Paella-style Spinach Biryani

“Green & light

Swells up the rice,
Crisp underneath
With an aroma nice,
The onions brown
And I stir it slow,
Letting the flavors fuse
Like a magic show,
Covered in secret
It cooks in time,
With a personal zest
Of masala & lime
The smells spreads
Over the kitchen walls,
And the neighbors line up
Across the hall
For a taste of gold
If there is spare,
But I may disappoint
And never share.”
1 cup spinach curry (I made a veg version with potatoes, but you can use the original with chicken as well)
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 clove, crushed
1 green cardamom, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano flakes
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Separate the pieces of chicken or potatoes from the spinach curry and keep aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the cardamom, clove and bay leaf and cook till the spices become fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the rice and the remaining dry spices. Sauté for a minute till the rice turns slightly brown and all the grains are coated with oil. Mix in the spinach curry, along with 1 cup of water and cover and cook on medium/low flame for 8-10 minutes, till the rice is cooked. If the rice looks too dry, add another ½ cup water at this stage. It should look slightly wet even though it’s fully cooked. Uncover, put the chicken/potatoes earlier removed from the curry on top of the rice, and sprinkle with coriander, lemon juice and another teaspoon of olive oil. Cover and steam for another 5 minutes till all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice looks dry and fluffy. The bottom of the rice should also be slightly crisp and begin sticking to the pan.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.