Recipe for Aloo Palak Biryani | Aloo Palak Rice | Spinach Potato Rice with spices
Last evening was one of those times where I got totally stuck on what to cook for dinner. Yes, cookbook authors have those moments too!
I had a crisper drawer full of fresh spinach that I had accidentally over ordered for my cooking demo on the weekend. And I have a long list of older recipes from my blog that desperately need newer photos and writing. Matching the two, I knew what I was making for dinner.
This recipe for aloo palak biryani is inspired by the Chhole Biryani my dad had cooked for us once, so I decided to use a similar method and spices to prepare this aloo palak rice / biryani recipe.
People on the internet are notoriously opinionated about about biryani. So let me add a disclaimer that this recipe is not made like an authentic biryani is. No layering the curry with rice and cooking in a vessel sealed with dough etc. This is your regular simple weeknight dinner. If you are that biryani purist, then call this pulao or vegetable rice or by any other name you please. I can promise you this will taste as good 😀
This Aloo Palak Rice | Aloo Palak Biryani took me just around 25 minutes from start to finish because I used the pressure cooker. If you choose to cook in a pan on the stove top, the cooking time for the rice and potatoes will be longer.
I loved this fragrant, spicy rice dinner. Paired with raita, it makes a complete meal.
More easy rice recipes for weeknight dinners
Aloo Palak Biryani
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 - 5 cloves
- 1 black cardamom
- 1/2 tsp shahjeera (black cumin) optional
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 large onion sliced thin
- 3 cups spinach shredded
- 2 tsp chole masala I use Goldiee brand, see notes
- 1.5 tsps red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsps coriander powder
- 2 tbsp yogurt thick
- 1.5 tsps salt
- 1/2 cup paneer crumbled
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 5 - 6 strands saffron soaked in 3 tbsp warm milk
- To prepare the aloo palak biryani, start by cooking the rice and potatoes. In a pressure cooker or instant pot with separators place the washed rice with 2 cups water and pinch of salt in one compartment. Place the quartered potatoes in another compartment. Pressure cook for one whistle, keep on sim for 3-5 minutes and switch off the flame. The rice and potatoes need to be just cooked and not mashed.
- While the pressure cooker is doing its work, prepare the aloo palak masala to go with the rice. In a large kadai, heat ghee. Add all the whole spices. Stir for a few seconds, then add the sliced onions, ginger-garlic paste. Saute on medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until onions are translucent.
- Add the shredded spinach and fry on high heat until it is wilted. This will take around 2 minutes.
- Once the cooker is cool enough to be opened, remove the potato cubes. Remove the rice onto a large dish, gently separate with fork and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the potato cubes to the onion-spinach mix along with the spice powders, yogurt and salt. Toss gently to coat the potato with spices, let this cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes with occasional turning, so that the onion-spinach-spice mix coats the potatoes.
- Add the crumbled paneer towards the end (if using) and toss gently.
- Add the cooked rice to the mix in the pan along with the saffron milk, toss gently till evenly mixed. Cover this with a tight light and let the flavours come together on low heat for 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot paired with a raita.
- I highly recommend Goldiee Chhole Masala. After using this for the last 10 years, I can tell you, no other masala comes close. While it is manufactured in Kanpur, most of it is exported. All you hing fans, Goldiee Heera Hing is strong and fragrant like NO OTHER. Use it to believe it. And no, I am not getting paid to promote this! It's great that you can get their entire range online now
- You can also substitute all or part of the spinach with fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves for a delicious variation.
- For a healthier version, use quick cooking brown basmati rice instead of white rice. You can even try this recipe using millets or quinoa.
- To make it vegan, use any other cooking oil instead of ghee, 2 tbsp tomato puree instead of yogurt and omit the paneer.
- You can also use this recipe to make potato spinach curry alone (aloo palak) to have with dal-rice or rotis - adjust the salt and spice powders accordingly as you wont be mixing it with plain rice.
Originally published on March 22, 2011. Updated with new photos and text.
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