Restaurant style Veg Pulao | Wedding Function style Veg Pulao
Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Restaurant style Veg Pulao is a fragrant and mildly spiced rice dish. This vegetable pulao is a complete meal in itself and does not need any side dish. But you can pair it with raita or any rich curry of your choice.
This detailed step-by-step recipe post will teach you how to make the perfect restaurant style veg pulao at home with basic pantry ingredients.
There are different variations in making vegetable pulao. I already shared a spicy veg pulao. Today I’m sharing a simple and easy veg pulao recipe that tastes super delicious and is very aromatic.
I make this pulao whenever we have guests home, party, or for special occasions, and it’s a crowd-pleaser. Also for lunch or dinner, when the stomach wants to devour something light, filling, and delicious.
About Restaurant style Veg Pulao Recipe
Restaurant style Veg Pulao recipe is a super simple rice dish made with basmati rice, whole spices, aromatics, and a medley of vegetables.
Traditionally, in a restaurant, this rice dish is made by tossing cooked basmati rice in the rest of the ingredients as it is convenient when an order is placed. Whereas, at weddings and functions, it is cooked in a big cooking vessel.
The beauty of this white veg pulao recipe is that there is no grinding or needs precise cutting skills. This makes the recipe beginner and bachelor friendly.
In India, there are myriad ways to cook rice, based on the region and rice variety. There is no right or wrong method, but rather a preferred one that can be using a pressure cooker, Instant pot, or rice cooker.
In India, mostly pulao is made in a pressure cooker. During my early cooking journey, I struggled to cook pulao perfectly in the pressure cooker. With different brands sometimes it used to burn at the bottom or turn mushy.
Since the time I got the perfect basmati rice texture, my most preferred one is cooking in a thick-bottomed vessel on the stovetop.
One of the tricks for non-sticky and fluffy rice grains is the rice-to-water ratio. I follow a 1:2 rice-to-water ratio irrespective of the basmati rice brand. You may feel that the water quantity is more, but I follow the dum cooking process.
If you have read my previous rice recipes, you will notice I make any kind of rice variety by following this method. Each and every rice grain is separate as can be seen in the pics. So, this ratio always gives me the perfect rice texture. Also, do not forget to read the pro tips.
This is my go-to rice dish recipe whenever I do not want to cook an elaborate meal, have a busy work day, my body demands something mildly spiced meal, or want to take a break from cooking.
The dish gets ready within an hour from scratch.
Reasons to try
One pot rice dish
Easy to cook with less preparation
Healthy and comforting
Can be made vegan by skipping ghee
Good option for office goers’ lunchboxes or for a kids’ lunchbox
When the body demands a mildly spiced yet comforting meal
Follow these tips to get consistent results.
Use the best quality and aged basmati rice as this kind of rice cooks up perfectly.
Rinse the rice very well until the water runs clear to get rid of the thin layer of starch which is responsible for sticky and mushy rice once cooked.
Soaking kick starts the absorption process, meaning rice grains absorb the water and reduce the cooking time. I noticed that the soaking helps the rice grains to increase in length.
Follow the 1:2 rice to water ratio. The rice grains will turn out fluffy, and evenly cooked, each grain separate, and not too mushy.
Use good quality whole spices as they are the key ingredients to make fragrant veg pulao.
I personally feel that any pulao is incomplete without mint and coriander leaves. They infuse a lot of aroma into the dish. So, do not skip fresh mint and coriander leaves.
Use a thick bottom and wide pan or kadhai with a tight lid. A wide pan gives the rice grains enough room to elongate. A heavy bottom pan prevents the rice from burning. A tight lid will let the steam do the rest of the work (cooking the rice completely).
Saute the vegetables well as this makes them taste more delicious.
Once the rice is cooked, do not open the lid immediately. There will be moisture inside that will break the rice grains while mixing.
Leaving the pan covered with a lid for 10-15 minutes is crucial. The resting period allows the rice grains to absorb the residual moisture, fluff, and firm up. Do not rest for more than 15 minutes, the rice grains will clump together and form lumps.
Rice: I prefer to use fragrant and aged basmati rice to make pulao. At home, we are loyal to Daawat brand basmati rice as they are 2 years aged and rich in aroma, taste, and the world’s longest grains.
You can replace basmati rice with any medium or short-grain variety that is not sticky. Adjust the rice-to-water ratio and cooking time depending on the quality and type of rice used.
Onion: thinly slice the onions.
Green chilies: I add them for spice.
Mixed Vegetables: potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, beans, and green peas are the common veggies added to a veg pulao.
But, feel free to add vegetables of your choice.
Fat: Oil and clarified butter (ghee). I always prefer to use both to make vegetable pulao.
Aromatics: ginger and garlic.
Herbs: mint and coriander leaves.
Whole Spices: bay leaf, cumin seeds (or shahi jeera), cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, star anise, mace.
Spice powders: garam masala is the only spice powder that gives the dish mild heat.
How to make Restaurant style Veg Pulao
Step 1: Soaking the Rice
1. Measure 1 cup of rice.
2 & 3. Rinse it well 2-3 times, until the water runs clear (as seen in pic below).
4. Add 3 cups of water and soak for 30-60 minutes.
Step 2: Making the Restaurant style Vegetable Pulao
1. Heat 2 tsp oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a heavy bottom pan over medium flame.
2. When hot, add the whole spices
2 medium size bay leaf
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom
1-2 tsp shahi jeera or cumin seeds
1 star anise
2 blades mace
4 whole black peppercorns
3. Add 1 small sliced onion and 2-3 green chilies. Saute over medium flame until the onion turns soft.
4. Add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste and saute until the raw aroma goes away.
You can use homemade or store-bought ginger-garlic paste.
5. Add the chopped vegetables and saute stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes.
If the veggies are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 1-2 tbsp of water and continue to saute.
6. Add salt to taste and mix well.
7. Now add the mint and coriander leaves and saute until the leaves wilt and is aromatic.
8. Add the green peas and saute for 5-10 seconds.
I have used frozen green peas so adding them at this stage. If you are using fresh peas, add them at step 5.
9. Add 2 cups of water and turn the burner flame to high.
10. Let the water come to a rolling boil.
11. Drain water and add the soaked rice. Gently mix well.
Soaked rice grains are delicate, so do not mix vigorously. The rice grains can break.
12. Continue to cook on high flame until the water reduces and the level is almost to the rice grains.
Taste the water, it should taste like sea water. This is the only way for salt to seep in the rice grains. So, add some more salt if the water does not taste salty.
13. Add 1 tsp garam masala and mix well.
If making for kids, you can reduce the quantity to 1/2 or 1/4 tsp.
14. Add 1/2 tbsp ghee and give a gentle mix.
I prefer to add ghee in two stages. Tempering the whole spices in the ghee will release their aroma and flavor better. The fat also acts as a carrier of the flavors. Adding ghee at this stage will enhance the aroma.
15. Once the water is reduced, turn the burner flame to lowest, cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes. Do not open the lid while it is cooking. Meanwhile, you can make raita to go with it.
Sorry, but I cannot mention the specific time as it depends on the thickness of the pan, the quality of the rice, and the intensity of the flame. Turn off the flame and keep the pan covered for 10-15 minutes.
16. Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle from the sides and mix gently.
17. Restaurant style Veg Pulao is ready.
Before serving, you can garnish the pulao with fried onions and fried cashews, almonds, or raisins.
This restaurant style veg pulao can be eaten as such or with a bowl of raita and papad.
You can also pair it with restaurant-style curries, or dals (lentils) as a side dish for an elaborate meal spread. I have already shared a few recipes – salan, paneer butter masala, mixed vegetable kurma, brinjal masala, chana masala, dal tadka, shahi paneer, palak paneer, rajma masala, matar paneer.
You can store this pulao in the fridge for about 2-3 days. Let it cool completely, transfer it to an air-tight container, and refrigerate it.
Before serving, reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave. Sprinkle some water and reheat the pulao.
If you prefer tang in pulao, add 2 tbsps curd.
For protein, you can add paneer pieces or soya chunks or granules (soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes and squeeze them before adding them to the pan).
You can add paste by grinding ginger, garlic, mint leaves, and coriander leaves.
You can replace garam masala with pulao masala, biryani masala, or vegetable maggi cubes to give an umami flavor to the pulao.
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