this recipe of veg pulao or veg pilaf is asian inspired. long ago i remember visiting a fine dining chinese restaurant in bombay. this restaurant served authentic chinese cuisine and not the indo chinese fare.
they had served an excellent veg rice. from the taste i could make out, that the rice was not fried rice. the rice was steamed with veggies and had this faint flavor of star anise. i did try making a simple steamed rice without veggies with star anise and it was so good….. that whenever i make a chinese sauce based dish, i always end up making this version of rice and not the chinese fried rice.
recently i came across a similar recipe with veggies in nita mehta’s biryanis and pulaos cookbook (US | India). i had to try this recipe and it was awesome. i have made some changes in the proportions and added a few ingredients in this rice recipe.
this asian style veg pulao goes very well with any indo chinese sauce based dish like veg manchurian, veg balls in hot garlic sauce, cauliflower manchurian, tofu or paneer manchurian or even chilli paneer. its also good, as it is with some spicy black bean sauce or schezwan sauce.
this recipe is also good for kids as its neither spicy nor hot. you can also add some blanched green peas to the recipe. choice of veggies like baby corn, french beans, peas, corn kernels, bell peppers can be added to the rice.
asian style veg pilaf recipe below:
- 1.5 cups basmatic rice or long grained rice - soaked for 30 minutes
- 2.25 cups water or veg stock
- 2 spring onions or scallions, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups small broccoli or cauliflower florets (gobi) - blanched in salted water
- ½ cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 teaspoon chopped celery
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon black pepper powder (kali mirch powder)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or as required
- 2 star anise (chakriphool)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
- 1 teaspoon julienned ginger (adrak)
- salt as required
- 8 to 10 fried or roasted whole cashews (kaju) OR ¼ cup shelled peanuts (moongphali) fried or roasted
- heat oil in a deep pot or pan. add the cinnamon and star anise.
- fry till they become fragrant and release their aroma in the oil.
- now add the whites of the spring onions and fry till they are light golden.
- add the ginger and fry for 30 seconds.
- add the carrots and broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- sprinkle the black pepper powder and salt.
- add the soy sauce, celery and stir for a minute.
- now add the soaked and drained rice and stir for 2-3 minutes.
- add water or veg stock and stir again.
- check the seasoning and add salt or pepper or soy sauce if required.
- cover with a tight lid and cook the rice till they are cooked with separate grains.
- check the rice in between whilst cooking. if the water dries up then add a few tbsp of water.
- don't stir as it will break the rice grains.
- once done, top the fried/roasted cashews or peanuts on the rice and serve veg pulao hot.
- you can also garnish the pulao with roasted cashews or peanuts along with spring onion greens and serve.