This mildly spiced and aromatic vegetable pulao has the warmth of whole garam masala, the goodness of ghee, and the delicate aroma of Basmati rice. I have shared lots of tips and tricks so that you can make this incredibly easy, one-pot dish to perfection!
This dish is my absolute go-to, comfort dish 😍 (as is this Indian curry pasta and this teriyaki noodles) And since it looks as good as it tastes and is worthy of being a central dish, I often make it the main dish for our Sunday lunch scene and when we have friends over.
Do you have a favorite one-pot meal that you love making for your family? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
What makes this pulao recipe so special?
Well, to start with : basmati rice + ghee + spices = pure bliss ❤️
💚 This recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, and has no onion, garlic
💚 Is mild, delicious, and creamy and can be the perfect vehicle for any side dish and tastes great even on its own!
💚A family-friendly recipe - kids from as little as 10 months can have this dish (be sure to remove the whole spices and nuts, though!)
💚One pot, hassle-free dish that hardly requires any prep.
💚 Has so many vegetables!
💚 Can be made vegan.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Veggies: I use pantry staples - potatoes, carrots, and green beans. You can add more varieties if you wish (read the notes below).
Ghee: I use homemade ghee. You can use any brand of ghee that you prefer. Want to make it vegan? Read the notes section below.
Spices: The spices are the ones used to make garam masala. The black cardamom adds a deep, flavor to the dish. When it comes to this spice, a little goes a long way! All of the spices come together to bring a heady, aroma to the dish.
Lime juice: Adding a dash of this lifts the flavor of the entire dish, plus helps in cooking the rice to perfection!
Water/ Stock: I like to use just plain water for this recipe. You can, however, use stock, if you so wish.
Pulav can be made in a pressure cooker or electric cooker. However, I like to make mine on the stovetop and in one pot.
Let's make this deliciously aromatic vegetable pulao. It is so easy and with my tips, you will make it to perfection 🙂
Step1: To begin with, wash the basmati in water 2-3 times or until the water runs clear. Soak in (tap) water for 20 minutes.
Step 2: While the rice is soaking, wash and chop the carrots and potatoes into bite-sized cubes and the green beans into 1-inch pieces.
Do not peel the carrots and potatoes.
To avoid discoloration, keep the chopped potatoes in water till it is time to use them
Step 3: Crush the ginger and peppercorns into a coarse paste. Keep aside. Measure all the other spices and ingredients.
Step 4: Place a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat. Add the ghee. When the ghee is warm, add the whole garam masala spices.
Step 5: In a few seconds, the spices will begin to sizzle. Now add in the broken cashew nuts and fry for a few seconds. Add the crushed ginger and black pepper. Fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped veggies and rice. Mix, gently, to coat the rice grains with ghee.
Step 6: Add the hot water, dried mint, salt, and lime juice. Stir. Make sure that all the rice and veggies are submerged in water. Bring to boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook till the rice and veggies are cooked through. The rice and veggies would have absorbed all the water. This will take 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the rice.
Step 7: Remove the lid and with the ladle, gently, fluff up the rice. Check that the veggies are cooked through (pierce them with a knife/spoon to check).
The mark of a well-made pulao is that every grain of rice should be cooked perfectly and still retain its shape.
Step 8: Remove from heat, cover, and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Notes and tips
Making pulav rice may sound daunting, but trust me, it is not complicated at all! Just follow the steps and these tips /notes and you will be on your way to pulao perfection!
📌 Always rinse the basmati in cold (tap) water at least twice (to remove the starchiness) and then soak. Soaking the rice will speed up the cooking process and rinsing the rice will ensure that the cooked rice is not mushy and sticky.
📌Do not soak the rice for more than 20 minutes. Soaking for a longer time will cause the rice grains to break while cooking.
📌 Garnishes (optional): To add more flavor and color, garnish the finished dish with all or any of these: finely chopped coriander leaves; fresh mint leaves; a teaspoon of garam masala powder.
📌 You might be wondering about the role of lime juice in this recipe. Adding a dash of lime juice A) uplifts the flavor of the entire dish and B) keeps the rice grains bright white in color.
📌The ratio of water to Basmati, as a thumb rule, is 1: 1 and ½ i.e. for 1 cup of Basmati, you need to add 1 and ½ cups of water (or stock). In this proportion, the rice will soak up all the water and cook through without becoming mushy. Having said that, I recommend that you keep another ¼ cup of water (or stock) handy, just in case you might need to add more.
📌 Always use hot water/stock. This is important. Adding cold or (tap) water will bring down the overall temperature and slow down the cooking process.
📌 Toasting the rice and veggies in ghee (or oil) is an important step for perfectly cooked rice. The rice grains, thus coated will cook without becoming mushy.
Have any questions? Feel free to pop them in the comments box below. I will be happy to answer them - Padma
Vegetables: I keep it simple. Just three vegetables - potatoes, green beans, and carrots. The idea is to choose vegetables that can hold their shape well. Other vegetables that will work well for the recipe: are broccoli, cauliflower, and green peas. The veggies that will not work for this recipe are tomatoes and spinach.
- Potatoes with sweet potatoes.
- White Basmati with brown Basmati (you will need to add ¼ cup more water than what I have mentioned here and soak for 10 minutes more).
- Make it vegan: Use any oil of your choice - coconut oil will work superbly well!
- Basmati or any other rice? This dish is traditionally made with long grain rice. If you do not have Basmati handy, use any other type of rice that you wish. Just make sure it is not the type that becomes mushy.
On most occasions, I love having this dish warm and on its own. However, I also love having it in these combinations:
- On an "I am rushed off my feet" kind of day, I pair it with this punchy and zingy 5 minutes, cilantro mint chutney or with this speedy cucumber raita.
- On the days when I have a bit more time on hand to make a sumptuous meal, I like to have it with this nutritious green moong dal and tomato raitha, and this spiced onions salad for that extra hit of spice!
How are you planning to serve this dish? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. - Padma
Storing and making ahead
This recipe can be made ahead and will stay good for 2-3 days - in the fridge, that is.
Make sure the dish is completely cool before storing it. Store it in a glass container with a lid.
This dish is perfect for making ahead. The spices get time to mingle with each other and the dish tastes even more incredible!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Pulao is a one-pot dish made with rice, vegetables, and protein which are cooked with mild spices to give a creamy, rich taste.
Biryani and Pulao are quite different from each other.
1. In biryani, the rice is cooked separately and then add to the spices. While in pulao, the rice is cooked along with the vegetables and spices.
2. Pulao is a mild dish with simple spices used mainly for aroma. Biryani, on the other hand, is spicy and requires many spices to get the perfect taste.
Since pulao is a mild dish, it goes well with almost any side dish! Most commonly a spicy gravy dish called Salan is served with pulao. Raita is another common side dish.
If you have made this one-pot, vegetable pulao recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and/ or comment below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you. xx Padma
Super Easy and Fragrant Vegetable Pulao
- 1 Dutch oven (or any wide, heavy bottomed deep pan with lid)
- 1 ladle
- 1 mortar and pestle
- 1 kettle or saucepan (for heating water)
Rice and veggies
- 1 cup basmati rice (200 grams, approximately)
- 3 medium sized carrots (180 grams, approximately)
- 15 green beans (70 grams, approximately)
- 2 medium sized potatoes (150 grams, approximately)
- 1 and ½ cups hot water
- 1 black cardamom
- 4 green cardamoms
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 15-20 black peppercorns
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 5-6 cloves
- 1 tablespoon cashewnuts (10-12 of them)
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
Soak the rice
- To begin with, wash the basmati in water 2-3 times or until the water runs clear. Soak in (tap) water for 20 minutes.1 cup basmati rice
Prep the veggies
- While the rice is soaking, wash and chop the carrots and potatoes into bite-sized cubes and the green beans into 1-inch pieces. There is no need to peel the carrots and potatoes.3 medium sized carrots, 15 green beans, 2 medium sized potatoes
- Crush the ginger and peppercorns to a coarse paste. Keep aside.1 inch piece fresh ginger, 15-20 black peppercorns
- Measure the other spices.1 black cardamom, 4 green cardamoms, 1 inch piece cinnamon, 1 bay leaf, 5-6 cloves
- Keep the rest of the ingredients measured and ready. Break the cashew nuts into 2-3 pieces.1 and ½ cups hot water, 1 tablespoon cashewnuts, 1 teaspoon dried mint, 3 tablespoons ghee, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons salt
Let's make the pulao
- Place a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat. Add the ghee.3 tablespoons ghee
- When the ghee is warm, add the whole garam masala spices.1 black cardamom, 4 green cardamoms, 1 inch piece cinnamon, 1 bay leaf, 5-6 cloves
- In a few seconds, the spices will begin to sizzle. Now add in the broken cashew nuts and fry for a few seconds.1 tablespoon cashewnuts
- Add the crushed ginger and black pepper. Fry for a few seconds.1 inch piece fresh ginger, 15-20 black peppercorns
- Add the chopped veggies and rice. Mix, gently, to coat the grains of rice with ghee.3 medium sized carrots, 15 green beans, 2 medium sized potatoes
- Add the hot water, dried mint, salt, and lime juice. Stir. Make sure that all the rice and veggies are submerged in water. Bring to boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook till the rice and veggies are cooked through. This will take 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the rice.1 and ½ cups hot water, 1 teaspoon dried mint, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Remove the lid and with the ladle, gently, fluff up the rice.The mark of a well-made pulao is that every grain of rice should be cooked perfectly and still retain its shape.
- Check that the veggies are cooked through (pierce them with a knife/spoon to check).
- Remove from heat, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with side of your choice.
- More vegetables? Sure! Cauliflower, broccoli, and green peas will work well in this recipe. Bear in mind to include only vegetables that can hold their shape through the cooking process.
- Want to make it vegan? Traditionally this recipe is meant to be rich and therefore made with ghee. To make it vegan, just replace the ghee with the oil of your choice.
- Soaking and cooking basmati rice: Rinse the rice in cold water at least twice. This will remove the starchiness of the rice. Do not soak the rice for more than 20 minutes. Soaking it for too long will cook the rice grains quicker than the vegetables and the rice will end up being mushy.
- Do not have basmati rice? No problem! Use any other type of rice that you have. You might also have to adjust the quantity of water you use.
- Water or stock?: I like the recipe simple with just water. You can add vegetable stock instead of water. Be it the water or stock that you are using, make sure that it is hot. Adding cold water/stock will slow down the cooking process.
- Other garnishes that will work well: are finely chopped coriander leaves; mint leaves; ground garam masala.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.