Spinach Pilau

Servings : Serves 3-4

A healthier and lighter version of Pilau, easy to prepare and superbly delicious!


  • 300 gm basmati rice (1 and a half cups), washed 2-3 times then soaked for half an hour.
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups finely chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 small green capsicum, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp sweetcorn
  • 1/2 cup peas, boiled for 5 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin/coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground roasted cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • water or stock, warm (for every cup of rice, you will need 1 and quarter cups of water)

Whole Spices

  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole pepper
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom


Place a pan on the stove. Remember that the rice will double after cooking and the meat, veggies and potatoes will go in there too so you will need to have enough space in the pan. Turn on the heat and once the pan is hot, add the oil and butter.

Then add the whole spices; cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves.

Once they splutter in the oil, add your chopped onions. Fry them until they are translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon. Then add the turmeric and cumin/coriander powder.

Let these fry for a few minutes, then add the garlic paste, green chillis, potatoes, peas, sweetcorn and capsicum. Fry together for a couple of minutes, then add in the chopped spinach and the yoghurt. Cook until the extra moisture dries up then add the stock/water and some salt. Let the stock simmer and taste for the salt. You should be able to feel the saltiness. If it feels just right, it means you have too little. Remember that the rice will need some salt too, so let the salt be enough that you can taste it to be a bit more than you would want. Not too much of course!

As soon as the the water starts boiling, drain your rice (which should have been pre-soaked for about half an hour) and add this rice to the stock. Sprinkle a bit of coriander on this, and stir a little. Let this cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring now and then, then reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking it whilst covered until the water diminishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly.

When you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible. Seal your pan by using a tight lid or wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it.

Leave the rice to continue steaming on very low heat for a good 10 mins. Switch off, and serve with accompaniments of your choice! I served with boiled eggs and sliced tomatoes, some raita and tomato chutney.

Enjoy! 🙂

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