Keerai sadam

Spinach rice


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main, 6 as a side

Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Filling and healthy, this simple one-pot recipe is great for the times you are feeling hungry but time poor. Use any variety of cooked rice you like — leftovers are perfect!

Preparation 25 minutes
Cooking 15 minutes


  • 550 g (1 lb 4 oz/3 cups) cooked rice of your choice
  • tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) English spinach or Ceylon spinach, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 Indian green chillies, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 100 g ( oz/ cup) roasted macadamia nuts, chopped

For Tempering

  • tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon chana dhal
  • 1 tablespoon white urad dhal (hulled dried black lentils)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dill seeds, or ½ teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds


To temper the spices, heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and fry the chana dhal and urad dhal for 2–3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the spices and cook for a minute or two until fragrant, taking care that the fenugreek seeds don’t burn, or the spices will taste bitter. Remove from the heat, then grind to a paste and set aside.

If your rice is still hot, spread it out on a plate to cool, fluffing the grains with a fork to separate them. If using leftover rice, ensure the grains are well separated.

Heat the coconut oil in a large wok or heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop, then roast, stirring often, for 1–2 minutes, or until golden.

Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for a few minutes over medium heat. Stir in the spinach, green chilli, chilli powder, turmeric, along with the freshly ground tempered spice paste. Season with salt to taste.

Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. If the pan gets too dry, stir in 60–125 ml (2–4 fl oz/ ¼–½ cup) water.

Remove the lid and gently mix the rice through, taking care not to break up the grains. If there is any excess moisture, cook for a few more minutes without the lid, until the water has evaporated.

Check the seasoning, top with the macadamias and serve.