instant pot pulao

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Instant pot pulao with step by step pics. This is a quick and one-pot method to make mix vegetable pulao in the instant pot. The recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

instant pot veg pulao served in a white bowl on a wooden tray

I make rice-based dishes like Pulao or biryani often at home. After getting the instant pot, I make all the rice recipes in it.

About this instant pot pulao

  1. Spicy: This vegetable pulao is slightly spicy. here the four ingredients which contribute to the spice and heat are Ginger, garlic, green chillies and red chilli powder. apart from these four ingredients, the other whole spices also lend their warm flavors to the dish. This spiciness can be reduced by skipping green chillies and the spice powders.
  2. Herbs: the addition of fresh herbs like coriander and mint leaves also gives a fresh flavor & taste. So this pulav is not very spicy but slightly spicy and has a complex flavor and taste.
  3. Rice: use basmati rice, preferably aged basmati rice for the best results. I soak basmati rice for 30 minutes before cooking. Soaking makes the rice grains cook faster.
  4. The texture of cooked rice: The final pulao has well-cooked rice grains yet separate.

Pulao is one dish which I make almost once or twice a week. Earlier I used to make veg pulao on the stovetop, but now I make it in the IP. If you want to make pulao in a stovetop pressure cooker, then check this Pressure cooker vegetable pulao Recipe.

Serve spicy instant pot pulao with a side veggie salad, kachumber or raita or roasted papad.

How to make instant pot pulao

Preparation

1. First rinse 1.5 cups basmati rice (260 grams) in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the water and keep aside. When the rice is soaking, prep all the veggies and keep them ready. Chop the vegetables in small to medium-sized pieces so that they cook well and are not undercooked.

rice in a pan

Sautéing in instant pot

2. Switch on the IP and press the sauté button for 15 minutes on less mode.

instant pot with sauté button active

3. When the IP signals hot, then add 3 tablespoons oil in the steel insert. Add all the whole spices – 2 small tejpatta or 1 medium to large tej patta (Indian bay leaf), 2 to 3 cloves, 4 to 5 black peppers, 1 small piece of stone flower or kalpasi (optional), ½ inch cinnamon, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom (optional), 1 or 2 single thin strands of mace, 1 star anise (optional), 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional) and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.

Note that you do not need to all the spices. the essential spices needed are Cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, cloves and Indian bay leaf.

spices in instant pot

4. Stirring often fry the spices till they become fragrant and splutter for some seconds. Do not burn them.

fry spices in instant pot

5. Now add ½ cup of thinly sliced onions. Set the mode to normal mode on sauté. Press the sauté button once to get this option.

adding thinly sliced onions in instant pot

6. Mix the onions with the spices and oil. Begin to sauté them.

saute onions in instant pot

7. Stir and saute till the onions start to become golden. You have to stir often so that the onions cook evenly. First, the onions will soften and then become light golden.

saute onions in instant pot

8. Continue to stir and sauté till the onions become golden or are caramelizing.

saute onions in instant pot

9. After the onions have become golden, quickly add 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste, 1 to 2 green chilies (chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (optional).

adding ginger garlic paste and herbs in instant pot

10. Sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

saute ginger garlic paste in instant pot

11. Then add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes – about 1 medium tomato chopped.

chopped tomatoes added to instant pot

12. Sauté tomatoes for one to two minutes stirring often.

saute the tomatoes in instant pot

13. On the IP, press the cancel button and then add all the spice powders – ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika, 1 teaspoon coriander powder and a pinch of asafoetida (optional). For a gluten-free pulao skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.

spice powders added to instant pot

14. Mix the spice powders very well with the onions and tomatoes. The spices will get cooked with the residue heat of the steel insert.

mix the spices in instant pot

15. Now add 3 cups chopped mixed veggies (i used a mix of cauliflower, french beans, potatoes and carrots) and ¼ to ⅓ cup peas. As far as the mixed veggies are concerned, you could add your choice of veggies.

chopped veggies added to instant pot

16. Press the sauté button again and set the time to 3 to 4 minutes on medium mode. Mix the veggies with the spice mixture. Deglaze and stir so well so that the bits and pieces of onions, tomatoes stuck to the pan are removed. The moisture from the vegetables will help in deglazing.

saute the pulao mixture in instant pot

17. Now add the soaked rice.

add soaked rice in instant pot

19. Mix very well yet gently. Sauté the rice for a minute. The oil should coat the rice grains. Deglaze if required while sauteing the rice.

saute pulao for a minute in instant pot

20. Add 2 cups of water. I do not prefer al dente texture in rice, so I add a bit more water while cooking. If you prefer an al dente texture, then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.

water added to instant pot

21. Season with salt and stir again. Check the taste and the water should feel a bit salty.

salt added to instant pot

Pressure cooking

22. Cover the instant pot with its lid and position the valve to sealing position. Press the pressure cook button on high pressure for 5 minutes.

cooking pulao in instant pot

23. Once you hear the beep sound after 5 minutes of pressure cooking, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes give a QPR (quick pressure release). Keep a check of the 10 minutes. If kept even for 2 to 3 minutes longer after the 10 minutes time is over, the rice at the bottom starts getting overcooked.

instant pot pulao

24. Fluff the rice gently with a fork or spoon.

instant pot veg pulao

25. Serve spicy instant pot pulao with onion raita or a side vegetable salad. You can also accompany sliced onion rings, lemon wedges, roasted papad and a mango pickle by the side.

instant pot veg pulao served in a white bowl on a wooden tray
More Instant pot recipes

This recipe is from the archives and has been recently updated on 30 december 2019. 

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spicy pulao recipe, spicy veg pulao recipe

instant pot pulao

4.91 from 10 votes
Easy and delicious spicy instant pot pulao with mix vegetables.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

for rice

  • 1.5 cups basmati rice - 260 grams
  • enough water for soaking rice

vegetables and other ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil - use sunflower oil or any neutral tasting oil. ghee can be substituted with oil.
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onions or 1 medium to large onion, finely sliced
  • cup chopped tomato or 1 medium sized chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon coriander leaves , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves , chopped - optional
  • 2 teaspoons ginger+garlic paste or 1 inch ginger and 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, crushed in mortar-pestle
  • 1 to 2 green chillies , chopped or 1 to 2 serrano peppers
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional
  • 3 cups chopped mixed veggies (i used a mix of cauliflower, french beans, potatoes and carrots)
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup green peas - fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required

whole spices

  • 2 small tejpatta (indian bay leaf) or 1 medium to large tej patta
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 4 to 5 black pepper
  • 1 piece small of stone flower (pathar ke phool or kalpasi or dagad phool) - optional
  • ½ inch cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom - optional
  • 1 or 2 single strands of mace
  • 1 star anise - optional
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds - optional
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

Instructions

preparation

  • Rinse basmati rice in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. 
  • After 30 minutes drain the water and keep aside. When the rice is soaking, chop all the vegetables, herbs and keep them ready.

making instant pot pulao

  • Switch on the ip and press the sauté button for 12 to 15 minutes on less mode. when the ip signals hot, then add 3 tablespoons oil in the steel insert.
  • Then add all the whole spices mentioned in the above list. Fry the spices till they become fragrant and splutter. Do not burn them.
  • Note that you do not need to all the spices. The essential spices needed are Cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and indian bay leaf.
  • Then add thinly sliced onions. set the mode to normal mode on sauté. press the sauté button once to get this option. 
  • Stir and saute till the onions start to become golden. You have to stir often, so that the onions cook evenly.
  • Now add ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilies and chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves (optional).
  • Saute for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté them for 1 to 2 minutes stirring often.
  • Later on the ip, press the cancel button and then add all the spice powders - turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder or cayenne pepper, coriander powder and a pinch of asafoetida (optional). For a gluten-free pulao skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
  • Mix the spices very well with the onions and tomatoes.
  • Now add the chopped mixed veggies and green peas.
  • Press the sauté button again and set the time to 2 to 3 minutes on medium mode. Mix the veggies with the spice mixture. Deglaze and stir so well so that the bits and pieces of onions, tomatoes stuck to the pan are removed. The moisture from the vegetables will help in deglazing.
  • Now add the soaked rice. Mix very well yet gently. sauté the rice for a minute. The oil or ghee should coat the rice grains. If possible deglaze also while sautéing rice.
  • Add 2 cups water. I do not prefer al dente texture in rice, so I add a bit more water while cooking. If you prefer an al dente texture, then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.
  • Season with salt and stir again. Check the taste and the water should feel a bit salty.
  • Cover the instant pot with its lid and position the valve to sealing position. Press the pressure cook button on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Once you hear the beep sound after 5 minutes of pressure cooking, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes give a qpr (quick pressure release). Keep a check of the 10 minutes. If kept even for 2 to 3 minutes longer after the 10 minutes time is over, the rice at the bottom starts getting over cooked.
  • Fluff the rice gently with a fork or spoon.
  • Serve spicy instant pot pulao with onion raita or a side vegetable salad. You can also accompany sliced onion rings, lemon wedges, roasted papad and a mango pickle by the side.

Notes

Tips
  1. Chop the vegetables in small to medium-sized pieces so that they cook well and are not undercooked.
  2. You can use ghee instead of oil.
  3. Skip green chillies (or add less) and skip all the spice powders for a non-spicy pulao. 
  4. While sautéing, you can use both the low and normal mode of the sauté option in the ip. 
  5. Always deglaze after adding vegetables, rice and water. 
  6. You can add your choice of vegetables. 
  7. For an al dente texture in the rice grains, then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.
  8. Mint leaves can be skipped. 
  9. Remove the steel insert from the ip after the pulao is cooked, so that the rice grains do not continue to cook further. 
  10. Do keep a check of the 10 minutes npr (natural pressure release). If kept even for 2 to 3 minutes longer after the 10 minutes time is over, the rice at the bottom starts getting over cooked.
  11. Whole spices which can be skipped are fennel seeds, star anise, black cardamom, stone flower.
  12. Instead of fennel seeds you can also use 1 teaspoon ground fennel powder.
  13. Mint leaves can be skipped. 1 teaspoon of dried mint leaves or ground mint can be added. 
Stovetop cooking in a pan or pot
  1. Follow the all the steps and then add 2.75 to 3 cups water if cooking in a pan or pot. You may add water as required.
  2. Cover and cook till all the water has been absorbed and the rice grains have become fluffy and tender.
  3. Use a thick bottomed deep pan or pot.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
instant pot pulao
Amount Per Serving
Calories 477 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 740mg32%
Potassium 474mg14%
Carbohydrates 82g27%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 7245IU145%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Vitamin E 5mg33%
Vitamin K 7µg7%
Calcium 79mg8%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 58µg15%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 66mg17%
Phosphorus 179mg18%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Dassana Amit

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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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19 Comments

  1. Thank you for all your lovely recipes, I have been following you for a year! If you were to make this recipe with brown basmati rice, how would you change the cook time and water to rice ratio?

    1. welcome emily and thank you. with brown rice, soak brown rice for 2 hours (or for more hours or overnight) as this helps in cooking them faster. moreover, when brown rice is soaked it cooks at about the same time as cooking vegetables, so you do not get overcooked or mushy vegetables. if you use unsoaked rice, then by the time the brown rice grains are cooked, the vegetables will get mushy and pasty.

      cook this spicy pulao recipe in a pan or pot and not in a pressure cooker as it would become difficult to check the rice if made in a cooker. the amount of water to be added depends on the quality of rice and the cooking method used. so an approx of 3 to 3.5 cups water will work in this recipe. first, add 3 cups water and begin to cook. later when the water looks less and the rice grains are not cooked, then add ¼ to ½ cup of water depending on how much the rice grains have cooked or need cooking. hope this helps.

  2. Will be a staple in my house! One pot and delicious! Family loves it. I made this, your south Indian potato korma, and a whole moong dal recipe today all in pressure cooker and was so pleased with the time and easiness. You rock!5 stars

    1. thanks again cheyenne. special thanks for the time and effort you took to post the feedback and review one each recipe. glad to read all the reviews you posted. yes, pressure cooking does save time.

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