Thursday, March 04, 2010

Palak Pulao

Long recess ( lunch break) in school was something to look forward to. Books and pens were hastily shoved in the desk- drawers and lunch boxes whipped out. The group would gather  in a circle, some sitting at their desks, some standing  and an assortment of 'dabbas' (lunch-boxes), mostly wrapped in polybags. 
Square, rectangular, round, two tiered or sometimes three tiered, stainless steel or plastic boxes opened to display a variety of food. 
The roti-subzi ones were scoffed at ( unless the subzi was 'a-ma-zin-g') the parathas, idli- dosa, rice dishes were welcomed and devoured in a matter of minutes and sweet treats, if any were sparingly distributed or better, traded for books ( Enid Blytons, Hardy Boys, Three Investigators and Archie comics). 
Does this all sound familiar? 
I would harass my Mother for fancy stuff everyday and beg, plead, cry for 'canteen- money' on the day she planned roti- subzi for the lunch box. I would rather eat a batata-wada chutney or a hot dog roll ( Vegetarian, in the Indian context).
I always liked pulav /pulao/ pilaf. Tiny vegetable pieces, that never got in your way, mildly flavored with whole spices and when served with a wedge of mango or lime pickle I was content. A fried  papad and a dahi raita would be like icing on the cake! 

This Spinach Pulao came as a wonderful change. I read the recipe in 660curries when I had it from the library and the simplicity caught my attention and  stamped itself in my memory. Though this is not the exact version, it comes close, I believe. This is my version.

You need: 
1 cup Long grained rice
1 cup Spinach (8 oz.) washed and chopped
1/2  Onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Tbs Ghee ( or oil) 
1 Bayleaf (optional- NOT a part of the original recipe, my addition)
Salt to taste
2 cups Water

Wash rice , drain and set aside
Heat ghee/ oil over medium high heat and add the bay leaf (if using), cumin seeds. After they sizzle, add the onion and saute till till translucent
Add the chopped spinach and cook till it wilts. 
Add the rice, salt and water
Cover and cook till the water is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked
Alternatively, after adding the rice, combine well and at this stage, transfer all the contents to a rice cooker, add water and cook.
I served this pulao with daal fry .

I entered thefoodie blogroll giveaways and won  2 jars and a few sachets of Almond Butter !!! I am looking forward to using these. Any suggestions?
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  1. O I wish I had school lunches like the ones you enjoyed! Wonderful!

  2. Food always tasted better when it came from someone else's lunch box :)

    Almond butter- my two suggestions: creamy curry with North Indian flavors, and almond butter cookies.

  3. Yeah! School and college days were so much fun and carefree! :)

    Palak Pulao looks wonderful. I will make it for Trisha, she will be home today for Spring break.

    My edit posts, photo load and publish, nothing is working, blogger problem. I just have to take unwanted break until they fix it.
    Have a great weekend, We have 62F this weekend!:)

  4. I have the same curry boook and i love the recipes in it.
    Yeah blyton and hardyboys brngs back god old memories;

  5. Any Time I am in for Rice Items,oh this looks very delicious and Inviting!!!Perfect pics...

  6. Nice post! Spinach pulav sounds interesting way to add greens!

    I use almond butter in lieu of butter in baking.. like I would use 50% butter and 50% almond butter.. anyway almond butter has oil in it. I added it to banana bread and it was yummy!


  7. wow, what an Idea to add greens..Well photographed and tempting recipe.

  8. Your post on school lunches brought back memories of my school days, what a carefree time that was...

    Spinach pulao looks wonderful,I love the simple seasoning in this recipe....

  9. This is one of my favourite rice dishes. We call it bhaji rice :)

  10. THANK YOU, all of you for the wonderful comments and the tips on using almond butter, I will post about it (hopefully soon)

  11. nice pulao manasi..did you by any chance study in IES Hindu Colony? Just wondering....based on your reference to canteen money, batata wada and veg hot dog :)

  12. Anonymous: YES! I am from IES's EMS Hindu Colony!! Are u as well? do leave ur name.

  13. yes manasi...i am also from IES EMS HC...thats how i could relate to your post abt hot dogs and batata vada in the school canteen..i also used to plead for canteen money :)
    our canteen sure had some great food...visiting our school canteen is on my agenda on my next trip to india. Cheers - Ameeta

  14. Wonderful to see the Indian ladies blogging about the time tested recipes of Indian Cuisine.
    Keep up the momentum

    Dr Samit S Bali


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