I think most people know by now that I have some strong leanings towards one-pot rice dishes! Very true. I love rice and the fact that endless variations can be concocted by adding vegetables, beans and lentils to the rice to make it a all in one complete dish means it tends to turn up on our plates at least once a week and we love it.
I promised a Facebook friend, who loves rice, I would post a recipe for spinach and tomato rice – that was a few days ago but just didn’t get around to it! However, here it is now and hope you will like it too.
I am always trying to get people to have a go at rice as there are many who have a “fear” of cooking rice and tell me they never get it right. Rice is simple but you must remember that the kind of rice you use will make a huge difference to the cooking time and the amount of water you add to it. That is why we need to “eyeball” rice; keep an eye on it and don’t just leave it to fend for itself – after all it doesn’t take long to cook so not asking a lot.
If you are unsure and not used to cooking rice, keep a kettle on the boil and start with less water rather than more. Less water can easily be rectified during the cooking process by adding a little more boiling water. However, if you do find you have used too much water, uncover the rice and let it dry on very low heat. Perfect rice comes with practice and it doesn’t really matter too much if you get it a bit soggy the first time round; you will know to use less water next time and get more confident once you’ve done it a few times. It is so well worth it and is very quick (you don’t absolutely have to soak the rice if you don’t have the time although good Basmati rice always benefits from a soak – the rice grains fluff up better). Rice which has not been soaked will take a little longer to cook.
300 grams Basmati rice, soak for 1 hour
1 cup dried soya chunks (I use Neal’s Yard Wholefoods Natural Soya Protein Chunks sold in 375g bags available at Holland & Barrett for £1.99. These are excellent value and delicious in rice, curry or stews)
250 grams fresh spinach, no need to chop if small leaved (you can use frozen spinach too, whole leaves not chopped – the chopped version is very fine and mushy)
1 large onion, sliced
2 inch piece of cinnamon
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
400ml water (we need less water for this recipe because of the tomatoes and spinach)
- Soak soya chunks in boiling water for approximately 40 minutes – strain liquid before use
- In a large, preferably wide saucepan, fry onion and cinnamon stick in olive oil until golden brown
- Add turmeric, tomatoes, salt and a little water (about 100ml). Cover and cook tomatoes for 20 minutes
- Add spinach, cover and cook on low for 5-7 minutes until the spinach has wilted – stir intermittently to keep it from sticking to the pan
- Rinse rice 3-4 times and add to spinach & tomatoes together with the soya chunks and 300ml of water (see picture below – about one inch above level of rice)
- Bring to boil on high, lower heat and simmer uncovered until very little liquid left (see picture below)
- Cover the lid with a tea cloth and place tightly on the pan. Steam for about 15 minutes on very low heat. If there is some liquid left in the rice, take the lid off and let it dry for about 5 minutes. This rice will be moist because of the spinach and tomatoes but that is how it is meant to be!
- Serve with yogurt & cucumber and a salad of red onion, tomatoes and avocados