to cook or on busy weekdays. It is a great comfort food, and a good one to pack in lunch boxes along with some raita or curry.
How to Prepare Spinach Rice?
Preparation is similar to pulao and just make sure to saute spinach really well and if spinach releases too much water, let it evaporate before going to the next step.
- Wash rice and soak for 30 minutes. Chop the veggies and keep ready.
- When rice is soaked for 15-20 minutes, heat a pan and roast whole garam masala, bay leaf and biryani flower.
- Sauté onions, ginger garlic paste and green chilies.
- Sauté chopped spinach, followed by tomatoes.
- Add soaked rice, salt, water and cook until rice is done.
- Fluff up the rice and serve hot with raita or curry.
How much Spinach to Use?
It is subjective to individual taste and for a milder flavor of spinach, use 1 ½ - 2 cups of chopped spinach; 2 ½ - 3 oz for 1 cup of rice (rice cooker cup). Adding more spinach, up to 3 cups also taste really good, however do not go over board with spinach.
Bunch vs Pre Washed Spinach
I prefer pre-washed spinach as it is already cleaned. When using bunch of spinach, wash properly and pat dry the leaves. If the leaves are not dry, it will release a lot of water when sauteeing.
How to Serve Spinach Rice
Spinach Rice Recipe
- 1 ½ tablespoon Oil
- 2 Cardamoms
- 1 Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Shahjeera
- Bay Leaf
- Biryani Flower
- ¼ “ Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Methi Powder opt
- 5 Mint Leaves chopped
- ½ small Onion sliced
- 3 Green Chillies slit into 2
- ¾ teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 3 oz or 2 cups of chopped Spinach
- pinch of Turmeric Powder
- 1 small Tomato chopped about ⅔ - ¾ cup when chopped
- ½ teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- 1 cups of Basmati Rice soaked in water for ½ hour
- Cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cardamoms, cloves, shah jeera, cinnamon, bay leaf, biryani flower, mint leaves and methi powder.
- Fry until mint leaves change color. Then add onion and fry till translucent.
- Add green chillies, ginger garlic paste fry for a minute.
- Add chopped spinach and cook for a minute or two until spinach wilts. Add tomatoes, salt and cook until soft and juices evaporate.
- Add turmeric powder, rice and fry for a minute.
- Add 1 ½ cups of water (rice to water ratio of 1 : 1 ½ ) and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook until rice is done.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with raita or any gravy of your choice.
- Electric Rice Cooker - Follow the above process and cook everything in a frying pan. After sauteeing rice, transfer to a rice cooker, add water, cilantro and turn the cooker on.
- Instant Pot - Follow above process. Saute spices, spinach, tomato and rice on 'Saute' mode. Hit 'Cancel', close the lid, vent sealed, press 'Pressure Cook/ Manual' and adjust the time to 4 minutes. Then do a quick release after 6 minutes.