veg pulao, how to make pulao recipe | vegetable pulao | pulav recipe

veg pulao recipe with step by step photos. veg pulao is a comfort food as well as satisfying. pair this mildly flavored aromatic veg pulao with a raita, pickle and roasted papad and you don’t need anything else. pulao is also called as pilaf and pulav.

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veg pulao is a one pot dish made with rice and vegetables. some spices and herbs are also added to give pulao more flavor and taste.

i make veg pulao when i want to cook something quick and easy. this is my mom’s vegetable pulav recipe and one of our favorite rice recipes, the other being veg biryani.

i have many veg pulao recipes on the blog like peas pulao, kashmiri pulao, tawa pulao, paneer pulao and so on. however most of the times i always end up making veg pulao this way.

i also tried some other variations of making vegetable pulaos but it did not suit our taste buds. there is no addition of any pulao or biryani masala in this recipe. just the whole garam masala spices are added.

what i like about making veg pulao is that its gets made quickly. if you have a food processor for chopping the veggies, then its more quick. usually i like the texture of the rice to be a little soft in pulao than being al dente or the way they are served in restaurants.

what you look in a pulao recipe is that the rice grains have to cooked perfectly without sticking or becoming mushy. so a pulao should have separate non sticky rice grains after being cooked. i have compiled below some tips and suggestions to make a really good pulao with separate non sticky grains of rice.

tips to make veg pulao recipe

1. type and quality of rice
usually basmati rice is used to make pulao. the basmati rice has to be fragrant and long grained to get good results. aged basmati rice gives very excellent results in a pulao or biryani recipe. you can even use other types of long grained rice and short grained rice varieties like seeraga samba or sona masuri or ambe mohar. in some parts of tamil nadu and kerala, seeraga samba rice is widely used to make pulao and biryani. even parboiled basmati rice (sela basmati) can be used to make both pulao and biryani.

2. sticky rice grains vs separate rice grains

to get separate rice grains in a pulao, firstly the quality of rice should be good and it should be aged. secondly do not add more water or extra water. thirdly after adding rice, sauté them for 2 minutes on a low to medium flame, so that the rice grains are coated with fat (oil or ghee). the rice grains have to be separate & yet well cooked in a pulao or biryani. addition of lemon juice also helps in making the rice grains fluffier.

its always better to soak rice for 20 to 30 minutes. soaking rice grains gives a better texture when they are cooked. if you do not have time to soak rice grains, then just rinse and then add them. but here you will need to add some more water. presoaked rice grains require less water for cooking as compared to rice grains which are not soaked.

3. rice to water ratio

the rice to water ratio is generally 1:2 for rice and water respectively for most rice varieties. however, this ratio varies with a particular type of rice used or the method of cooking rice.

  • example – organic basmati rice requires more water while cooking. parboiled basmati rice will need more water as compared to regular basmati rice. so when cooking pulao, use rice which you have cooked earlier, so that you know how much water to add.
  • example – when cooking pulao in a pressure cooker, generally less water is added. the steam generated in the pressure cooker, helps in cooking the rice grains. but here the amount of water to be added depends upon the size of the cooker. in larger cookers more water has to be added.

methods of cooking pulao or pulav recipe

pulao can be cooked in five ways –

  • in a pan or pot (as shown in this veg pulao recipe post)
  • in a pressure cooker
  • in an instant pot
  • in an electric cooker
  • in a microwave

you can use any method for cooking pulao. but just remember to add correct amount of water.
example: in an electric cooker, you will need to add more water. in a pressure cooker you need to add less water, then when making pulao in a pan. in the notes section of recipe card, i have mentioned the amount of water to be added when cooking veg pulao in a 3 litre pressure cooker

how to make veg pulav in a pressure cooker

one of the easiest and quickest method to make pulao is in a pressure cooker. it saves time as well as fuel. while making veg pulao in a pressure cooker is easy, but it can be tricky. the size of the pressure cooker, the quality of rice and amount of water added can yield a very good pulao or sticky, mushy or lumpy pulao or even a burnt undercooked pulao. so make pulao in a pressure cooker with a particular brand of aged basmati rice which stays separate even after pressure cooking. keep in mind the size of the cooker. larger the cooker, more water needs to be added and vice versa.

variations in making pulav recipe

1. various type of vegetables can be added in a pulao. you can add these vegetables alone or in a combination of two to three or more. it depends on what you and your family likes and prefers. usually a veg pulao is made with veggies like green peas, cauliflower, french beans, carrots, potatoes. apart from these vegetables, you can also add broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum (bell peppers), cabbage, beetroot, tomatoes. the flavors and taste of pulao will vary with the type of vegetables added in it.

2. there are many pulao varieties made in the indian cuisine with a mix of various masala or spice pastes added.

  • some pulao variations add curd.
  • coconut milk is also added in some pulao recipes. e.g. coconut milk pulao or brinji rice.
  • i also make red pulao and green pulao on occasions. in green pulao, the green masala paste made from coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilies, ginger and garlic is added. some coconut can also be added in this green masala. green pulao is similar to chutney pulao. red pulao has tomatoes as one of the major flavor and taste contributor.
  • instead of whole spices, you can even add pulao – biryani masala in a pulao.
  • some pulav recipes are cooked in vegetable stock instead of water. pulao made in a vegetable stock has a different taste and color.
  • you can always alter the amount of spices and herbs as per your taste. if you like spicy veg pulao then you can add more green chillies and include some spice powders like garam masala powder or red chilli powder. you can also reduce the whole garam masala in the recipe, if you want a less aromatic and mild veg pulav.

3. a vegetable pulao can be made more delicious and restaurant style by incorporating the following methods:

  • add some crisp golden fried onions (birista) as a garnish on the vegetable pulao. fried onions not only taste good but also give a nice crunch in the soft textured pulao.
  • some fried dry fruits like cashews and raisins can also be added.
  • you can even add some saffron strands while cooking pulao. this will impart the lovely saffron aroma and flavor in the pulao. even rose water or kewra water can be added when making veg pulav recipe.

preparation to make veg pulao recipe

1. firstly rinse the rice in water runs clear of starch. then soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes. then strain the rice and keep aside.

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2. when the rice is soaking, prep the veggies and keep the whole spices aside. picture of the the whole spices added in the pulao, except cumin. if you do not have any particular spice, then you can skip it.

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making vegetable pulao

3. heat ghee or oil in a deep thick bottomed pot or pan. add all whole spices and fry till they become fragrant.

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4. add the thinly sliced onions. saute the onions on a low flame till golden and stirring them often for uniform browning.

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5. once the onions become golden, then add crushed ginger+garlic+green chili paste. stir and saute till the raw aroma of the ginger & garlic goes away.

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6. add chopped tomatoes. saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame.

making veg pulao recipe, making pulao recipe, how to make pulao recipe

7. now add all the chopped veggies and saute again for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame. please note that at this step you can even add 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and 2 tablespoons of mint leaves in the pulao recipe.

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8. add the rice.

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9. saute rice gently for 2 minutes on a low to medium-low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil.

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10. pour water.

making veg pulao recipe, making pulao recipe, how to make pulao recipe

11. stir well.

making veg pulao recipe, making pulao recipe, how to make pulao recipe

12. add 6 to 7 drops of lime juice or lemon juice in the veg pulao.

making veg pulao recipe

13. season with salt. to find the amount of salt added, check the taste of the water. you should feel some saltiness in the water. this means the amount of salt added is right. if the water does not feel salty, then you need to add some more salt.

making veg pulao recipe

cooking veg pulao

14. stir and cover the pot or pan with its lid tightly.

making veg pulao recipe

15. cover and cook the rice till all the water is absorbed. cook veg pulao on a low to medium flame. usually in the beginning, i cook on a medium flame and then half way lower the flame. check in between a few times to check if the water is enough. depending on the quality of rice, you may need to add less or more water. with a fork too, you can gently stir the rice without breaking the rice grains.

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16. once the rice grains are cooked, fluff and let the rice stand for 5 minutes covered with the lid.

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17. serve pulao garnished with coriander leaves or mint leaves or fried onions and cashews. as a side accompaniment with pulao, you can serve onion tomato raita or boondi raita or cucumber raita or just plain yogurt along with roasted papad and mango pickle or lemon pickle.

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serving vegetable pulav

pulao is served either with a curd (yogurt) or raita or a curry or korma. but if you do not have time or ingredients to make korma or raita, then just serve pulao with some pickle and papad (roasted or fried). you can even serve veg pulao with plain curd. some sliced onions and lime or lemon also accompany a pulao well. even a simple kadhi can be served with veg pulao.

veg pulao

4.85 from 58 votes
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:55 mins
Course:main course
Calories: 375kcal
Servings (change the number to scale):4
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simple, aromatic and healthy veg pulao recipe


(1 CUP = 250 ML)

main ingredients for veg pulao recipe

  • 1.5 cups long grained or basmati rice soaked for 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup heaped EACH of chopped potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, french beans, green peas (fresh or frozen) and carrots - OR 1 to 1.5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium size tomato, chopped
  • ½ inch ginger + 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves + 1 green chili - crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
  • 6 to 7 drops of lime juice
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water or veg stock * check notes below for details. i added 3 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or 2.5 tablespoon oil
  • salt as required

whole spices for pulao recipe

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera) OR ¾ teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
  • 4 to 5 whole black pepper (sabut kali mirch)
  • 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf or tamalpatra)
  • 2 to 3 cloves (laung or lavang)
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms (hari elaichi or choti elaichi)
  • 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 2 single strands of mace (jayitri or javitri) - optional
  • 1 small star anise (chakriphool) - optional
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 small piece of stone flower (dagad phool or patthar ke phool) - optional

HOW TO MAKE veg pulao

soaking rice for veg pulao recipe

  • rinse rinse till the water runs clear of starch and become transparent while rinsing.
  • soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes. drain all the water and keep the soaked rice aside.

making pulao recipe

  • in a deep thick bottomed pot or pan, heat ghee or oil and fry all the whole spices mentioned above, till the oil becomes fragrant
  • add the onions and saute them till golden. saute the onions on a low flame and stir often for uniform browning.
  • add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and saute for 10 to 12 seconds.
  • add the tomatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a low to medium-low flame.
  • add all the veggies and saute again for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium-low flame.
  • add rice and saute gently for 2 minutes on a low or medium-low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil.
  • pour water and stir.
  • sprinkle 6 to 7 drops of lime juice or lemon juice. season with salt and stir again.

cooking veg pulao

  • cover tightly and let the rice cook on a low flame, till the water is absorbed and the rice is well cooked. 
  • check in between a few times to check if the water is enough. depending on the quality of rice, you may need to add less or more water. with a fork too, you can gently stir the rice without breaking the rice grains.
  • once the rice grains are cooked, fluff and let the rice stand for 5 minutes.
  • serve the veg pulao hot with some side salad, sliced onion & lemon wedges or raita. you can also garnish veg pulao with chopped coriander or mint leaves.


  • if you are making veg pulao in a 3 litre pressure cooker, then add 2.5 to 2.75 cups water. for an al dente texture, 2.5 cups is fine and for a softer texture 2.75 cups water is fine. pressure cook rice on medium flame for 2 whistles. in case the rice grains are undercooked, then add ¼ cup water and pressure cook for 1 whistle more. 
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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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212 comments/reviews

  1. Awesome recipe like always..I have been following your recipes for months now. Thank you for making cooking a simpler task?

  2. Another of your wonderful recipes tried and ‘tasted’! Thank you Ma’am. It turned out awesome!

  3. Its great! Its really helpful for my Indonesian girlfriend who is learning Indian recipes. The pictures given are very useful and tasteful.5 stars

  4. Hi,

    Tried this pulav but felt little less spicy..even after adding 3 green chillies crushed with ginger & garlic. should i trying adding slit green chilles instead of grinding it..suggestions pls..

    • this pulao is not spicy. for more spice, you will have to increase the number of green chilies. slit green chilies won’t make it spicy. you can use green chilies which are spicy and hot. these are usually dark green in color and of small to medium length. also you can add some red chili powder too.

      • Thank you so much Dasanna…!! very clearly answered..If I had to add red chilli powder for 1 cup of much I should add it..

  5. Hello..wantd to ask if i can ise capsicum and french beans along with potatoes and peas…will it change the taste…

    • kavya yes it would change the taste as capsicum has a strong flavor and french bean has a mild taste. you could try them and let us know as all mixed veggies give different taste and flavor 🙂 hope this help’s you.

  6. Hi Dassana,

    First of all, a big big thank you..Whatever cooking I know is only because of you. You are my God of cooking!!!
    I have tried many of your recipes and all of them were just awesome….Veg pulao is my favorite and its loved by everybody at home…
    thank you so much again.

  7. Thank u my dear….. All ur recipes are just awesum
    And those step by step pics are just like a cherry on the cake..5 stars

  8. Hi Dassana,

    i never ever tried cooking untill recently after i got married..
    You are a life saver and my Hero!!
    Your recipes are simple and easy to follow and amazingly delicious…
    the small details and whole garam masala pics are an absolute blessing for me as i am still in the phase where i google to confirm masala names and images???
    Thanks a ton and god bless you. Cant wait to try out your other recipes ?

    • thankyou so much trupti for your kind and honest words:) we are pleased to know this. you are welcome, god bless you. surely try other recipes and let us know hot were they?

  9. Hi Dassana,
    I never ever tried to cook untill recently after i got married.
    You are my hero… Your recipes are simple and easy yet soooooooo delicious ?, the photographs and the details that you added are a blessing. Its so convenient for someone like me to identify the whole garam masala without using google images… ??
    Thank you for your amazing recipes…
    And God bless you..

  10. Thanks a lot for this wonderful recipe… I tried this & came out really well… Everybody at my home loved it.. Continue ur good work 🙂

  11. Probably one of the best recipes I have come across! Especially the steps which are clear and easy to do and candid too! I am encouraged to look into other recipes of yours. Thanks a lot5 stars

  12. Hei ..dr ..ur dishes are just fabulus ….m asking can i make the same recipie in low flame and in dum . Just like biriani…5 stars

  13. Hi
    Thanks for the reciepe.i followed this receipe.but while cooking my vegetables did cook properly.they were still kacchi. what should i do now.
    Thanks5 stars

  14. Hi. Thanks for the step to step procedure for the pulav recipe. Please let me know which brand basmati rice have u taken in the picture. And if im making it in pressure cooker or non stick pan, how much water wl i put?

  15. Nice … teach to All recipes … u have any new idea about … vegpulao

    Swati Ritesh Nawale

  16. i made this for lunch , turned out really good. My guests loved it too. Two recipes tried and tested from your blog… Eager to try so many more 🙂 thank you so much dassana

  17. For veg pulao in pressure cooker recipe, how much time ( whistles ) should I allow? Thanks.

  18. Hello..ur receipes r easy to understand…I really appreciate…I just wanted to know…that…my family doesn’t like these khade masale…while eating pulao….can they b seprated after there fragrance…get mixed with the oil…or. somethingelse..u may suggest…thanku…

  19. really very nice and delicious recipe. i have tried this recipe. it was very tasty. .
    thanks for nice sharing.

  20. Namaste,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with pictures it help me so much I just have a question. I bought biryani pulav masala should I still put all the whole spices before.?5 stars

  21. Thank you once again for such a wonderful recipe i made pulao with leftover over and it turned out to be mind blowing its tastes like pulao we get in Hyderabad. Thnx so much and all ur recipes are like treasure thnx for helping out people who are new to cooking and also dying to eat tasty food. Ma’am thnk you.