What to do when you are too lazy to cook an elaborate dinner ,but want ot make use of spinach (palak) and few cubes or pieces of cottage cheese (paneer) waiting to be used up. Simple, you end up making this rice. This is just an improvisation on palak paneer gravy that you must have seen in many blogs except here :). There are dozen ways of making this rice as well ,but this is just my version with few changes here and there to suit my palate.
The estimates are actually guesstimates. I just cooked with whatever I had in my hand and since it was tasty, I am blogging it. But feel free to improvise on it.
Basmati Rice: 1 cup atleast
Vegetable Oil: 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Onion: 1 finely chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste : almost 1tsp (optional)
Green Chillies: 1 big slit lengthwise (can use chilli paste)
Spinach : 1 medium bunch cleaned and chopped (almost 1.5 cup chopped - the more the merrier)
Paneer /Indian Cottage Cheese : cubed 1 cup +/-
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Chilli Powder: 1/ 2 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala/ Kitchen King Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp +/-
Kasuri Methi /Dried Fenugreek Leaf Powder: 1/4-1/2 tsp
Cook basmathi rice in just enough water till done. The rice grain should be separate and the rice should not be overcooked.Preferably spread the rice in a big plate and let it cool a bit.You can separate the grains with a fork if needed.
In a deep pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add jeera/cumin seeds and let it sizzle. Add chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, slit green chillies and little salt. Saute till the onions become transparent and the raw smell on the ingredients goes. The onions may leave water during this process.
Add the cheese cubes to this and stirfry for a few minutes. Add in the chopped spinach and little more salt and let it cook for a few minutes. The spinach might give out water during cooking. Add the spice powders one after the other to the hot mixture and cook cover on low heat for a few minutes till all the flavours mingle and the ingredients get cooked.
Remove from heat and add cooked and cooled rice to this and mix well. Rice will absorb whatever liquid is there in the spinach mix. If too much liquid is there a few minutes after mixing then heat through for 1 or 2 minutes till correct consistency is reached. Adjust salt and served with raita optionally garnished.
Asimple yet hearty rice. Easy to make and filling as well.
Here I have used kasuri methi to add just a little sourness. Dried mango powder can also be used. Normally palak paneer will be having tomato chopped or puree. But I have omitted it. Why ?
Recently I came to know that the combo of spinach and tomato might cause kidney stones. The both have oxalates and kidney stone is usually calcuim oxalate. So its better to reduce the combo in cooking, especially in this rice or the gravy version as you are using paneer which is rich in calcuim. Go for any other souring agent or even avoid it completely to suit your taste and also health.
Meanwhile grab a bowl and enjoy ....