A very unusual biriyani that is delicious & also nutritious at the same time. I love spinach & try to make various dishes out of it. This rice will be loved by the kids & adults alike.
Deep fry 1 medium onion (thinly sliced) and drain on paper towels.
Soak 1.5 cup of basmathi rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain the water & keep aside. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan & add 3 cloves, 1 bayleaf, one 1″ piece of cinnamon and 3 cardamom. Saute’ till you get a nice aroma & add the rice. Fry the rice for 4-5 minutes. Add 3 cups of boiling water & 1.5 tsp of salt. Cover cook the rice on low heat for 10 minutes till all the water has been absorbed by the rice grains. Add the deep fried onions, 1 tbsp of toasted cashews & 1 tsp of fried raisins to the cooked rice & mix.
For the masala, marinate 3 cups of cubed potatoes with 3/4 – 1 tsp of salt + 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder. Deep fry the potatoes on medium low heat for 12-15 minutes/ till golden brown in colour. Drain the fried potatoes on paper towels.
In a broad non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee & add 2 cups of thinly sliced onions & fry till the onions turn golden brown in colour. Add 4 big garlic cloves ( ground to a paste), 1 tsp of ginger paste & 2 greenchillies ( ground to a paste). Cook for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of cumin powder & 1/4 tsp of shahjeerah/ caraway seed powder. Throw in 3/4 cup of chopped tomatoes & cook for 15 minutes or till mushy. Add 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach + a pinch of sugar. Cook till the spinach leaves wilt & turn completely dry. Add 1/2 cup of beaten curd & the fried potatoes. Mix well & stir in 3/4 tsp of garam masala powder, 1/4 cup each of chopped cilantro & mint leaves. Cover & cook for 5 minutes. This is the spinach-potato masala.
Mix a pinch of saffron, 1/4 tsp of pineapple/rose essence, a pinch of garam masala & 2 tbsps of lukewarm milk.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease a big oven proof dish with ghee. Put half of the cooked rice in it to make the first layer. Sprinkle half of the rose –saffron milk over the rice. Spread the paalak-aloo gravy over the rice, followed by the remaining rice. Sprinkle the left over flavoured saffron milk over the rice. Cover the dish tightly with an Al foil.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes.
I prefer to mix up the rice with the masala & serve hot.