Side dishes don’t have to be boring! I could happily eat bowl full after bowl full of this delicious rice on it’s own. Sometimes the side dishes are better than the mains. Actually, this would be a beautiful vegetarian main course, perhaps with the addition of green chutney, and a dosa, which is a thin crispy lentil pancake to dip in the sauce. Here is my recipe for Light and Crispy Dosas.
Ok , now I’m hungry! And I’ve also got the wanderlust for Kerala, a place I would love to check out for its beautiful beaches, luscious green scenery and amazing vegetarian food made with lots of coconut. In London we lived near Kilburn, where there happened to be a little pocket of Southern Indian restaurants. The food was so delicious – lighter and different from the Indian food I was familiar with. One restaurant called Vijays, was literally the living room of someone’s house that over time had been turned into a full scale restaurant. It had become quite popular with some celebrities and had gained a cult following. At these restaurants and also watching travel cookery shows, I learned about gorgeous fish curries, creamy dahls and tangy sambals of Southern India.
If eating this as a side dish, maybe some grilled fish in a spicy marinade would be the perfect main to accompany it. Food that is intensely flavourful yet healthy gives me the most satisfaction of all. And travelling through the food we prepare is the perfect way to raise our spirits and spark our imagination. Its feels like visiting another culture for a brief moment through our dinner table. I absolutely love trying foods from other countries.
This rice side dish is perfect for kids, and my baby especially loved it. The coconut and sweet potato are so sweet and mild, and kids always seem to love carbs like rice! I use brown rice to be healthier, plus I like it better for its nutty flavour. I chopped the spinach stems very fine and sautéed it with an onion to hide it within the rice. You might notice there are no greens in the photo, but I do have them included in the recipe. When I photographed this, I only had some stems to use up, and was looking for the perfect way to use the stems rather than let them go to waste. The clean spinach greens look and taste even more amazing when included.
Just a little touch of super healthy tumeric gives a great yellow colour and an earthiness to balance out the sweet coconut milk and sweet potato. Turmeric has many benefits, in fact there are some studies that have claimed that turmeric is more effective than many medicines at potentially reversing disease.
Here is your recipe for Coconut, Spinach and Sweet Potato Rice:
- 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 bunch of spinach, stalks and leaves separated
- 1 white onion, chopped.
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 180C/375F. Place the sweet potato cubes into the oven, lightly coat with a tsp of coconut oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork.
- In a frying pan, heat the rest of the coconut oil. Finely chop the spinach stalks and onion together, add to the pan and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic for the last minute.
- Add the turmeric and rice, then stir to coat.
- Pour over the coconut milk, turn down the heat and allow to simmer until absorbed. Stir through the spinach leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.