Spinach Rice with Feta Cheese

It was one of those days when I felt like shopping and expended all my energy buying things! I had to come home and dish out a quick meal. A vegetable and rice which does not have a lot of prep work is my go-to option during such times. This fabulous spinach rice was the outcome. Spinach is very easy to cut, once you have ensured that the leaves are nicely washed. I had some feta cheese sitting in the refrigerator which I tossed into this rice. Then all I needed to do was to dig into this delicious meal.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • 200 gms spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 gms of coriander leaves , finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100 gms feta cheese, cut into cubes
  • 8-10 cashews
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
Spinach rice with feta cheese

Spinach rice with feta cheese

Method:

  • Boil the rice in water for about 10 – 15 minutes. Then drain the water and let it cool for around 15 mins.
  • Pulse the spinach and coriander leaves in a food processor or finely chop them.
  • Heat the pan on low flame and add oil and the fennel seeds. When you smell the fennel aroma, add the finely chopped onions with some salt. Add salt lightly at this stage as feta is inherently salty. Sauté the onions just enough to lightly brown them.
  • Now mix the pulsed spinach and coriander with the onions. Than add the chopped garlic pieces.
  • Roast the cashews separately and add them to the above mixture.
  • Now add the rice and gently mix. The rice should become green evenly. Cook it on low flame for 5 mins.
  • Garnish with the feta cubes and your rice is all set to be served.

Tips:

  • You can cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Just let it cook and fluff it before adding to the pan.
  • Be careful when you stir in the rice. Overmixing will cause the rice to lose shape. Be gentle.
  • Taste as you go – the feta will add a lot of salt.
  • You need not cut the feta into cubes. Instead, you can just lightly crumble it into the rice.
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French beans and red capsicum masala rice / French beans and red bell pepper masala rice

While learning and experimenting in my cooking, I’ve realized that food is firstly a visual medium. By that I mean, depending on my mood, the colours and I vibrancy that I like to see and present change. This recipe turned out to be an outcome of one such cooking process. I wanted to make something quick, toss in some vegetables and rice and call it done. I like to use rice as it generally acts as the perfect base for one pot meals. I had some nice French beans lying around and wanted to use them. To make their green colour look more vibrant, I wanted something in red and decided to go with red bell peppers as the second vegetable. The masala rice turned out to be delicious and crunchy due to the veggies and this has become one of my favourite dishes to repeat when I need to cook fast. I have tried making this recipe with basmati rice and brown rice and I preferred the brown rice version.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 cup French beans, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut in cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Beans and red bell pepper rice

French beans and red bell pepper rice


Method:

  • Cook the Basmati rice and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan on a low flame. Add the bay leaves, clove and cinnamon and let them fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped onions with a little bit of salt and sweat them till they are translucent.
  • Now add the chopped French beans with garam masala, pepper powder, cumin seed powder and some salt into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and let the beans cook for around 5 minutes.
  • Toss in the chopped red bell peppers and cook them just for around 2 minutes without the lid. They need to be a bit crunchy.
  • Finally add the cooked rice to the vegetables and toss the rice around gently in the pan with a ladle. The rice should get perfectly mixed with the spices and vegetables.
  • Serve hot with chips or papads.

Tips :

  • Sprinkle some water while cooking the beans. Do not cover the pan with a lid for long as the beans might burn.
  • Do not overpower the veggies in the dish by adding more of cloves or cinnamon.

Cucumber and Corn Rice with Feta and Mint

The thought of how to make plain rice interesting and a standalone dish on its own merit has often found space in my culinary thoughts. If a lot of veggies are involved, the dish works brilliantly, but it involves quite a bit of prep time depending upon the cut of each vegetable. This recipe was relatively easier to make and also had an interesting flavor combination tossed in .

Recipe for Cucumber and Corn Rice


Serves : 2-3
Ingredients :

  • 1 large cucumber peeled, deseeded and cut into medium sized pieces
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tomato cut into medium sized pieces
  • 90 gms of Feta cheese
  • Mint leaves
  • 1.2 cups of rice
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable stock [optional]
Image

Cucumber and corn rice

Method:

  • Add oil to a non-stick pan. Once the oil is warm (not hot) add the onions, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook on a low flame until soft and transparent
  • Add the rice to the pan. Stir and cook till the rice becomes semi-transparent
  • Add either vegetable stock or water. For 1 cup of rice, add 2 cups of the liquid. Cover the pan and cook on a low flame
  • When the rice is par-cooked, add the cucumber and corn pieces. Taste and adjust the salt. Cover and cook till the rice is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed
  • Turn off the flame, wait a few minutes and gently fluff the rice with a fork
  • Add in the chopped tomato, feta cheese and freshly crushed black pepper and gently fold in
  • Serve hot with a mint leaf garnish (and more feta cheese!)

Tips :

  • Rice is hard to salt correctly once cooked. The cooking liquid should be salted well or the rice and cucumber will be bland
  • Also, bear in mind that Feta cheese is quite salty. If you prefer a low-salt dish, reduce the salt in the rice
  • Do not overcook the vegetables. The cucumber and tomatoes just need to be just cooked
  • If you want a stronger mint taste, add finely chopped mint leaves when you add stock / water to the rice
  • For those staying in Singapore, I use the 180 gms of box of Feta cheese from NTUC