Veg pulao, short for vegetable pulao, is a classic Indian rice dish known for its aromatic flavors and simplicity. It’s a one-pot meal that combines fragrant basmati rice with an assortment of colorful vegetables and a blend of spices. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this veg pulao recipe is easy to follow and sure to delight your taste buds. Let’s dive into the ingredients and steps to create this delicious dish.
Note: Adjust the quantities based on the number of servings you desire.
For the Rice:
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)
- Salt to taste
For the Vegetable Mix:
- 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans, corn, etc.), finely chopped or sliced
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2-3 green chilies, slit (adjust to your spice preference)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional but highly recommended for flavor)
- 1/4 cup cooking oil or ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 green cardamom pods
- 4-5 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon biryani masala (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
1. Preparing the Rice:
a. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming sticky.
b. In a large bowl, soak the rinsed rice in 2 cups of water for about 30 minutes. Drain the soaked rice and set it aside.
c. In a deep-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of ghee over medium heat. Add the drained rice and sauté it gently for a few minutes until it’s lightly toasted. This enhances the aroma and prevents the grains from sticking together.
d. Boil 2 cups of water in a separate pot or kettle. Once it’s boiling, add the hot water to the toasted rice. Season with salt to taste. Stir gently.
e. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until it’s cooked and the water is absorbed. Once done, remove it from heat and set it aside.
2. Preparing the Vegetable Mix:
a. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan or a deep skillet, heat 1/4 cup of cooking oil or ghee over medium heat.
b. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then, add the cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf, and a pinch of asafoetida (hing). Sauté for a minute until they release their aroma.
c. Add the thinly sliced onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
d. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and slit green chilies. Sauté for another couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.
e. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
f. Add the spices: red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, biryani masala (if using), cumin powder, and coriander powder. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
g. Add the finely chopped or sliced mixed vegetables. Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until they are slightly tender but still crisp.
h. Add salt to taste, fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves (if using). Mix everything well.
3. Assembling the Veg Pulao:
a. Once the vegetable mix is ready, add the cooked rice to the pan. Gently mix the rice and the vegetable mixture, ensuring that the spices and vegetables are evenly distributed.
b. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it all simmer together for 5-10 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld, and the rice absorbs the aromatic spices.
c. Remove from heat and let it rest, covered, for a few more minutes before serving.
4. Serving the Veg Pulao:
a. Fluff the pulao with a fork to separate the rice grains.
b. Garnish with additional fresh coriander leaves and mint leaves for a burst of freshness.
c. Veg pulao pairs wonderfully with raita (yogurt sauce), pickle, or a simple cucumber-tomato-onion salad.
d. Enjoy your homemade veg pulao hot as a standalone dish or as a delightful side dish to complement other Indian delicacies.
Tips and Variations:
- You can customize the vegetables in the pulao according to your preference. Common choices include carrots, peas, beans, bell peppers, and corn.
- For added richness, you can substitute some of the cooking oil with ghee.
- Adjust the spiciness to your liking by varying the amount of green chilies and red chili powder.
- Serve veg pulao with a side of yogurt-based raita or a cooling cucumber salad to balance the flavors.
- For extra flavor, you can add a handful of fried cashew nuts or raisins as a garnish.
Veg pulao is a versatile and comforting dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger Indian meal. With its fragrant spices and colorful vegetables, it’s a crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for family dinners, gatherings, or even a special treat for yourself. Give this recipe a try, and savor the delightful flavors of homemade veg pulao.