This is an Indian veg pulao recipe that gets ready in under 30 minutes in a pressure cooker. Packed with colorful vegetables, basmati rice, and the aroma of whole spices, vegetable pulao is a perfect one-pot meal for the family. Be sure to watch the video!
What is Veg Pulao?
The word ‘pulao’ has its roots in Pilaf – a flavorsome one-pot rice dish popular from Spain to the Middle East to across the Mediterranean Sea.
In the Indian subcontinent, pulao is one of the most popular rice dishes. There are a variety of pulao recipes (veg and non-veg) followed across the country like chicken pulao, mushroom pulao, chana pulao, and many more.
The veg pulao is the short name for vegetable pulao. A truly Indian-style vegetarian pilaf of basmati rice, colorful vegetables, onion, tomato, and spices.
Difference between Biryani and Pulao
Biryani is prepared by following a sophisticated draining and layering method whereas pulao is an easy-to-make-one-pot dish for everyday meals cooked by following an absorption method. Cooking pulao is a much simpler process than biryani. However, both are made with rice, spices, and an assortment of meat/vegetables.
Why VEG PULAO is so popular
easy to customize
one pot family meal
wholesome and fulfilling
vegetarian and gluten-free
Rice: Use long-grain, less starchy, white rice like basmati for making pulao.
Vegetables: You can add a variety of vegetables to a pulao. I like green peas, carrots, beans, potatoes, and cauliflower in my pulao. If you are using frozen green peas or mixed vegetables, thaw them before adding them to the pulao.
Whole Spices: Bay Leaf, Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon, Cumin Seeds
Special Ingredients: Fresh Mint Leaves, Green Chili, and Garam Masala add great flavor to the pulao.
Cooking Fat: Ghee (clarified butter) gives a lot of flavor to the pulao. For a vegan veg pulao, you can use coconut oil or any other light vegetable oil.
Other Ingredients: Salt, Red Chili Powder, Ginger Garlic Paste
Watch Veg Pulao Video
The veg pulao tastes best with a chilled, refreshing green boondi raita, kachumber salad, papadum, sliced onion, and a dollop of ghee on top. If you are not too keen on serving raita with pulao it tastes good with plain curd or masala curd as well.
You can store the leftover pulao in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days. It reheats well in a microwave.
My Tried & True Tips
Long Grain Rice: In my opinion, long grain basmati rice is the best choice for making Indian pulao. You can substitute it with other aromatic, less starchy, medium to long grain rice.
Rice To Water Ratio: 1 ¼ cup of water to 1 cup of basmati rice. This ratio of rice to water always gives me fluffy, non-sticky veg pulao in a pressure cooker.
Soak & Roast: Soaking rice for 20 – 30 minutes really helps each grain of the rice to fluff up while cooking. Roasting the soaked rice while cooking the veg pulao gives a lot of flavor to the dish.
DO NOT COOK for too long. In an instant pot, the vegetable pulao takes only 5 minutes. Whereas on a stovetop pressure cooker 2 whistles over medium heat are enough. The more you cook rice in a pressure cooker more sticky it will become.
FAQ Related To Veg Pulao
Yes, you can make vegetable pulao with any type of white/red/brown rice for making pulao. But for an authentic taste and texture, I would highly recommend using long grain basmati rice.
If you add water more than required to the pulao then it turns sticky and not fluffy. Also, pressure cooking for too long often results in mushy rice.
Yes, you can. I like the crunch of cashews in my pulao.
More Indian Pulao Recipes
If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment and a rating. This helps us grow and reach other food lovers like you.
Pressure Cooker Veg Pulao Recipe
- Instant Pot
- 1 Cup basmati rice or long grain rice
- ¼ Cup ghee
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 1 cinnamon stick (dal chini)
- 1 star anise (phool chakri)
- 4 green cardamom (elaichi)
- 4 cloves (laung)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- ¼ Cup cashews (kaju)
- 1 Cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (see recipe)
- ⅓ Cup tomato, chopped
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ Cup potato, diced
- ¼ Cup green peas (fresh or frozen) (see recipe)
- ¼ Cup carrot, diced
- ¼ Cup green beans, diced
- 1 ¼ Cup water
- ¼ Cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 green chili, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (see recipe)
- Rinse basmati rice in water. Soak in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes.
- Collect the soaked rice water in a bowl. Transfer the soaked rice to a colander.
- Set the SAUTE mode of the instant pot for 20 minutes. Add ghee to the inner pot.
- Once the timer is set and the ghee is hot, add whole spices including cumin seeds. Saute for 10 – 20 seconds to release their aroma.
- Add cashews, and saute them as well for 20 seconds.
- Add sliced onion. Fry the onion till they become caramelized and golden. This takes 5 minutes. Keep stirring at regular intervals otherwise, they will burn.
- Add ginger garlic paste, tomato, salt, and red chili powder. Saute them for 3 – 4 minutes or till tomatoes break down. If the masala is sticking to the inner pot add 1 – 2 tablespoons of water while sauteeing.
- Now add soaked rice, vegetables, and saute them till the timer ends. This step helps in building a layer of flavor.
- Add water, mint leaves, green chili, garam masala, and mix one last time. Seal the lid of the instant pot. Set the steam valve to the SEALING position. PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes. Let the steam release naturally after the cooking time is over.
- Serve vegetable pulao hot with ghee, salad, and papadum.
- Use long-grain, less starchy, white rice like basmati for making pulao.
- For a vegan pulao, use coconut oil or groundnut oil instead of ghee.
- Instead of garam masala, you can add Biryani Masala as well. It gives a deliciously rich flavor to the pulao.
- 1 ¼ cup of water to 1 cup of basmati rice. This ratio of rice to water always gives me fluffy, non-sticky veg pulao in a pressure cooker.
- In a traditional stovetop pressure cooker, this veg pulao requires 2 whistles over medium heat.