In excitement of my culinary to-do list, up there on the right , I got a bunch of mints, a bunch of baby spinach ,and another one of indian spinach(bigger leaves) and then got totally confused as to what to make of it :)
So many dishes, one little cook...what to do..I didnt want to do what I usually do with these...either a spinach -mushroom fry for a lunch wrap, dal-palak - one of my fav and oft-cooked dish or aloo-palak...so I turned to google (isnt that what everyone does) ..
I came across this nice saag-paneer/tofu at NY Times food blog and thought that the tender baby spinach will work out good with this...and it did...cooking the spinach in half-and-half milk gave it a rich creamy taste and the fried tofu (crunchy on the out , and soft to the core) ..it was great...alas, so reduced a quantity that it was all gone before I could even snap a picture...but take, my word , its a keeper ..though I have a gripe about all these so-called greens..
You get them all fresh and vibrant, very carefully, taking care not to crush them...handle them every so tenderly..use them as soon as possible to get all its fresh goodness...and what happens ? It reduces to about 1/4 of its size ??? I love the fresh fenugreek bunches I get in the farmers market sometimes..and its so painstakingly harrowing job to pluck those leaves...but does it even give me one full portion of veggie ?? Nah !
I always have to add some volumizing stuff to it , like some dal , potatoes or the likes..and then the greens are really hard to find in there !! [[Sigh...]]
Neways, so with the saag-tofu out of the way, I tried my hand at mint pachadi as a base for my sammich lunch and though it turned out well, I was reluctant to put that as my entry ....it was totally adapted from the blog and I wanted to contribute something original, not that there is anything really 'original' any more ...maybe something more substantial..
So, I remembered this Spinach Rice that I had tried in a potluck , and always thought about trying but never really got around to it..so armed with the name , I checked with my best friend, I mean google again and it seems to give answers..but one too many...
One is the chopped spinach saute'ed with spices and rice which really sounds like pulav to me , again humdrum ..
Another suggested puree-ing the spinach and adding to rice , before cooking or after cooking ?
I wasnt sure how cooking the rice with the spinach puree in would result like..
So I thought I would make a nice spicy puree with Spinach AND Mint (2 birds in a shot, you see) and add onto the rice , I was sure the spinach , mint combination would be great...mint would offset that grittiness you see with spinach sometimes..so here I go..
1.5 cups rice, cooked as usual
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 bunch of indian spinach chopped (blanched in microwave for abt 5 mins)
1 cup of mint leaves
an inch of cinnamon stick
4-5 green chillies, cut in half
an inch of ginger
Bring some oil to heat, saute green chillies, black pepper, cinnamon stick and onion in it. Add ginger, stir and then add the spinach and saute for another 3 mins. Add mint leaves and turn off the heat. Let cool and puree the preparation.Its pretty simple actually..
Cool the cooked rice a bit, so it wont break on stirring and add the puree and stir thoroughly.Serve with cucumber-carrot raita and papad on the side !
Cucumber - carrot Raita :
2 small cucumbers , grated
1/2 cup of grated carrots
1 tsp crushed peanut
black pepper powder to taste
coriander leaves, chopped
3 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp sugar, if needed (to balance the sourness from yogurt)
salt, to taste
mix all the ingredients with some water and chill.
Note : I thought some corn in the spinah-mint rice would go very well, but since the frozen ones are bit too sweet and hubby dear doesnt likes sweet in spicy I left it out...but Im sure that wouldve been a great addition..
Also, we had some leftover aloo-gobi with that and would you know , the gobi tasted pretty awesome with the rice...thats another future addition .. ;)