Tuesday, February 14, 2012

15 Minute Pulao (Veggie Rice Pilaf in the Cooker)

15 Minute Pulao (Veggie Rice Pilaf)
 As I cook it in the pressure cooker, I'm surrounded by an invisible cloud of fragrant spices meshed with basmati rice. I can't wait to sit down for a lunch where the pulao will be a terrific side dish to a spicy chicken mince dish and a dal (Indian version of a soupy lentil gravy used to mix with rice). I also love using nuts in this version of veggie pulao - cashews are my favourite, try them with seedless, non-sweet raisins.


1 cup Basmati Rice (love it for the aroma, you can use any long-grained variety)
1/2 cup Mixed Veggies (chopped carrots, green beans with peas, corn kernels, beans - omit the ones you don't like - I use frozen veggies that don't have a strong aroma - like broccoli - or taste to avoid disturbing the faint basmati fragrance)
2 large Bay Leaves
1 long Green Chilli (slit lengthwise and chopped into long pieces)
1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Garam Masala (can choose to use whole spices - cloves, cardamom pods, a small stick of cinnamon)
A teaspoonful of Clarified Butter (ghee)
1 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
2 tbsp Lemon Juice or 1/4 cup Milk (rice grains stay white)
1 cup Water
2 tbsp Cooking Oil

I cook this in a pressure cooker but that's not a condition to make this dish. You need a good stock pot with a lid that will allow steaming over a low flame. Adjust the water accordingly, I've used the amount of water I need to cook it in a pressure cooker. Note: I avoid using the whistle - really makes the rice grains soft but not mushy.


Heat the cooking oil directly in the pressure cooker (on Medium heat). Add bay leaves, cumin seeds, pepper powder, chillies and garam masala. Fry it in the oil for a few seconds only and then add the veggies. Mix it in the spices for a few seconds just to coat them. Add the rice and immediately add water and lemon juice/milk. Stir in well.

Add the salt and chopped cilantro. At the very end, mix in the clarified butter (just before you cover the pressure cooker with its lid).
Once you cover the pressure cooker, raise the heat on the stove until you see steam escaping from the top. At the point where you can clearly see steam rising from the pressure cooker, reduce the heat to Low and wait for exactly 10 minutes. Don't worry about the steam.
The rice will be done in 10 minutes. Switch it off and wait for a few more minutes until the pressure cooker settles before removing the lid. Be careful - there might be a lot of steam that emerges from the cooker.

The girl who taught me this method of cooking by a pressure cooker had also added a lot of chopped garlic and ginger to the spices. This is not a requirement although it does change the aroma of the rice somewhat.


  1. I passed this one on to Bing. We only eat meat a couple of times a week and this sounds really tasty...

  2. Hi Maria! P and I have toned down our meat intake too. After a wonderful trip to Whole Foods, we got quite a lot of veggies which made yesterday the first meatless Sunday in a long while. Hope you enjoy the rice recipe, try putting in a few cashews if you have them - really increases the flavour.