Dill and spinach pilaf

Dill and spinach pilaf

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

Adding herbs to rice is such a quick and easy way of giving flavour to delicate rice dishes. The rice and dill combination was popular with the Armenian immigrants who settled in India many centuries ago. This lovely pilaf can be eaten as it is with yogurt, or served alongside lots of the other dishes in this book, from a lentil curry to roasted or grilled meats. If you have the spices at home, add a cinnamon stick and a few cloves with the cumin.


Quantity Ingredient
300g basmati rice, well washed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 smallish red onions, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
3 fat garlic cloves, chopped
225g baby spinach, washed
100g dill fronds, chopped
600ml vegetable or chicken stock, or water
lemon juice, to taste


  1. Once the rice has been washed, leave it to soak in fresh water while you start the cooking. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and, once they have browned, add the onions and some salt, cooking until the onions are golden on the edges. Add the garlic and stir until cooked, around one minute.
  2. Add the spinach and dill and stir until the spinach has wilted. Drain the rice, add it to the pan and give it a few good turns to amalgamate with the other ingredients. Add the stock or water and taste and season the liquid, adding pepper at this stage as well as salt. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes, then reduce the heat right down, cover and cook the rice until done, around eight minutes. Check to see if the grains are soft, then turn the heat off, stir in a little lemon juice with a fork, replace the lid and leave to steam for five minutes.


  • Plain boiled rice should be just that: plain. However, if the rice is part of an assemblage of vegetables, or to serve as the basis for a meal, such as in a biryani, you must check the seasoning of the water before cooking the rice. Pour in the measured cooking water, then taste the water: rice needs lots of seasoning so, if anything, it should taste slightly overseasoned to your palate. Adjust the seasoning of the liquid until it is correct to your taste.
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