I was intrigued by the name Arroz verde when I read it on DK's post. The recipe she had posted sounded very simple to cook and I loved the lovely green colour in her pictures. I had liked the rice much and kept reading her post often.
Then I wanted to find alternatives for argula leaves that I do not find here in Lagos. I found some rocket greens and tried it. Though I had not planned to pack it in my husband's lunch, I reserved some for him to taste. I was not prepared for his reaction. He cleared the whole bowl and said it tasted good before asking me what was all packed in that dish!
Emboldened by the response, I have made it many times now. I am not particular about the argulla leaves or alternatives any longer, though that is a welcome addition. I make do with the spinach and coriander leaves. And I use a bit of ghee to get some good flavour.
Just the other day I thought that I might do it all in the microwave mode and see if it works. The result is this post you might be reading below.
1 cup of basmati rice
1&1/2 cups spinach
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 big green chillis of spicy variety
1/2 of a large red bell pepper cut in tiny pieces
2 cups of water for cooking the rice2 cups of water to soak the rice intially
2 tablespoons ghee
Salt as required
Wash the basmati rice well and soak in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes.
Clean the spinach ans coriander leaves, drain and run them with the green chillis in a blender using part of the water to a liquid. Transfer this to a large microwave safe dish. Use part of the water for cooking to clean the jar of the blender and add this water to the spinach mix.
Slice the onions and chop the garlic cloves.
In a flat microwave proof dish, heat 1 tablespoon ghee for 30 seconds on 100% micro power.
Add to the heated ghee the sliced onions and garlic. Mix them so the ghee coats the slices. Place back in the microwave, without lid and cook on 100% power for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Give them a toss mid way.
The onions will turn pink and become aromatic.
Remove these contents and transfer them to the spinach in the bowl.
Drain the soaked rice. and spread on a cloth for few minutes until most of the moisture dries.
In the same flat dish, add the rest of the ghee and the dried rice. Roast this rice on 60 % micro power for 4 minutes, without any lid on. Open and stir the contents at 2 minutes interval. This enables uniform distribution of heat and all the rice getting evenly roasted.
Once done, transfer the roasted rice to the bowl with liquid spinach mix. Add the rest of the water. Add the required salt and the cut bell pepper.
Allow the rice to soak in this for 20 minutes before cooking.
Place this bowl with all the contents in the microwave. Cook uncovered on 100% micro power for 5 minutes allowing the contents to boil.
Place a lid and cook on 60% power for 12 minutes. Stir once in between. Check for the rice having cooked and increase the cooking time by a further minute or two depending on how you require.
Allow a standing time of 3 minutes before opening the lid and taking out of the microwave.
Remove from the microwave and fluff the rice a bit using a fork.
Serve hot with a favourite raita and crisps.
It is thoroughly delicious rice dish even for those who will not like spinach very much.
While saying a big 'Thank you' to Dhivya and Chef in you, I am also adding this to Srivalli's popular Microwave Easy Cooking Event being hosted currently here with Lunch menu.