Spinach Pilaf / Palak pilaf

Spinach pilaf is so green, so beautiful to see, and so yummy to eat. This is pretty easy to make, as it is all cooked in one pot. You may use the crock pot if you like. The key to a great pilaf is slow cooking. 

What I used: Serves 4/5
2 cups Basmati or Sona Masoori rice
2 cups washed and coarsely chopped spinach
1 cup fresh/frozen peas
1 cup diced carrots
2 tsp fresh ginger and garlic chopped
1 cup onions diced
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 tsp cilantro finely chopped
A stick on fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1tsp Whole Garam masala (1/2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1tsp fennel seeds)
2 bay leaves
8-10 small green hot chilies (Use less or more according to your spice intake)
¼ tsp turmeric
2tsp ghee/oil
Salt to taste

First, soak the raw rice in cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Add ghee into a cooker or quart pan on medium heat. When you see whisks of smoke, add the in whole mint leaves, bay leaves, ginger garlic paste and onions. Once they turn soft, add chopped tomatoes. Stirring attentively, cook on medium-high till they are soft and pulpy. About 5-7 minutes.

In the meantime, add the chopped spinach, green chilies, whole garam masala, turmeric and some water, grind it to a fine paste. Pour this thick mixture into the cooking tomatoes, let cook for a few minutes. To this mixture, pour 4 cups of hot water (lesser if you like your pilaf flaky, more if you like it soft and mushy) and bring to a boil. Now drain the soaked rice and add it into the bubbling mixture slowly. Add in the peas and carrots. Let is cook on high for 3 minutes.

Add in the lime juice, then, cover the simmering mixture on low heat for the next 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, very gently. All the liquid will evaporate. Test to see if the rice is cooked. If it is watery, let it stay on low heat for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat. Smear the top of the pilaf with 1tsp ghee just before it is served. Serve hot with some cool yogurt salad. Enjoy!