Recipes: Spinach Mint Rice

During the lockdown, I was experimenting with food and one day found a small bunch of spinach and another small bunch of mint lying in the fridge. I usually make a chutney with the mint, but I didn’t have enough coriander leaves to make my usual chutney, so thought of combining the two. I used my Spinach Rice recipe as the basis of this one and it turned out super yummy! When the rice was cooking, the whole house was enveloped with this pleasant mint aroma and while eating this dish, I was eating with more than just my mouth! And the best part about this recipe is that it is a one pot meal dish. This is a great addition to a lunchbox and both GG & BB have asked me to add this to their lunch boxes.

Spinach Mint Rice

Ingredients:
• 2 cups basmati rice
• 1 bunch spinach
• 1 bunch mint with the leaves plucked
• 2-3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
• 10-15 curry leaves
• 1 medium sized onion, chopped roughly
• 1 bulb garlic, peeled
• inch piece of ginger, peeled
• 5-6 green chillies
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 10-12 pieces of cashewnuts, chopped into half
• 2 tbsp oil or ghee
• Salt to taste

Method:
Soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes and then wash it thoroughly, drain and keep aside.
• Take some water in a large pan and boil it. While the water is boiling, wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and keep aside.
• Wash the mint, curry and coriander leaves and keep aside.
• Blanch the spinach leaves, a few at a time for around 10-15 seconds in the boiling water and remove and keep aside.
• In a blender, blend together the spinach, mint leaves, coriander leaves, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, green chillies and onion into a smooth paste. Keep aside.
• Heat the ghee in a pan and when it warms up, add the cashewnuts and fry until they are brown and nicely toasted. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
• In the same pan, with the remaining ghee, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
• Then add the blended paste and some salt and let the paste cook for around 5 minutes. The paste should start thickening and at this point add the rice.
• Mix the rice well into the spinach mint paste and once each grain of rice is coated with the paste, remove it to a rice cooker and add the water needed to cook the rice. Cook until it is done and then let it sit for 10 minutes before opening the rice cooker. Fluff it with a fork and add the fried cashewnuts.
• If you are cooking in a pan, when the rice is coated with the paste, add the water and let it cook until the rice is done. Switch off the gas and let it sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and then garnishing with the cashewnuts.
• Serve hot with a raita and some chips. I served this with an onion pineapple raita. This raita is very simple. Beat some yoghurt in a bowl and add salt and pepper to it. Then add some finely chopped onions, finely chopped pineapples (either fresh or from a tin) and some finely chopped coriander leaves. Taste for seasoning and serve. For the chips, I fried some traditional vadam.
• Vadam is traditionally made by drying a paste made of rice and other ingredients in the sun until all the water is leeched out. Then during days when vegetables are in short supply, you fry these in hot oil and use them as an accompaniment to any rice dish.

Mint Rice

This super easy and yummy rice recipe was lying in my drafts for a longest time. I think I made it around 2 months back and took photos with the intention of blogging about it! Anyways, here it is, better late than never…

Mint Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Basmati (long grained) rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • 2 packed cups fresh mint
  • 1 large onion, chopped roughly
  • 4-5 green chillies (depending on the spiciness of the chillies, use more or less)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • a handful of cashews
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil

Method:
In a blender blend together all the following: mint leaves, coriander leaves, garlic, ginger, onion and make it a soft, smooth paste with no lumps.

Next, heat ghee and fry the cashews and keep aside. Leave the leftover ghee in the pan and using that, put the following in the this order: cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinammon, cardamom and saute for around 30 seconds. Then add the mint paste and saute for a minute. Now add the drained rice, add salt to taste and saute till all the grains of rice get coated with the mint paste.

Now transfer this to a rice cooker and add approximately 1.75 cups of water, switch it on and let it cook till done. When the rice is cooked, open and check and add some more water if needed. Leave it closed for a while and then fluff it with a fork.

Sprinkle the cashewnuts just before serving. Serve with a serving of raita.

Minty Benefits

  1. Mint is a very good appetiser and also aids in digestion.
  2. It is also very good for soothing upset  stomachs.
  3. The smell of mint also aids in relieving nausea
  4. Mint is also very good in giving relief to respiratory illnesses, opening up the congestion in the nose and throat etc.
  5. As mint oil is a very good antiseptic, you can use it to get rid of pimples
  6. Last one, promise – Mint is a very good mouth freshener, so after you eat something, if you  pop a few mint leaves of mint in your mouth, it will  leave it smelling fresh and well, minty!