by: Sowmya Sundararajan

I realized that I have no rice recipes in my space. So finally I decided to go for this Vegetable Pulao recipe. I had prepared this quite sometime back and had not noticed it until today. Pulao always remains our Family's favorite dish and my mother would religiously make it for us during all the weekends. Amma is an expert in Pulao making and I still crave for Mom made Pulao. My Parents, Brother and myself always looked forward to the Pulao weekends and we enjoyed eating it with lots of Onion and Cucumber Raitha . Amma fondly remembers Mumtaaz Aunty ( Our neighbor in Hyderabad) who came to her aid when her first Pulao making session as a new bride became a disaster. She learnt the Pulao/ Biriyani making basics from Mumtaaz Aunty and follows her tips till date. This spicy Pulao recipe has evolved over years and has now become a standardized recipe back home. I implement few tricks that I learnt from my Professors and also from couple of Chefs whom I could interact during my College Internship and Training programs. This Pulao has lots of Vegetables and I am sure you ll feel full after two good servings. Besides this, you can also prepare the recipe quite quickly as I have not adopted the open pan cooking method for rice. Read on for the recipe. Notes Basmathi rice does not take a long time to cook. So ensure that you switch off the pressure cooker on the go of the second whistle and place the cooker on a cool surface for it to release. Remember that the hot burner will continue to cook the rice and may turn it mushy. Always choose a good brand of Basmathi rice for Pulao preparation. There are numerous brands available in the market. I always prefer the vaccum packed brands that has greater flavour retention as opposed to the loosely available ones. Pulao is best when eaten piping hot in a relaxed manner. So, I suggest the best way to enjoy this rice delicacy is by preparing it on a weekend Adding Vanaspathi will enhance the taste of Pulao and will give you a product similar to the ones you get in restaurants. You can anyway skip it if you have a principle not to use it. The Pulao tastes very good even without it. The fresh spice paste is an absolute taste enhancer to your Pulao. So don t skip this step. Just ensure to adjust the number of chillies according to your family's preference. Omit the red chilli powder if you feel it is too spicy. You can also serve Pulao with some Tomato sauce, Roasted Pappad or Potato Chips in addition to the Raita.


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serves: 4


2 cups of Basmathi rice or any long grained rice ( refer notes for cooking tips)


3 big Onions julienned

2 big Carrots julienned

10 Beans julienned

1 big Green Pepper julienned

1 small cup of fresh shelled green peas / frozen ( refer notes for cooking tips)


Grind to a coarse paste:

A fistful of shallots, peeled and cleaned ( 8 nos roughly)

4 cloves to 5 of garlic

1 inch piece ginger

leaves A fistful of fresh mint

4 to 5 Green chillies ( adjust as per requirement)


3 cloves to 4

1/4 tsp Fennel seeds

2 Star Aniseed

1 tsp Black cumin seeds

1 inch stick Cinnamon

2 to 4 Green cardamom

leaf 1+1 Bay

4 in Few saffron strands soaked to 5 tbsp of milk


1/2 tsp to 1 Garam Masala powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder ( optional)

2 tbsp Ghee

1 tsp Vanaspathi

2 tsp + 2 tsp of Oil

Salt to taste

1 tsp and 1/2 Sugar


A fistful of cashew nuts

A few raisins

Cilantro/ Coriander for garnishing

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 597

  • Total Fat: 10 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 4.4 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.4 mg
  • Sodium: 141.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 114.9 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 7.5 g
  •     Sugars: 14 g
  • Protein: 13.4 g

how is this calculated?

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2.  Soak Basmathi rice for just 10 mins. Add 3 cups of water ( ie 1.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice), salt, 2 cardamoms, 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves and 2 tsp of oil to the rice and water mixture and pressure cook the rice in medium flame until two whistles. Switch off the flame. Once released, spread the cooked rice on a tray or a plate and gently spread it to cool.

3.  The best practice for Pulao or Biriyani preparation is the open pan method of cooking where the rice is cooked along with whole spices, salt and water in a colander. This method yields long separate grains. Since this demands more time, I chose the short cut method.

4.  Soak few strands of Saffron in 4 to 5 tbsp of milk and et aside.

5.  Heat 2 tsp Oil +2 tbsp Ghee + 1 tsp of Vanaspathi in a Kadai or Wok.

6.  Fry the cashewnuts and raisins first . Remove and set them aside to be added later.

7.  Add all the whole spices mentioned under the whole spices list and fry until fragrant.

8.  Next add the Onions and saute until it turns golden.

9.  Add the freshly ground spice paste and continue to saute until the raw flavor leaves and oil starts leaving the sides.

10.  Your home will simply smell good minutes after this step with the dispersed aroma and you ll have people next door thinking wants cooking?!! :)

11.  Now throw in the Carrots and Beans and saute well for few minutes.

12.  Add just the required salt for Vegetables and continue cooking. Remember, we have already added salt to rice.

13.  Now add sugar and all the spice powders except garam masala. Add the green peppers and green peas and continue to saute. The vegetables should be cooked but should still retain the shape and look firm.

14.  When done, add garam masala powder and saute for 2 mins in high flame.

15.  Simmer the flame and start adding the Basmathi rice in small batches and mix thoroughly until the rice and vegetables are mixed well.

16.  Take care not to be too harsh while doing this. Else the rice granules will break and the outcome of Pulao will be affected and we don t want that to happen. Check for salt and spice now and add if anything is required.

17.  Finally add the soaked Saffron + Milk mixture into the Pulao and mix well once more.

18.  Close the Kadai with a lid and cook for few more minutes on simmered flame.

19.  Switch off and garnish with chopped coriander leaves, cashew nuts and raisins.

20.  Serve hot with Onion , Cucumber or Mixed Vegetable Raita.

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