South Indian style Palak Rice or Palak Pulao is a flavourful and aromatic rice dish that is very nutritious, great for skin and bones and tastes great with any gravy or raita. Make it using simple pantry staples and in under 30 minutes.
If you love to make varieties of Rice recipes at home, then here are some more Mixed Rice Recipes for you – Turmeric Rice, Raw Mango Rice, Pepper Rice, Ghee Rice, South Indian Tomato Rice and South Indian Lemon Rice.
About This Recipe
There are very few vegetables that can be considered a storehouse of almost all nutrients, and spinach comes very close to being called one. And therefore, Spinach or Palak is one such ingredient that you will always find sitting in my fridge.
While there are a lot of recipes I make using this power-packed green, this Palak Rice is one of my go-to recipes to make for Lunch Box. It is healthy, easy, tasty, and wholesome, what else you need for your lunch. Right?
There are so many ways to make this Palak Rice. While some like to make it with chopped spinach, I like to cook raw rice in a spinach puree that is nicely spiced with some green chilies. As a result, the rice gets a wonderfully earthy and flavourful aroma.
This is a perfect weekday meal, and if you are in too much hurry, you can cook it in a pressure cooker too. Although, I have always preferred to cook it in a pan.
This Palak Rice is,
- Easy & Quick
- Loaded with Nutrients
- A simple Lunch Box recipe
- Perfect for weekday meals
Rice – I use long grain basmati rice, as they turn out to be aromatic and fluffy. You can use any rice that you prefer. Wash the rice 2-3 times with water and soak it for about 20 minutes, before cooking.
Soaking the rice helps them cook faster and they also turn out nice and separate and not mushy.
Palak Puree – Palak or spinach is available freshly in Winters, so load your fridge with the same and use it in such everyday recipes. You can also use frozen spinach to make this recipe.
Whole Spices – To add some heat and flavor, we will use some whole spices such as cumin seeds, cloves, and black cardamom. You can even add bay leaf if you like.
Oil – Here, in this recipe, I have used olive oil, but you can use any oil, be it a vegetable oil, or even coconut oil. You can even use ghee/clarified butter to make this Palak Pulao.
Cashew Nuts – Fry the cashew nuts in a little ghee or oil and garnish the Palak Pulao with the same. It adds a nice crunch to the soft and aromatic pulao.
Other Ingredients – Some more ingredients that add to the taste of this Pulao and make it even more delicious – Onion, Ginger, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Salt, and Lemon Juice.
If you like it to be spicy, you can also finely split green chilies, and add along with onions.
How to make Palak Rice?
Wash the rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear. Soak it in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes.
Wash the spinach very well 2-3 times to get rid of any mud and chop it roughly. Add the chopped spinach, ginger, garlic, and green chilies in the medium jar of a mixer and grinder.
Add ½ cup water and grind to make a smooth paste.
Heat olive oil in a pan. You can use any other oil if you wish to.
Once the oil is hot, add cloves, black cardamom, and cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.
Add cashew nuts and fry until slightly golden. Add chopped onion and fry for 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring while cooking.
Add the spinach puree and sauté for a minute.
Drain the rice and add it in the pan.
Add 3 cups of water along with salt and lemon juice and mix gently.
Cover and cook on low heat until rice is done. Stir the rice once midway while cooking.
Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the palak rice with a fork. Serve hot with raita.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use Fenugreek Leaves, Amaranth Leaves, Mustard Leaves, or a combination of these leaves with spinach to make this Mixed Rice recipe. You can also add in finely chopped coriander and mint leaves.
You can go ahead and add chopped vegetables of your choice such as Potato, Green Peas, Corn, Baby Corn, Carrot, Broccoli, Mushroom, etc.
You can also add some protein such as Boiled Chickpeas/Chole, Pan Fried Paneer, Tofu, or even Grilled Chicken in this rice dish.
Definitely yes! Even chopped spinach adds a great texture to the palak rice recipe, but if you like your spinach to not be seen, then puree and cook the rice in it.
Follow the same recipe as given below. After adding water, lemon and salt, close the cooker with a lid and pressure cook for about 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally, open the lid, and serve hot.
You can even prepare Palak Pulao with leftover Rice. Just follow the same recipe, but instead of adding raw rice, add in the cooked rice. There is no need to add water, as the rice is already cooked.
Once you mix the cooked rice with the spinach mixture, add salt, lemon juice and cook for about a minute or two. Once done, garnish with fried cashew nuts and serve.
You can use Brown Rice for a healthy alternative. You can even use Broken Wheat, Quinoa, or even Couscous to make this recipe.
Pro Tips by Neha
Measure the rice and water correctly. If this measurement is not correct, the rice might either burn or turn out mushy.
You can also make this recipe using brown rice, quinoa or couscous.
This recipe can be easily halved, doubled or tripled.
Serve this Palak Rice recipe on its own with a fried South Indian Papad and Pickle on the side.
You can also serve Palak Rice as a side with your meals that comprises of Dal, Sabzi, Raita, and Roti/Paratha/Poori.
This Palak Rice will last for about 2 days in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container. But I will recommend you to make it fresh, for the best taste.
While serving, heat it in a pan or microwave. If you feel it has become a little dry, then sprinkle a little water on top while reheating and then give a nice mix.
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Palak Rice Recipe
- 2 cups long grain basmati rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 whole cloves
- 1-2 whole black cardamom
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 10-12 cashew nuts
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 3 cups chopped spinach
- salt (to taste)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Wash the rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear. Soak it in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes.
- Wash the spinach very well 2-3 times to get rid of any mud and chop it roughly. Add the chopped spinach, ginger, garlic, and green chilies in the medium jar of a mixer and grinder.
- Add ½ cup water and grind to make a smooth paste.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. You can use any other oil if you wish to.
- Once the oil is hot, add cloves, black cardamom, and cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.
- Add cashew nuts and fry until slightly golden. Add chopped onion and fry for 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring while cooking.
- Add the spinach puree and sauté for a minute.
- Drain the rice and add it to the pan.
- Add 3 cups of water along with salt and lemon juice and mix gently.
- Cover and cook on low heat until rice is done. Stir the rice once midway while cooking.
- Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot with raita.