Trying to get more vegetables in your diet? Try this vegetarian one pot meal of pulao. Use the vegetables that you like most, like peas, potatoes, and green beans. Make this simple veg pulao that packs a punch of flavor!
Rinse rice 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.
Rinse, peel and chop the vegetables.
Crush chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste in a mortar-pestle or grind them in a small mixer or grinder with a bit of water.
Frying spices and onions
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 and the spices splutter.
Add the onions and saute them till golden. Saute the onions on a low to medium-low flame and stir often for uniform browning.
Add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and saute for some seconds till their raw aroma goes away.
Add the tomatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a low to medium-low flame.
Add all the chopped veggies and saute again for 1 to 2 minutes on a low to medium-low flame.
Add rice and saute gently for 1 to 2 minutes on a low or medium-low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil.
Add water and lemon juice. Mix and stir.
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 pulao hot with some side salad, sliced onion & lemon wedges or raita. You can also garnish it with chopped coriander or mint leaves or fried cashews or fried onions.
Tips & Suggestions
Type and quality of rice: Pulao is always made with Basmati rice. The basmati rice should be fragrant and long-grained to get good results. Aged basmati rice will give you the best results. Even parboiled basmati rice (sella basmati) can be used. You can also use other types of long-grained rice and short-grained rice. These Indian rice varieties can be easily purchased from Amazon.
For separate rice grains: Follow these steps to ensure you have separate rice grains in your pulao:
Soak the rice: It is always better to soak your rice for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. Soaking rice grains gives them a better texture when they are cooked. If you do not have time to soak them, then just rinse the rice before adding it. Note that if you only rinse the rice, you will need to add some more water as presoaked rice grains require less water for cooking as compared to rice grains which are not soaked.
Add just enough water: Be sure that you do not add too much water, especially if you have presoaked your rice as recommended above.
Sauté the rice: After adding the rice grains to your pan, sauté them for 1 to 2 minutes on a low to medium flame, so that they are coated with fat (oil or ghee). The rice grains have to be separate & and yet well cooked in a pulao or biryani. Adding lemon juice also helps make the rice grains fluffier.
Rice to water ratio: For most rice varieties, the rice to water ratio is generally 1:2. However, this ratio can vary depending on the particular type of rice used or the cooking method used:
Example 1– organic basmati rice requires more water while cooking and parboiled basmati rice will need more water as compared to regular basmati rice. For this reason, I recommend when cooking pulao, to use rice which you have cooked before. This way you will already know how much water to add.
Example 2– when cooking pulao in a pressure cooker, generally less water is added. The steam generated in the cooker helps in cooking the rice grains. However, the amount of water to be added will depend upon the size of the cooker. For example, in larger cookers, more water has to be added.
Vegetables: You can add your favorite vegetables. Note that the vegetables add a lot of flavor to the rice. You can even add mushrooms to a give a meaty texture and umami flavor to the pulao. Button Mushrooms, morel mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms can be added.