Learn how to make Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf ~ Basmati rice cooked with spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves, green peas, coconut milk and flavoured with whole spices and fresh herbs
I know it is bit late to talk about New Year’s resolution. I made one but never talked about with anyone as most of my New Year resolutions becomes things of past within a week’s time! So I kept quiet all this while thinking this year’s resolution too will vanish in thin air! It’s now almost a month and half since we welcomed 2013 and I felt I can share it with you all as I have successfully managed to stick to it and also enjoying it.
My New Year resolution is to cook fresh and wholesome meals everyday. It is not really a simple task especially when I come home late tired after long and busy day at work and resort to eating frozen meals cooked over weekends or order takeaways. But surprisingly I have managed to cook everyday… every single day! We have cut down the amount of carbs intake and have started to cook and eat food rich in protein and fibres. The amount of carbs that I eat on day to day life is unbelievable and the amount of fruits and veggies in my daily diet has gone down drastically. I can easily point my fingers at the lack of time, trying to balance hectic work load both at work and home, but it is not really a case! I have to blame myself equally as I put my health below every other things in my life!
Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf ~ Simple and delicious
Not anymore! I am embarking on a journey with conscious effort to eat healthy by switching from high carbs and sugar rich diet to protein and fibre rich diet, switching from food that makes me happy to food that makes me healthy! It is my conscious effort to cook fresh produce and limit the processed and canned ingredients as much as possible. I know this is not going to be easy and then I never enjoyed a challenge that is easy to accomplish! I am all for difficult challenges which will push me and make me think beyond the boundaries. Having one very active toddler is another added challenge as he is a moody eater. Yes, moody and not picky! He will eat food if he is in a good mood and turn his head to the wall if he is not interested in the food that I cooked! Yeah, yeah… My Amma is amused to see the history repeat again! So I am not only challenged to cook everyday, but also challenged by my little son to cook something that looks interesting and tastes good enough to finish his meal without complaining!
Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf ~ One pot meal
I find it extremely difficult to resist extra spoonful of rice in cold winter months. Rice is very comforting food for we Indians who grew up eating it in every meal as a main dish. So instead of eating rice and only rice to my heart’s content, I am concentrating on portion control and adding quite a lot of vegetables and greens which just hikes the nutrition quotient up on the chart! That way I don’t punish my body by depriving it from my most favourite grain and yet achieve my goal of reducing the high carb diet. So it really is a win-win situation for me. But icing on my cake is that Lil Dumpling loves flavoured rice! So these days whenever I cook rice dishes, I try to make it healthier and flavourful by using different colourful vegetables and aromatic spices. I also make sure that the rice is always served with good helping of vegetables either in a form of raw salads or simple and quick vegetable stir fries or oven roasted to release their natural sweetness. Also we have been enjoying different lentils/legume sprouts drizzled with simple salad dressing or stir fried like Sundal.
Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf ~ Flavoured with coconut milk and whole spices
One flavoured rice recipe that I have been cooking over the years is Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf. This mildly spiced Palak-Methi Pulao or Pulav or Pilaf is flavoured with whole spices and fresh herbs. The fresh coconut milk used in the recipe adds so much flavour and also keeps the rice moist. Little kick of spiciness comes from the fresh green chillies and the ginger used in the recipe. Packed with protein rich spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves and sweet green peas, this is loved by all in my family including Lil Dumpling who enjoys scooping up a large spoonful of this Palak-Methi Pulao with ‘geen peas’ :) A cup of yogurt or chilled Raita with spicy Indian pickles is our favourite side dish to serve with this delicious Palak-Methi Pulao. This Palak-Methi Pulao is something that I cook regularly, sometimes with just a bunch of spinach and other times with just a bunch of fenugreek leaves and some other times I simply replace the greens with 2-3 cups of mixed vegetables like cauliflower, French beans, carrots, potato and sweet corns so that Lil Dumpling gets to try different vegetables and flavours. If you like your Pulao/Pulav bit spicy, just add a teaspoon or two of readily available Pulav Masala (MTR Pulao Masala is my favourite), or Garam Masala. Oh, so many options and so many ways of enjoying this delicious and nutritious Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf… Try it and let me know which one is your favourite! :)
Fresh bunch of Palak/Spinach for Palak-Methi Pulao
Ingredients for Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf
Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf Recipe
Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf (Flavoured Basmati rice cooked with spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves, green peas, coconut milk and whole spices)
Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low
Serves: 6-8 People
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for upto 3 days
Serving Suggestion: On its own or with pickle, raita or any spicy curries
3 cups Basmati Rice
1 medium bunch/3 packed cups Palak/Spinach, chopped into think strips
1 medium bunch/1 packed cup Fresh Methi/Fenugreek Leaves (Just the leaves and do not chop them ~ read notes)
½ - ¾ cup Green Peas, fresh/frozen
1 medium Onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-4 Green Chillies, slit (as per taste)
1½ tsp Ginger Paste or 1½ inch fresh Ginger, peeled and minced or grated
1½ cups thick Coconut Milk (Or use canned Coconut Milk)
2-3 tbsp Desi Ghee (Clarified Butter) or Oil (or combination of ghee and oil)
Salt to taste
1½ inch Cinnamon
4 Cloves, lightly bruised
4-5 Green Cardamoms, lightly crushed
1 Bay Leaf
1 Star Anise
1 heaped tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
½ tsp Saunf/Fennel Seeds (Optional)
Recipe for simple Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf
- Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker or large heavy bottomed pan and add cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms, bay leaf and star anise. Fry them for a half a minute on medium flame.
- Add cumin seeds and fennel seeds and let them crackle and change colour, about a minute.
- Mix in slit green chillies and thinly sliced onions and sauté them till the onions start to brown on the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and cook them till their raw smell disappears, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add fresh fenugreek leaves and sauté them for 2 minutes till the leaves are wilted.
- Next add rice and mix it for a minute or two until every grain is coated with ghee/oil.
- Mix in chopped spinach, green peas, coconut milk, 4-4½ cups of water and salt to taste.
- Cover the lid and let it cook undisturbed. If using pressure cooker let it cook for 15-17 minutes, otherwise it will take around 25-30 minutes.
- Let the pressure release completely before opening the lid. Once cooked through, fluff the rice with a help of a fork or spoon.
- Serve this delicious Palak-Methi Pulao/Pulao/Pilaf with any spicy curry or Raita of your choice. Enjoy!
- Use just the leaves of fresh fenugreek and do not chop them as they will make the Pulao taste bitter.
- If you can’t find the fresh greens, use the frozen ones which are easily available in supermarket or any good Indian grocery store’s frozen section.
- You can also add a tsp or two of Garam Masala or Pulao Masala to make it spicier.
- A cup of yogurt or chilled Raita with spicy Indian pickles is our favourite side dish to serve with this delicious Palak-Methi Pulao. Sometimes we enjoy it with a spicy Indian Curries or simple stir fried vegetables.
- You can simply replace the greens with 2-3 cups of mixed vegetables like cauliflower, French beans, carrots, potato and sweet corns for different flavour.