Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vegetable Rice with Pesto sauce (Indianised)

I probably spent more time coming up with a title for this post than actually thinking about the recipe when I made it. There could be people who make similar kind of rice, but this was an invention for me. It all started very simple. I had a bunch of corinader leaves / cilantro. I wanted to make some pesto sauce and make penne pasta out of it. See, even when I cook non-Indian dishes, they never are truly non-Indian and I make a killer pesto sauce which is spicy and tastes great. And is the only pasta dish my husband would eat.
I thought of making that. Then, decided against it since the word 'pasta' isn't taken very well by my partner.

Here goes my recipe. And be sure to read the 'Notes' to see the changes I suggest.
Vegetables used in this recipe can be varied to suit your needs and based on the refrigerator's (or freezer's) occupants.

Basmathi rice - 2 cups rinsed well and cooked with enough water so that they are cooked, but still firm and cooled.
Spinach - about 1 lb.rinsed and chopped (I used it since I had to use up the big bag of spinach)
Carrots - 2 medium peeled and sliced
Zucchini - 1 peeled and chopped into medium chunks
Red Onions - 3 small or 2 medium sliced
Tomato - 1 big chopped (optional)
Oil - 4 TBSP
Star Anise -2 - 3
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

To Grind:
Peanuts - 1/2 cup toasted (You can easily use roasted peanuts if you have on handy)
Garlic - 3 pods (See Notes)
Green Chillies - 8 or more per taste (This was mild enough that even my kids could eat)
Cilantro - cleaned and chopped Packed 1 1/2 cups (You can use stalk part also)

In a pan, heat oil. When hot, add star anise and fennel seeds. When fennel seeds pop, add chopped onions. Add some salt and mix and let it cook stirring occasionally. When onions are almost done, add carrots. Let the carrots become tender and then add zucchini, spinach, tomato. Mix well and let all the vegetables cook. Spinach will leave water and make it look like a subzi or curry. Don't worry about that.
Meanwhile, take roasted peanuts, garlic, green chillies and cilantro in a blender and grind to a smooth paste without adding too much water. If needed, you can use some of the water that is accumulated in the pan. Try not to pour water. When all the veggies are almost cooked, add this ground paste. Mix well and let the ground paste coat all the veggies. After 2 - 3 minutes, add the cooked, cooled rice. Mix well. Adjust the salt if necessary. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Rice absorbs all the liquid in the pan. Turn off the heat and serve hot, warm or even cold. This rice is a very nice change from the usual kinds of rice and tasted great. This made a beautiful one pot meal.

Use whatever vegetables you prefer. If you don't want to make it as a rice dish, try adding cooked quinoa, or cooked cracked wheat. You can use brown rice instead of white rice.
Same can be converted into a curry or subzi by omitting rice. Just add some more water to make it a gravy/curry as a side dish for chapathis/rice.
Use the same sauce, but use pasta for an Indianised pasta.
You can use other nuts if you like. And add a handful of the same nuts to seasoning.
If you don't like a strong smell of garlic, throw in the pods with peanuts when peanuts are almost toasted. The heat from the pan is good enough to subtle the garlic smell.

Enjoy!! Pin It


  1. rice looks tasty..very well written recipe..following you :)

  2. That is such an unusual dish! Looks tasty..

  3. rice looks tasty ...i like spinach very much ...very interesting como...i will try this soon

  4. Very creative vegetable rice, looks very yummy and awesome..

  5. Champa, that is one wonderful looking rice dish with pesto twist. I simply love pesto sauce out of all Italian sauces, so I am definitely trying this. First, I will try with the store bought pesto sauce. I will let you know how it comes :)

  6. Very innovative veg rice with pesto.Nice green colour of rice.

  7. lovley greean color...can smell teh aroma of my fav cilantro and garlic ...looks tasty n yum

  8. Love the color and love the color rendered by the pesto! Yum!

  9. love pesto sauce...making rice dish with it sounds new to me but that looks delicious...very innovative dish...

  10. pls pass that plate of rice to me. i am feeling hungry... wonderfully done.

  11. Very Innovative! I'm sure to try this one :)

  12. Your indianised pesto is a great creation! And the dish looks delicious. One more recipe that I have to try soon :-)

  13. I made this today with broken wheat and it turned out awesome! thanks for sharing.


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