Popeye’s green basmati rice

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Hello sweetie pies!

I hope you don’t take offense at me calling you that. If you do you’re probably reading the wrong blog. But for those of you still reading, welcome. Or maybe welcome back to my little slice of heaven. Cause that’s what this blog has become to me in the almost full year I’ve been writing it now.

The other day I was going through my archives and was flabberghasted by two things. First that I personally cooked, photographed and wrote (as well as ate!) all those recipes that I still enjoy reading today. Quite an accomplishment considering the fact that at the same time I’ve been pushing myself really hard to finally get that significant breakthrough with my company I’ve been dreaming of for so long. The cooking and photographing for this blog is frequently done in a house that resembles a warehouse more often than not. And finding a clutter free spot to set the stage for my photos is sometimes  a bigger challenge than coming up with a recipe. But so far I’ve always managed and felt so satisfied when hitting the “publish” button yet again.  And I hope to be hitting it many more times in the coming years.

imageThe second thing I realised was I had only posted one rice recipe so far. What? Really? That is totally absurd considering the fact that I eat rice almost every day. Well maybe not really every day, but at least every other day for sure. I just adore rice. Which is another reason for my continuing love affair with Ayurveda. As an overweight teenager I remember going on stupid diets all the time. And in all the different diet plans I followed rice was always the enemy. Not so in Ayurveda. Rice, specifically basmati rice, is much loved and used in Ayurveda. Even the white variety. I know, that comes as quite a shock right? But it’s true. Ayurveda states that white basmati rice is easier to digest than the brown version. Plus brown rice is considered to be heating for pitta’s. In general white basmati is considered balancing for all types and only Kapha should eat it in moderation because of the dominant sweet taste.

imageThis particular rice dish is one of my personal favorites. I just love it with a passion. It is perfect for Pitta combining all three balancing Pitta tastes, sweet, bitter and astringent, in one single dish. The fact that it also has coriander in it makes it even more perfect Pitta fare, as that is the most cooling herb for over active fiery types. I found the recipe in Thomasina Meirs book on modern Mexican food and it was so good I did not change one single thing about it. Oh I just remembered. I actually made one tiny change…… I use ghee instead of olive oil which makes the dish richer and more decadent than it already is. Thomasina uses this as a side dish but I find it so full in flavor I am happy eating it as a meal on it’s own. Add in some cooked chickpeas if you’re a big eater and serve with sweet and sour braised carrots, little gem leaves and some cucumber and ginger raita. Or take the real mexican route and fill a soft tortilla with refried beans, the green rice, slices of avocado and a tomato and lime salsa. I can assure you you will be spending yet another day in soul foodie paradise…..

imageLike I said this dish is best for Pitta. If you are a Pitta easily affected by onion and garlic you can leave them out or substite with 1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida. Kapha’s can have it on occasion but should use less ghee and brown basmati rice instead of white if they are able to digest it. Keep in mind that brown basmati needs to cook longer and uses up more water. So adjust the recipe accordingly.  For Vata’s it would be a great idea to add in some giant golden raisins for extra sweetness and a few lightly bruised cardamom pods.

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Spinach and coriander basmati rice ( very lightly adapted from Mexican food made simple)

For 4 -6

  • 300 grams basmati rice. Run under cold water in a sieve until water runs clear.
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • a small bunch fresh coriander (stalks and all)
  • 150 grams well washed spinanch
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 450 ml home made vegetable stock or water
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C. Keep an ovenproof glass or earthenware dish, some baking paper and aluminium foil (cut to size to cover the dish) handy.

In a food processor mix 1 1/2 tablespoon of ghee, all the coriander and spinach with the onion, garlic and a little bit of water. Grind into a smooth paste. Heat the other 1 1/2 tablespoon of ghee in a medium pan. When hot pour in the spinach mixture and lower the heat. Let gently bubble, stirring every now and than, for about 5 minutes. Now pour in the rice and mix well. Add stock or water plus a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Now lower the heat, put a lid on top and let simmer very gently for about 15 minutes until the water on top is almost evaporated and the rice starts to be visible again.

Pour hot rice in the baking dish. Cover the top with the baking paper first. Make sure you set it over the rice real snugly. Than cover the whole baking dish with aluminium foil. Put in the oven and steam bake for 35- 40 minutes. Remove from the oven but don’t remove the foil yet. Let sit for another 5 to 10 minutes before removing foil and  baking paper and fluff up the rice with a fork. Taste if it needs some more salt or pepper before serving steaming hot.

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