Vegetable Pulao (Veg Pulav) is a spicy rice dish prepared by cooking rice with various vegetables and spices. It is a comfort one-pot meal when you don't have time or modd for elaborate cooking. It can be cooked in both a pressure cooker or kadhai, I use a pressure cooker when I have lesser time to cook. Pair this mildly flavored aromatic veg pulao with raita , green chutney , pickle and roasted papad and you don’t need anything else. Although I prefer to eat it as-is without losing its original taste and flavour.
- Rice - Basmati (Long grained) 1cup
- Onions ( Pyaaz / Kanda ) - 1 medium (finely sliced)
- Green Peas - 1/2 cup
- Carrots - 1/2 cup (fine chopped)
- Cauliflower - 1/2 cup (cut into small florets)
- Potatoes ( Aloo / Batata ) - 1 medium (thinly sliced)
- Black Cardamom ( Badi Elaichi ) - 1
- Bayleaf ( Tejpatta ) - 1
- Cloves ( Laung ) - 2
- Whole Black Peppercorns - 4-5
- Cinnamon ( Dalchini ) - 1 inch stick
- Cumin Seeds ( Jeera ) - 1/4 tsp
- Red chilli powder ( Lal Mirch ) - 1/2 tsp
- Garam Masala Powder - 1/4 tsp
- Salt - To taste
- Ghee - 1-2 tbsp
- Wash rice and soak it in water for 20-30 minutes. Keep aside until needed.
- Heat ghee in a pressure cooker (2-liter capacity, stainless steel cooker) / kadhai on low flame.
- Add black cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add the jeera seeds and crackle them.
- Add onion and sauté until it turns light brown (for approx. 4-5 minutes).
- Add the washed green peas, chopped carrots and cauliflower florets. Sauté for 2-3 m inutes.
- Add the sliced potatoes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes till all the vegetables are well coated with ghee and slightly cooked.
- Add water (2 cups if cooking in pressure cooker and 3 cups if using a kadhai), salt, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and let it come to a boil.
- Drain the water from the rice and add to the cooker / kadhai. Stir gently and close the lid.
- If using a pressure cooker, cook over medium flame for 2 whistles. When 1st whistle is completed, reduce the flame to low and cook until another whistle. Turn off flame.
- If cooking in a kadhai, keep on medium flame and check after ~5 minutes, if most of the water has reduced down, reduce the flame to low. Keep checking at regular intervals and turn off the flame once all the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked.
- Let it cool at room temperature until pressure inside cooker comes down naturally. If using a kadhai, let it rest and absorb the flavours well for 5-10 minutes.
- Open the lid carefully and fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer it to a serving bowl and garnish with garam masala and a few drops of ghee (optional). Serve with raita , green chutney , pickle or roasted papad.
Tips and Variations:
- When using pressure cooker, rice to water ratio should be 1:2, if kadhai then the ratio should be 1:3.
- You can also add caramelized onions for garnishing.
- Cooking rice can be tricky and the texture needs to be right. The rice grains have to be separate & yet well cooked in a pulao or biryani. I prefer the rice to be slightly soft in a pulao and not al dente the way they are served in restaurants.
- The more ghee you put, the more flavourful and aromatic your pulao will be and the rice grains will be better separated.