Spiced Silverbeet Pulao

I adapted an old recipe to make this rather delicious Pulao. Strictly speaking it’s not a pulao, as it ‘s lighter on the rice than normal. However, this brings to the fore the delicious flavours of silverbeet which is further enhanced by the aromatic whole spices. It’s up to you whether you pick those out at the end of cooking – personally I think it’s worth doing as I HATE biting into a cardamom pod or a whole clove. If you were feeling super practical, you could wrap them in a little muslin package – which would be infinitely simpler to fish out – I am not that practical.

RECIPE:
450g silverbeet or spinach
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
6 cardamom pods (bruised)
5 cloves
1 bay leaf
1cm piece cinnamon
55g long grain rice
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Trim the bottom of the silverbeet, then cut up the stem to separate it from the leaves. Chop the stems into thick cubes, and roughly chop the leaves. Set aside separately.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil over a low heat. Gently cook the onion for 4-5 minutes with some salt and pepper until soft and golden. Add the silverbeet stems and the paprika and stir for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the rice, silverbeet leaves and whole spices together with 250ml boiling water and stir for 1-2 minutes until the leaves have wilted. When it comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally. The liquid should be fully absorbed, but if it gets too dry during the cooking time add a little more water. Similarly, if it’s not absorbing, remove the lid towards the end of cooking to reduce.

SERVING:
This is a great with fish, poultry and red meat. I ate mine with a deliciously tender kangaroo steak. Don’t recoil in disgust, kangaroo meat is delicious, cheap and very very lean. It’s easy to find in Australia but beef or veal or even venison would work equally well too.

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