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Spinach and Rice Indian Style

ingredients

serves 6.
2 3/4 lb (1.2 kg) spinach
11 oz (320 g) Patna rice
2 medium-sized onions
6 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tspgaram masala
salt

method

1. Bring plenty of water to the boil in a large saucepan and add a generous pinch of salt. Use only the tenderest leaves, and blanch for just under 1 minute then drain; you should aim to have 1 - 1 1/4 lb (600 g) net weight of washed leaves. (The other leaves and stalks can be used for recipes calling for longer cooking and need not be wasted).

2. While the spinach is cooling, put the rice in a sieve and hold it under running cold water to rinse until the water runs clear. Drain. Squeeze all excess moisture out of the spinach by hand and chop finely.

3. Peel the onions and chop very finely. Fry the onions gently in the ghee for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until tender and pale golden brown.

4. Add the spinach and the garam masala and stir-fry over a moderate heat for 2-3 minutes.

5. Take off the heat, add the rice with 18 fl oz (500 ml) cold water and 1 tsp salt. Stir, return to a higher heat and bring to the boil. Cover, turning the heat down extremely low and leave to cook undisturbed for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

6. Stir with the prongs of a fork to help separate the grains; if serving with hot spiced dishes you will not need to add more salt as this dish provides a refreshingly bland, cooling contrast.

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