Yakhni Pulao

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This Yakhni Pulao is a delicious rice pilaf featuring fragrant basmati rice, flavorful vegetable stock, healthy mixed veggies, aromatic spices and herbs. While there are many versions to make this dish, my vegetarian recipe is fragrant, flavorful and tasty. One of our favorite rice dishes is Yakhni pulao after Biryani and Veg Pulao and I am sure it will be yours too.

top shot of yakhni pulao garnished with fried onions and cashews in a white plate

About Yakhni Pulao

The urdu word “Yakhni” refers to a broth or stock. Pulao or pilaf is a one pot rice dish. The recipe gets its name Yakhni pulao as the rice is cooked in the yakhni a.k.a the stock or broth.

The stock is made first by cooking the meat (here we make the stock with veggies) together with fragrant spices. Later the rice is cooked until tender in this stock.

The recipe of this Yakhni pulao is from the Hyderabadi cuisine. Generally yakhni pulao is a non-vegetarian dish. But there are vegetarian and vegan versions of this dish as well like this recipe.

Making this subtly flavored dish requires a lot of care and attention similar to making a biryani. A slight error on your part can ruin this dish. The rice grains have to be separate and yet cooked. The veggies also should be tender and not overly cooked. So you see this recipe demands perfection.

As they say practice makes a person perfect. I tried making yakhni pulao many times. Something or the other would go wrong. Most of the times the rice would be over cooked. The taste was alright but the texture was something that could have been improved upon.

Finally after some practice, now I can make a really good Yakhni pulao – so good, both in the taste department and with a fluffy non-sticky texture of the rice grains. Try this recipe and you will see its taste, flavor is much different and unique than your regular pulao.

My mom used to make an awesome Yakhni pulao and this recipe is inspired from hers. The vegetarian version of this Yakhni pulao is obviously made with a hearty mix of firm vegetables, but you could make it more wholesome by adding soy chunks, tofu or paneer.

About This Recipe

First we make the yakhni or the stock with the vegetables and spices. The veggies are cooked in water with a bouquet garni made of spices to make the broth or stock. 

Wondering what is bouquet garni? Whole spices are kept in a muslin cloth and then tied tightly to a small bundle (also known in Hindi as ‘potli‘). It is this small bundle of the spices that is called bouquet garni.

This bouquet garni is placed together with the veggies, water and salt in a pan. The entire mixture is allowed to cook until the veggies are half-done or half-cooked. Later the spices are discarded. Then the broth or stock is strained and the veggies are kept aside.

This spice infused broth is then mixed with curd (yogurt), rice and the half-cooked veggies in a flavorful aromatic base of sautéed onions, herbs and seasonings. This entire assortment of vegetables, stock, aromatics, rice is tightly covered with a lid and slow cooked on dum until the rice grains are tender and softened.

The result of cooking with this technique, is that the rice absorbs all the flavors of the Yakhni stock. The result is a super delish and fragrant flavorful rice pulao.

It is better to use basmati rice for this pilaf recipe. For best results soak the basmati rice in water for about 20 to 30 minutes. Strain the soaked rice before adding it to the veggies and yogurt.

I have garnished the yakhni pulao with fried onions, mint leaves and cashews. You could just garnish with fried onions (also known as birista) skipping the cashews and mint.

yakhni pulao garnished with fried onions and cashews in a white plate

Do try this aromatic and healthy yakhni pulao at home. The yakhni pulao is best served with an onion tomato raita or cucumber raita. You can also serve it with a veg curry of your choice.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Yakhni Pulao

Make Vegetable Yakhni (Veg Stock)

1. Place the following spices in a muslin or cheese cloth to make the bouqet garni:

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 inch ginger, crushed
  • 5 to 6 small to medium garlic cloves, crushed
whole spices and crushed ginger, garlic in muslin cloth

2. Tie the muslin cloth securely with the spices inside it. This is the bouquet garni.

spices bundled in muslin cloth

3. Heat 5 cups of water to a gentle boil on medium heat.

I have used 5 cups of water to make the yakhni pulao. So that I don’t need to add extra water later to the rice in case it is needed.

And if at all any extra yakhni or stock remains, it can be drank as it is like a thin soup or can be added to gravies, curries, dals, paratha etc.

water being heated in a pot

4. Add 1.5 cup of mixed chopped veggies like french beans, carrots, cauliflower and potatoes. Also, add ½ cup of green peas (matar) together with the prepared bouquet garni. Add salt as required.

vegetables and spices bundle added to hot water in pot

5. Cover with a lid.

pot covered with glass lid

6. Cook and simmer the veggies till they are half-done or par-cooked on medium-low to medium heat. This takes about 10 to 12 minutes.

Note that we are not boiling the vegetables here, but gently cooking them on a medium-low to medium heat.

half cooked vegetables floating in water with a steel spoon inside

Strain the Yakhni

7. When the vegetables are half-cooked, remove the the bouquet garni. Through a strainer carefully strain the stock or yakhni in a bowl and set the veggies aside.

When the bouquet garni becomes warm, squeeze it over the broth to extract more flavors from the spices. Open the muslin and discard away the spices.

strainer filled with vegetables on top of glass bowl filled with stock

8. Set the vegetable stock aside. From this vegetable stock measure 2 cups and keep aside.

Refrigerate the remaining veg stock and add it to your soups, lentils, curries, rice dishes, paratha, roti etc.

vegetable stock in a glass bowl with spoon inside

Soak Rice

9. Meanwhile rinse 1 cup basmati rice and then soak the rice in water for 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 to 30 minutes drain all the water and set the rice aside. Preferably use aged basmati rice.

soaked basmati rice in yellow bowl

Sauté Spices, Onions

10. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a pan and let it melt.

ghee in pot

11. Add the following spices to the melted ghee and fry for a few seconds until they splutter:

  • 2 to 3 small tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
spices in ghee

12. Then add 1 medium-sized sliced onion – about ½ cup thinly sliced onions.

sliced onions in ghee

13. Sauté the onions stirring often until they are golden.

onions caramelized in ghee

Make Yakhni Pulao

14. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice.

rice in pot

15. Mix to combine the basmati and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes on low heat.

rice mixed with caramelized onions

16. Now add the half-cooked vegetables and 2 cups of the vegetable stock or yakhni.

Add salt if needed. We have already added salt to the yakhni. Keep this in mind before adding the salt.

stock with vegetables and salt in pan

17. Add 3 tablespoons fresh curd (yogurt or dahi).

curd added to pan

18. Mix well. Check the taste of the stock and it should be slightly salty.

yakhni pulao ingredients mixed well

19. Cover with a tight lid. I have wrapped the lid with a moist cotton cloth or kitchen napkin to cook on dum. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on dum on a low heat.

pot covered with glass lid covered with a moistened kitchen napkin

20. Later open the pan. If the rice appears not to be completely cooked and the mixture looks dry, just add a splash of warm yakhni or broth to the rice. Gently stir with a fork.

Cover tightly and cook the pulao for a few minutes more. If there is some stock in the pulao, then do not add any extra veg stock. Simply cover the pan and cook further for some more minutes.

cooked yakhni pulao in pot

Make Garnish

21. Take one tablespoon ghee or oil in a pan. add 1 small sized onion, sliced thinly – about ⅓ cup thinly sliced.

sliced onions in oil in white pan

22. Once the onion changes to light brown color, you can add 12 to 14 cashews and sauté with the onions.

cashews and onions in pan

23. Sauté stirring often till the onions becomes golden brown.

onions caramelized in pan

24. While serving garnish yakhni pulao with the crispy caramelized onions, golden browned cashews and some chopped coriander or mint leaves. Serve hot or warm with onion raita or with onion kuchumber.

yakhni pulao garnished with fried onions in a white plate

More Tasty Indian Rice Dishes!

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yakhni pulao on a white plate

Yakhni Pulao

This Yakhni Pulao is a delicious vegetarian version of rice based pilaf featuring basmati rice, vegetable stock, mixed veggies, spices and herbs from the Hyderabadi cuisine.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Cuisine Hyderabadi
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For bouquet garni

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 inch ginger – crushed
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves – small to medium, crushed

For yakhni or stock

  • 1.5 cups chopped veggies – mix of cauliflower, carrots, french beans
  • ½ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
  • 5 cups water
  • salt as required

For yakhni pulao

  • 2 tablespoons Ghee
  • 1 cup basmati rice – soaked in water for 20 to 30 minutes
  • 2 to 3 small tej patta
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onions or 1 medium-sized onion
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Curd (yogurt)
  • salt as required

For garnish

  • cup thinly sliced onions or 1 small-sized onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves
  • 12 to 15 cashews – optional
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee

Instructions
 

Making bouqet garni

  • Take the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and crushed ginger+garlic in a muslin cloth. Place them in the center.
  • Tie the muslin cloth securely with the spices and ginger, garlic inside it. This is the bouquet garni.

Making yakhni (stock)

  • Heat water to a gentle boil in a pan or pot on medium heat. Add the mixed chopped veggies, green peas and salt as required. Also place the bouquet garni in the pan or pot.
  • Cover the pan and cook the veggies till they are half-done or half-cooked on medium-low to medium heat. Take into account the cooking time of 10 to 12 minutes. The vegetables are not boiled here but cooked gently on a medium-low to medium heat.
  • Through a strainer strain the stock or yakhni in a bowl and set the half-cooked veggies aside.
  • When warm or cool, squeeze the bouquet garni over the bowl containing the stock to extract as much as flavors from the spices. Open the muslin and discard the spices.
  • Measure 2 cups of the stock and set it aside. You can use the remaining veg stock to make soup, dal or any gravy dish.

Making yakhni pulao

  • Rinse basmati rice very well in water. Then soak the basmati rice in water for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Later drain the water and set the soaked rice aside.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and let it melt.
  • Add the whole spices – cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, black cardamom and peppercorns. Fry till they are fragrant for a few seconds.
  • Add sliced onions. Stirring often, fry the onions until they are browned.
  • Add the soaked basmati rice. Stir and mix the basmati rice well. Sauté gently on a low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Now add the half-cooked veggies and 2 cups of the broth or yakhni. Add salt if needed. Note that we have already added salt to the yakhni. Keep this in mind before adding the salt.
  • Add curd (yogurt) and mix well.
  • Cover pan with a tight- fitting lid.
  • Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on dum on a low heat.
  • Later open the pan. If the rice appears not be completely cooked and the mixture looks dry, simply add in a few splashes of some warm yakhni or broth to the rice. Gently stir with a fork. Cover tightly and cook for a few minutes more.
  • If there is some stock in the pulao, then do not add any extra veg stock. Simply cover the pan and cook further for some more minutes. 

Garnishing

  • Take one tablespoon ghee or oil in a pan. Add ⅓ cup thinly sliced onions.
  • Once the onions changes to light brown color, you can add some cashews and continue to sauté with the onions. Sauté till the onion becomes golden brown.
  • When serving, garnish yakhni pulao with crispy golden onions and cashew nuts. Sprinkle some chopped coriander or mint leaves. 
  • Serve veg yakhni pulao hot or warm with onion raita or with onion mint kuchumber.

Notes

  • For the rice, it is better to use aged basmati rice. You can also use a good quality long grained rice. 
  • Use sturdy veggies like carrots, cauliflowers, beans etc. The vegetables have to be half-cooked while making the broth or yakhni. 
  • For a umami flavor in the broth, you can add about 1 tablespoon of dried oyster mushroom powder to the yakhni or stock.
  • To add protein to the dish, add some tofu or paneer. Pan fry them and serve as a topping or garnish. 
  • If you have ready homemade stock, then first follow the steps of sautéing the spices and onions until golden. Add the vegetables and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Next add in the rice and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes on a low heat. Add the stock, yogurt and salt if needed. Mix well. Cover and cook until the rice grains are tender and fluffy. 
  • The recipe is scalable to a make a small batch or a larger batch. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Yakhni Pulao
Amount Per Serving
Calories 526 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 859mg37%
Potassium 567mg16%
Carbohydrates 78g26%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 4861IU97%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 25mg30%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 10µg10%
Calcium 150mg15%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 59µg15%
Iron 4mg22%
Magnesium 94mg24%
Phosphorus 247mg25%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Yakhni Pulao post from the archives (Feb 2012) has been republished and updated on 8 October 2021.

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Meet Dassana

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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42 Comments

  1. Love all your recipes. Have tried quite a few and they have turned out beautifully. Thanks a ton for all the lovely recipes and keep posting. Love the small small tips that you give and even substitutes in case some ingredient is not available. Will definitely try this Yakni Biryani

    1. welcome patsy. glad to know that you like the recipes and the way they are explained. thanks for your positive feedback.

  2. dear dassana amit,
    am a caterer n hav tried most of ur north indian recipes n thy all have come very gud while cooking including ur biryani n yakni pulav…tnx for all your wonderful dishes n keep posting new ones ๐Ÿ˜‰5 stars

  3. Hi Dasana, I lately discovered your web site and tried few dishes, most of them turned perfect, apart from this yakni pulao. My Rice grains were not separated at all , they got mushy. So I was lil disappointed.. I followed exact same procedure as yrs , but don’t know what went wrong , can u please reply

    1. for 2 cups of rice, 4 cups of the yakhni stock is added while cooking. the soaked rice has to drained and then added to the tempering. i think the curd must have had a lot of water content. thats why the rice must have become mushy. next time when you prepare, reduce the amount of yakhni stock to 3 to 3.5 cups. depending on the quality of rice too, some rice grains cook faster and some don’t. the water quantity also need to be changed with the quality of rice. i use organic basmati rice and they require more water for cooking. the same thing does not happen with the other brands of basmati.

  4. Hi dassana,
    Yesterday i referred this recipe and made it and it really came out as a fab…. My husband jst loved it and me too… Thanks for posting….

      1. I have not made it yet,but seeing the pics and the procedure I really hope it will turn out to be as fantastic as other dishes of yours.
        Thanks for keeping us updated about various gastronomical affairs
        Will love to see some more unique dishes from your end
        Keep going!

  5. Hi Dassana,

    I was wondering, for the yakhni, when you say cook the veggies until they are half done, how long would that be? I am sorry for such a simple question but I worry about over or undercooking the veggies. The veggies I had in mind would be beans, green peas, potatoes, cauliflower and chickpeas. They all have different cook times more or less, right? So how long would you recommend I cook these together in the water until they are half cooked? and How much salt would be a reasonable amount for 2 cups of veggies in the Yakhni Furthermore, should I be boiling the veggies or cooking on medium heat? Lastly, since canned chickpeas are already cooked, do you think its a bad idea for me to be using them in this recipe? Thank you so much in advance!

    1. cauliflower, potatoes, beans, peas will get cooked at more or less the same time. it will take approx 15-20 minutes for them to get half cooked on a high flame. when you bite into the vegetables, there should be a crunch but also some softness.

      chickpeas will take a lot of time. if adding soaked chickpeas, then cook them first separately. otherwise avoid them. you can use canned chickpeas. but then you have to add them when you add the rice.

      just cover and simmer the veggies till they are half cooked. for 2 cups of veggies approx 1 tsp salt is enough for the whole recipe… however salt preferences differ with each individual. what i would suggest is add 1/2 tsp salt when the veggies are cooking. when you add the rice, stock etc… taste the stock.. and add more salt as per your taste preferences. just add some like 1/4 tsp and stir. taste.. if not enough salt, then add a bit more… stir and taste again…

  6. hi Dassana..i tried yakhni pulav yesterday and it turned out to be superb..the flavours of the khara masala really blend well..too aromatic and flavourful..

    1. dear suhani, i always appreciate your gesture – firstly making the recipe and then taking the time to comment on the recipe post. hugs to you ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Dear Dassana, i tried veg yakhni pulao and it was awesome..ditto look alike as in your pics..Ur experience is saving our time wrt hit & trial..thank you so much. now i am confident of cooking veg hyd dum biryani, south indian mushroom biryani and veg yakni pulao…it has boosted my confidence level…we had a get together at frnds place and i cooked south indian mushroom biryani as time was short…everybody was praising and i humbly pass on the credit to the real deserver i.e you..

    you are doing a great job for the people like me who has little idea of cooking skills…

    with love, meeta.

    1. thanks a lot meeta. you again made my day ๐Ÿ™‚

      i do cook indian food well, but i also have a lot of disasters when baking cakes and pastries. i also have my hit and trial experience often while baking.

  8. Dear Dassana, Is their an option to save the receipes with all pics in PDF format? So that i can add the same in my cookbook. Sometimes the internet gives problem, so better to save…

    with love, meeta.

    1. dear meeta, currently the posts cannot be saved in the pdf format. you can save them in html format or as webpage. right click on the page as then click on save as option. i will find to out if there is any way pdf format can be saved. i will let you know if this is possible.

      1. Dear Dassana, you can check at raks kitchen.. the pdf option and the print option both are available..

        bye tc, meeta..

        1. alright meeta. i will do that. i am following rak’s blog through fb, but never seen any pdf option on her blog… anyways i will check.

  9. Hello Dassana,

    The yakhni pulao looks yummy.. Will definately try it. I have also noted the kerala sambhar recipe and would like to try on this weekend along with dosa. Do visit my blog supriyajm.blogspot.com and do give your inputs.

    1. thanks supriya. will visit your blog next. do try and let me know the feedback.

  10. I made Yakhni Pulao to day as per your recipe. It turned out too good…thanks a lot.

  11. Can we get some more Rajasthani dishes recipes,Daal baati,churma,kath,ker sangre ki bhaji etc.
    thankyou.

  12. Love the new recipes you keep posting. I look forward to reading every single one of them. Thank you. Chitra

  13. i hear you about the perfection.. my rice also inevitably gets overcooked or mashed.. these pictures though are so perfect.. each individual long grain, and perfectly brown cashews and a light seen of oil and the spices.. though i dont think hubbs will notice any difference even if my pulao looks this gorgeous.. but i need to get this right!

  14. One more rice dish added to my recipe lists :)…. looks really nice and the veggies, stock and rice cooked together on dum surely will make this pilaf an excellant combo with great flavor!!!!!

  15. Really interesting recipe! I make rice dishes all the time, with all kinds of pulav variations and it’s always good to have one more recipe! This looks really flavorful but not loaded with too many spices. Thank you for the recipe.

  16. Excellent recipe. Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for sending great recipes that are simple & easy to prepare. Can’t wait to get more delicious recipes from you. So long.