Thursday, December 8, 2011

Buttery Basmati Rice with Spinach and Onion

My cookbook suggested I serve this side with my main dish and I have to admit when I first read the list of ingredients, I wasn't terribly excited. Still, I decided to give it a shot. Mostly because it would use up the chard I had in the fridge (chard and spinach are exactly the same, right?) and partly because I had all of the ingredients on hand. The end result, though, is so much more than the sum of its parts. I took one bite and was pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavour. The boy had a bite and was also impressed and wanted to know what was in it. I started listing the ingredients and felt sure I had missed something, but no, I had remembered it all.

Usually I don't bother with the rinsing and soaking of rice, but I figured this time it didn't really add any time as the rice soaks while the onion and greens cook. I'm not sure if that's part of the magic, but it's probably worth doing!

One year ago: Pita Bread

Buttery Basmati Rice with Spinach and Onion (from 660 Curries)

1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium-size red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach leaves (chard!), well rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt

1. Place rice in a medium bowl. Fill halfway with water to cover rice. Rub grains, drain, and repeat 3 - 4 times until rice remains relatively clear. Fill halfway with cold water and let sit until grains soften, 20 - 30 minutes. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle and smell aromatic, 5 - 10 seconds.
3. Stir in onion and add a handful of spinach. Lower heat to medium and stir until greens wilt, about 1 minute. Repeat until all spinach has been added.
4. Cook onion-spinach mixture until all liquid has evaporated and onion has turned soft and honey-brown, 15 - 20 minutes.
5. Add drained rice and toss with onion-spinach mixture. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and add salt. Stir rice once.
6. Increase heat to medium high and cook until water has evaporated from the surface and craters form, 5 - 8 minutes.
7. Stir once. Cover with lid and reduce heat to lowest possible setting. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes.
8. Turn off heat and let pan sit on burner undisturbed for 10 minutes.
9. Remove lid, fluff, and serve.

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