Root vegetables are also plentiful during this season and along with the turnips and yams, what I like best is the lovely deep pink sweet potato. I can have this just plain - boiled and mashed. Stuffed parathas are a favourite with my daughter. But one evening last week I wanted to have it some other way. So right after work I put the potatoes to boil and set about preparing a dish solely based on the flavours I wanted to have for dinner that night.
I knew my palate was craving coconut milk to be paired with the sweet potato but I didn't want a curry. It was also getting late for my daughter's dinner so whatever it was had to be a one pot meal since there wasn't too much time. So thats how this wonderful tasting rice cooked in coconut milk came about.
I soaked the rice and set to work; spring onions seemed right for this but if you don't have any at hand, plain old onions will work fine. I tossed in some chopped spinach as an afterthought to give it some crunch and balance out the sweet potatoes. Garlic, ginger and a slit green chilli were all the spices it needed and a single tomato put in a slight tang; by the time all this had been fried, the rice was soaked and ready to be put in with a small cup of coconut milk. I used a stock cube dissolved in the water in which the rice had soaked for the remaining 2 cups. 15 minutes later and garnished with spring onions, the dish was done. M daughter declared that she loved the rice and could I send this for her tiffin the next day too? I gladly did :)
This dish is a beautiful meld of flavours - the coconut milk, the sweet potato, the spinach - all add their own unique stamp to it. Definitely something I will make again. You can add some more green chillies to up the heat quotient but I would avoid adding cloves, cinnamon etc which might overpower the dish as it is. The photograph didn't do any justice to this dish so I'm not posting it!
Sweet Potato and Spinach Rice
Rice - 1 cup soaked in 3 cups water for 10 minutes ( I used short grained Sona masuri, basmati is fine too)
2 medium sweet potatoes
Spinach washed and chopped - 2 cups
Coconut milk - 1 cup (fresh thick extract or canned)
Tomato - 1 chopped fine
Ginger - 1 " chopped fine
Garlic - 3-4 cloves chopped fine
Green chillies - 1-2 slit
Spring onions - 3-4 sliced, greens chopped and reserved
salt to taste
oil - 1 tbsp
1. Pressure cook the sweet potatoes for about 8-10 minutes, peel and cut into cubes.
2. Heat oil in a pan and saute the spring onions for 4 minutes. Add the slit green chillies, chopped ginger and garlic and saute 2-3 minutes
3. Add the spinach and fry briefly on high till wilted. The chopped tomatoes go in next - fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the sweet potatoes, fry couple of minutes. Meanwhile, drain the rice, heat 2 cups of the water in which it was soaked and dissolve the stock cube in it.
5. Add the drained rice to the pan and fry for 2 minutes, then lower flame, add the coconut milk, the stock (should make up three cups of liquid) and salt. Bring to boil, lower flame and cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or till the rice is just cooked.
6. Garnish with the spring onion greens and keep covered for another 4 minutes. Serve warm.