Vegetable Pulao | Perfect non-sticky Veg Pulao recipe

Pulao or Pulav, is the most popular rice dish after biryani. Vegetable Pulao is a flavorful one-pot dish that is ideal when one does not want to cook an elaborate meal. The best part of this delicious veg pulao dish is, that you can serve it with or without any sides. This can be made for lunch boxes too, for adults as well as kids (less spicy).

The secret for non-sticky rice.

vegetable pulao

What is Vegetable Pulao?

Pulao is a one-pot dish made with long grain rice, vegetables, spices, and herbs. It is a simple vegetable rice recipe.

While spices add strong flavor and herbs add mild flavor. Vegetable Pulao is a combination of all the ingredients that make this dish special which is commonly made on Sundays, parties, and special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, happy events). This dish pairs perfectly with any raita, curry, or mirchi ka salan ( a specialty of the South).

Vegetable Pulao is a nutritious and wholesome dish because it has lots of vegetables. The option for vegetables is potato, beans, carrot, beetroot, corn, cauliflower, green peas, mushrooms, capsicum, and broccoli.

Sometimes I add soya chunks or soya granules in vegetable pulao. Soak them in hot water for 10-15 mins. Squeeze them and add after sauteeing the vegetables.

There are many different recipes for pulao. After trying different recipes, I have come up with a simple recipe that I follow every time. When the dish is ready, it’s fragrant, it tastes delicious, the rice grains are non-sticky and not mushy.

Biyani vs Pulao

Similarities between the two are the ingredients basmati rice, vegetables, spices, and herbs but the cooking process is completely different.

Pulao is an easy cooking style wherein the spices and vegetables are sauteed in oil, next rice is added and cooked together in a pre-set quantity of water.

Whereas, Biryani is a complex and time-taking process dish. The vegetables are prepared separately along with spices and basmati rice is par-boiled separately. The next step is to arrange them in layers in a big pot or handi and cook on a low flame which is called “dum”.

Ingredients to make Vegetable Pulao delicious and fragrant

Rice: The taste of Pulao depends on the quality of rice. Basmati rice which is a variety of long-grain rice is best to make Pulao. This rice has a slightly sweeter taste and is aromatic compared to normal rice.

My suggestion is to select basmati rice which is aged for one or two years for best results. Preference of basmati rice brand for pulao:
— Dawaat Biryani basmati rice
— India Gate classic
— Unity biryani or basmati rice

Spices: The secret of aromatic Veg Pulao lies in using whole garam masala spices. Ensure to use good quality spices. Alternate to whole spices is, you can use Everest brand Shahi Biryani masala.

Herbs: Apart from spices, do not skip mint or pudina leaves and coriander leaves. These add a distinct aroma to the pulao.

Rice: Water ratio for perfect non-sticky Vegetable Pulao

For a perfect pulao, water quantity matters. The rice grains have to cook perfectly without getting or turning mushy.

They should retain their length and shape, grains should not break and are separate from each other. Also, the pulao should not have moisture after its cooked.

This recipe has a few tips and suggestions for al dente rice and separate rice grains.

Different cooking methods for Vegetable Pulao

Pressure cooker: One of the easiest and quickest methods to make vegetable pulao is in a pressure cooker. As a result, it saves time as well as fuel. While making veg pulao in a pressure cooker is easy, it can be tricky.

The size of the pressure cooker, the quality of rice, and the amount of water added can yield a very good pulao or sticky, mushy, lumpy pulao, or even a burnt undercooked pulao. So make pulao in a pressure cooker with a particular brand of aged basmati rice which stays separate even after pressure cooking.

Pot or Pan or Handi: While this cooking method takes more time than the cooker, the taste is better. The recipe is mentioned below.

veg pulao recipe

Pre-preparation for Veg Pulao

Rinse the rice: This is a mandatory step. Rinse the rice at least 2-3 times so that this process reduces the starch from the rice grains. Skipping this step will lead to mushy and sticky veg pulao because of the starch in the rice.

Rinsing the rice multiple times will not wash away the aroma. It is a part of basmati rice and starch is on the surface of rice grains.

Soak the rice: I have tried both the process, soaking and without soaking. While the rice gets fully cooked in both processes, the difference is seen in the length of rice grains.

Soak rice for at least 30 minutes and the water quantity should be at least 2 inches above the rice. This helps the rice grains absorb some water and expand in length, about 3/4-inch.

Side dish for Pulao

This Vegetable Pulao does not need a side dish. However, recommendations are;

Raita: It’s a simple side dish made with curd, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander leaves, and green chilies. Whisk the curd till smooth, dilute it with water, and mix the other ingredients.

Gravy: Any vegetable gravy dish made with onion, tomato, spices, and cashew paste. For example, Matar Paneer or Veg Kholapuri.

Korma or Kurma: A gravy dish made with onion, tomato, spices, and coconut paste or milk.

Salad: Sliced or pickled onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, beetroot, and lemon.

More Rice Recipes to try

Bagara Rice

Coriander rice

Plain Basmati rice

Jeera rice

Schezwan Fried rice veg

If you’ve tried this Vegetable Pulao recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

To see more variations from my kitchen, you can also follow me on Instagram.

Recipe Card

Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao recipe

Author: Santosh Allada
Vegetable Pulao is an Indian Rice dish made with vegetables, spices, herbs, curd and good quality long grain basmati rice.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice (washed and soaked for 30mins)
  • 3 tbspns Oil or Ghee (preferrably ghee)
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 tbspn Ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup Cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 2 medium Potatoes (cut into 8)
  • 1 medium Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup Carrots (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup French beans (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Green Peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 tspn Jeera
  • 4-6 Cashews
  • 2 each Cloves, Cinnamon sticks, Cardamom, Bay leaf
  • 1 each Star Anise, Mace, Stone Flower/Patthar Ke Phool
  • 1-2 Green chillies (roughly chopped or slit into half)
  • 1/4 tspn Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tspn Red chilly powder
  • 2 tbspn Curd (whisk till smooth)
  • 1 sprig Pudina/Mint leaves
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat oil or ghee in a kadai. When hot, add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, bay leaf and cashews. Let them crackle till aromatic.
  • Add sliced onion and fry till they turn light brown in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes away. Next add green chilli and vegetables. Cook for a minute.
  • Turn the flame to low and add the curd, give a good mix. Turn the flame to medium and cook till oil separates.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, mint leaves and salt. Saute for minute or two. Turn the flame to high and add 3 cups water. Let it come to a boil. Taste the water and make sure it's salty. This is the only stage where rice absrobs the salt.
    Add turmeric powder
  • Drain the rice, add to the boiling water and gently mix.
  • Let the water boil again. Continue to cook till water evaporates and the water level is equal to rice.
  • Turn the flame to low, cover the kadai and cook untill all the water is absorbed. This should take 10-15mins. For me, it takes exactly 15mins.
  • When the pulao is ready, you can sense the aroma. Turn off the flame and let it rest for atleast 10mins.
  • Remove the lid and check if the water is completely absorbed.
  • With the help of a spatula, gently mix and serve veg pulao hot. warm.


Use basmati rice which is aged for 1-2 years. Vegetable pulao not only looks good but tastes better too. 
Don’t miss stone flower or dagad phool in the whole garam masalas, these two make the pulao flavorful. For any reason, if whole garam masalas are not available, you can add good brand garam masala powder.
For a change in flavor, any one of the readymade spice powders such as shahi biryani masala, chicken masala, meat masala, pav bhaji masala, chole masala can be added. Quantity should be less, else it can make the pulao taste bitter.
Vegetable quantity can be altered as per liking. To make it healthier, beetroot can be added too. 

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