Capsicum Rice Recipe or Bell Pepper Rice Pilaf (Easy & One Pot)

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If you thought that capsicum or bell pepper could only be used extensively in Chinese or Indo-Chinese cuisines, then here’s an Indian recipe that’s going to change the perception of yours. This is a Capsicum Rice – an easy, quick and delicious one-pot meal made with green bell pepper or capsicum, basmati rice, onions, spices and herbs. Call it Capsicum Pilaf or Bell Pepper Rice, the recipe comes together under 40 minutes, is gluten-free and vegan too.

capsicum rice or bell pepper rice pilaf served on a plate.

About Capsicum Rice Recipe

For those who like Capsicum or Bell Pepper, here’s a fragrant and flavorful Capsicum Rice Pilaf or Pulao made with green bell peppers, rice and some typical North Indian spices. It is mildly spiced and light rice dish.

Thus, is a hit with kids or folks who do not prefer spicy food. It can also be packed in the tiffin box with a side of lentils, curry or chutney.

You just require a stovetop pressure cooker to cook this fragrant and flavor-packed Capsicum Rice. Begin by just sautéing the whole spices and onions in oil. Next, add the capsicum and fresh coriander leaves and sauté them too.

Finally, add the soaked rice, water and season it well. Cover and pressure cook to get a yummy Bell Pepper Rice Pilaf in literally no time. I also add some lemon juice which just enhances the flavors in this one-pot rice-based dish.

The whole spices that I add in this recipe of Capsicum Rice are cumin seeds, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, tej patta and mace. These are the usual spices that are available in any Indian home kitchen, at all times.

Like I mentioned earlier, there are not many ingredients used in this Capsicum Rice recipe. So, this rice pairs nicely with a side of vegetable or paneer curry, lentils or even a simple onion raita.

If you like, you can make this Bell Pepper Rice spicy by adding some ginger-garlic paste, green chilies and red chili powder too. Apart from green bell peppers or capsicum, you can also use red or yellow bell peppers or even a mix of all three to make a colorful Bell Pepper rice.

This recipe of Capsicum Rice Pilaf is versatile enough for you to include more vegetables like carrot, green peas, cauliflower or potatoes. More veggies will not only add more flavor but will also increase the nutritional quotient of the dish.

However, keep in mind that by doing so, this dish will be more like a veg pulao and not just a Bell Pepper Rice. But it still will taste good, be nutritious and filling.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Capsicum Rice

Preparation

1. Rinse 1 cup basmati rice very well in water. Then, soak rice in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Later, drain all the water and keep the soaked rice aside.

rice soaked in water for capsicum rice.

2. While the the rice is soaking, slice 1 medium onion thinly (about ½ cup thinly sliced onions).

Also, slice 2 medium capsicums or green bell peppers (about ¾ to 1 cup sliced capsicum). Keep aside.

sliced capsicum onions on a plate for bell pepper rice.

Sauté Aromatics and Capsicum

3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 2-liter pressure cooker. Keep heat to a low and add the following whole spices:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 small tej patta (or 1 medium to large tej patta)
  • 2 single thin strands of mace

Fry on low heat for some seconds or till the spices crackle and become fragrant.

Note that while I have made the pilaf in a pressure cooker, you can opt to cook it in a pot or pan on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot. Add water as needed when cooking in a pan or in the stovetop.

whole spices added to hot oil in pressure cooker.

4. Add the thinly sliced onions.

thinly sliced onions added in pressure cooker.

5. Mix very well.

spices mixed with onions.

6. Sauté on medium-low heat, stirring often, till the onions become golden or caramelize. Take care not to burn them.

Onions take more time to caramelize. To make them cook faster, add a pinch of salt while caramelizing them.

sautéing onions.

7. Lower the heat and add the sliced capsicum.

sliced capsicum added.

8. Add 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.

chopped coriander leaves added.

9. Stir and mix to combine with the caramelized onions.

ingredients mixed with capsicum for capsicum rice.

10. Sauté on low to medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.

sautéing capsicum mixture.

Make Capsicum Rice

11. Add the soaked rice and salt as required.

soaked rice and salt added in cooker for bell pepper rice.

12. Mix the rice grains gently with the rest of the ingredients. Sauté rice for a minute.

rice grains mixed with capsicum mixture.

13. Pour 1.75 cups water. Also, squeeze in 4 to 5 drops of lemon juice. Stir and mix gently again.

Depending on the quality and age of rice, you can add less or more water. 1.75 cups rice works perfect for me for the aged basmati rice I use.

But some varieties of basmati rice may need less water. Thus, add 1.5 cups to 1.75 cups or 2 cups water as needed.

water added to capsicum rice mixture in pressure cooker.

14. Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and pressure cook on medium to medium-high heat for 2 to 3 whistles. 

When the pressure falls naturally in the cooker, open the lid and gently fluff the Bell Pepper Rice.

I pressure cooked the rice for 3 whistles. Depending on the type of rice, you can add 1.75 to 2 cups water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.

You can also make this pilaf in a pan on the stovetop, in an Instant Pot or an electric cooker. Add water accordingly, if making the Capsicum Pulao in a pan or Instant Pot.

When making the pilaf in a pot, you can add about 2 cups of water or as needed.

cooked capsicum rice or bell pepper rice.

15. Serve Capsicum Rice garnished with some coriander leaves with a side of Vegetable Curry, Dal (Lentils) or Raita. Here, I served it with Mushroom Masala.

bell pepper rice pilaf in a plate served with curry in a bowl.

Expert Tips

  1. Besides green, feel free to add other varieties of bell pepper like red and yellow. You can mix and match the various bell peppers for a colorful Capsicum Rice.
  2. It is preferable to use good quality and aged basmati rice for this recipe.
  3. You can easily make this Capsicum Rice in a pan on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot, adding water as required.
  4. To bring a touch of tang, you can add 1 small-sized tomato.
  5. To make the dish more spiced or spicy, add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, a few green chilies or some red chili powder.
  6. This recipe of Bell Pepper Rice can easily be scaled to make more servings.

More Rice Recipes To Try!

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capsicum rice recipe, capsicum pulao recipe

Capsicum Rice Recipe or Indian Bell Pepper Rice Pilaf

This Capsicum Rice or Bell Pepper Rice is an easy and delicious one pot dish made with green bell pepper or capsicum, basmati rice, onions, spices and herbs. The recipe comes together quickly under 40 minutes and is gluten-free and vegan.
4.75 from 12 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine North Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 2
Units

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice – 200 grams
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 tejpatta small or 1 medium to large tejpatta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 2 single thin, strands of mace
  • ½ cup onions – thinly sliced or 1 medium-sized onion
  • ¾ to 1 cup capsicum – sliced or 2 medium green bell peppers or capsicum – 75 to 80 grams
  • 3 tablespoon coriander leaves – chopped (cilantro)
  • 4 to 5 drops lemon juice – optional
  • 1.75 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Rinse basmati rice very well in water for 3 to 4 times.
  • Then soak rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. Later drain the water and set the rice aside.
  • Meanwhile when the rice is soaking, slice the onions thinly. Also slice the capsicum.

Making capsicum rice

  • Heat in a 2 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Keep heat to a low. Add the whole spices – cumin seeds, green cardamoms, cloves, inch cinnamon, tejpatta, and strands of mace. 
  • Fry for a few seconds till the spices crackle and become fragrant.
  • Next add the sliced onions.
  • Mix very well and sauté stirring often on medium-low heat till the onions become golden.
  • Lower the heat and add the sliced capsicum and chopped coriander leaves.
  • Mix very well and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on low to medium-low heat.
  • Add the soaked rice. Gently stir to combine and sauté rice for a minute.
  • Pour water and season with salt. Also add 3 to 4 drops of lemon juice. Mix again.
  • Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and pressure cook capsicum rice on a medium to medium-high heat for 2 to 3 whistles.
  • When the pressure falls down on its own naturally in the cooker, open the lid and gently fluff the capsicum rice.
  • Serve Capsicum Rice or Bell Pepper Rice hot with an Indian curry or a dal (lentil based dish) or raita.

Notes

  • You can use a mix of the different varieties of bell pepper to make a colorful rice.
  • Instead of basmati rice, you could use any non-sticky variety of long grained rice. Aged basmati rice is always better to make dishes like pilafs. 
  • Depending on the age, variety and quality of rice, add water as needed. 
  • The recipe can be made in a pot on the stovetop, adding about 2 cups of water or as needed. 
  • The recipe can be scaled.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Capsicum Rice Recipe or Indian Bell Pepper Rice Pilaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 506 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Sodium 603mg26%
Potassium 317mg9%
Carbohydrates 83g28%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 277IU6%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 50mg61%
Vitamin E 6mg40%
Vitamin K 8µg8%
Calcium 74mg7%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 22µg6%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 46mg12%
Phosphorus 140mg14%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Capsicum Rice recipe from the blog archives first published in June 2015 has been updated and republished on July 2023.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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4.75 from 12 votes (5 ratings without comment)

44 Comments

  1. Hey I have always been reading ur recipes.. I tried this pulao today but I think I used too much water because it turned out like a khichdi. My hubby just love capsicum in any dish so i tried this today but it doesnt look like pulao 🙁 can u tell me the measurement of water for rice . Does water measurement differ for plain rice and pulao/biryani

    1. sush, depending on the quality of rice, you can easily add 1.5 to 2 cups water for 1 cup of rice which has been pre soaked for 30 minutes. while cooking in a pressure cooker also you can add upto 1.5 to 2 cups water for 1 cup of presoaked rice. for an aldente texture in rice, 1.5 cups water is fine, but if you want the rice to be more on the softer side, then add 1.75 cups rice. usually i add 1.75 cups water for 1 cup of organic basmati rice or even regular basmati rice which has been presoaked for 30 minutes. in biryani and pulao, the rice is cooked well but it should remain separate, whereas in usual cooking of rice, it can be cooked more.