Masala 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 recipe’s step-by-step photos will show you how to make perfect non-sticky veg pulao rice at home.
The recipe I’m sharing today is a homestyle version that is spicy compared to the restaurant’s mildly spiced veg 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.
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, and the rice grains are non-sticky and not mushy.
With this recipe, you will get a masaledar pulao. However, you can adjust the spices to your liking.
Reasons to try
Easy and quick to make.
Need basic pantry ingredients.
Aromatic, delicious, and healthy rice dish.
Perfect to pack for office and school lunch box.
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.
Fat: oil or ghee, or a mix of both for aroma and flavor.
Rice: Water ratio for perfect non-sticky Vegetable Pulao
For a perfect pulao, water quantity matters. The rice grains have to cook perfectly without breaking 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.
If you browse the internet for recipes, you will different ratios for rice and water. I experimented with a few brands and noticed that the rice and water ratio is not the same for all the brands.
After a few trials, I came up with a standard rice-to-water ratio that can be followed for all the brands. However, it’s also the cooking process that gives you non-sticky rice grains.
The ratio I always follow is a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Meaning you need 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.
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.
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 the 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.
How to make Vegetable Pulao
Take basmati rice in a bowl and rinse in water until it runs clear of starch. Next, soak in 4 cups of water for at least 30 mins or up to 60 minutes.
1. Heat oil or ghee in a pan or kadhai. When hot, add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, bay leaf, mace, and star anise. Let them crackle till aromatic.
2. Add sliced onion and green chili. Fry till they turn light brown in color.
3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.
4. Next add turmeric powder and saute for 5 seconds.
5 & 6. Add curd and stir continuously until oil separates.
7. Add mint and coriander leaves. Saute for 5 seconds.
8. Next, add green peas and saute for a few seconds.
9 & 10. Add red chili powder and salt. Mix well.
11 & 12. Add 3 cups of water (use the water in which rice is soaked), mix well and let it come to a vigorous boil.
13 & 14. Add the drained rice and give a good mix.
15. Let the water come to a boil. Taste for salt, the water should taste salty. This is the only stage rice grains will absorb the salt. So, if the water does not taste salty, add some more salt. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, the water level will decrease a bit.
16. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on low flame for 10-15 mins.
17. Turn off the flame and let it rest for 15 minutes.
18. Open the lid and gently mix the rice from the sides.
Vegetable Pulao is ready. Serve hot with plain yogurt, or raita.
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.
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.
This generic mixed veg pulao is amazingly versatile and has so many different variations.
Protein: Paneer. Add after step 15.
Soya chunks, or soya granules. Soak them in hot water for 10-15 mins. Squeeze them and add after sauteeing the vegetables.
Can add substitute curd with tomato or add both.
Spice powder: For a change in flavor, try any one of the readymade spice powders such as shahi biryani masala, chicken masala, meat masala, pav bhaji masala, and chole masala. Quantity should be less, else it can make the pulao taste bitter.
More Rice Recipes to try
If you’ve tried this Masala 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.
Vegetable Pulao recipe
- 1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice (washed and soaked for 30mins)
- 3 cups Water
- 3 tbspns Oil or Ghee (preferrably ghee)
- 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
- 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
- 1 tbsp Coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- Take basmati rice in a bowl and rinse in water until it runs clear of starch. Next, soak in 4 cups of water for at least 30 mins or up to 60 minutes.
- Heat oil or ghee in a pan or kadhai. When hot, add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, bay leaf, mace, and star anise. Let them crackle till aromatic.
- Add sliced onion and green chili. Fry till they turn light brown in color.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.
- Next add turmeric powder and saute for 5 seconds.
- Add curd and stir continuously until oil separates.
- Add mint and coriander leaves. Saute for 5 seconds.
- Next, add green peas and saute for a few seconds
- Add red chili powder and salt. Mix well.
- Add 3 cups of water (use the water in which rice is soaked), mix well and let it come to a vigorous boil.
- Add the drained rice and give a good mix.
- Let the water come to a boil. Taste for salt, the water should taste salty. This is the only stage rice grains will absorb the salt. So, if the water does not taste salty, add some more salt. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, the water level will decrease a bit.
- Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on low flame for 10-15 mins.
- Turn off the flame and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Open the lid and gently mix the rice from the sides.
- Vegetable Pulao is ready. Serve hot with plain yogurt, or raita.