30-minute One Pot Vegetable Pulao Recipe {Rice Dish}


An easy 30-minute one pot vegetable pulao, a fragrant, delicious and wholesome rice dish. Much simpler than a biryani, this veg pulao dish is an equally ideal week night meal as it is for festive occasions. Can be made in an instant pot or pressure cooker for an even quicker rendition.

vegetable pulao, one pot rice dish, 30 minute recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with my mum. One of our usual dialogue unsurprisingly revolve around food and recipes. So, I was telling her that I had made vegetable pulao three times already during the same week. “Three times?!”, she said. “Are you testing a new recipe?”

Well, yes and no. I have made pulao so many times before that I hardly need to test it. Besides it is such a versatile recipe that I always make it slightly different every time, depending on what I have on hand. So, the real reason was because I had other things on my schedule and still wanted to eat something homely, delicious and nutritious that doesn’t require a lot of time to make.

I do love cooking, no doubt about this. However, some weeks I do have quite a few things on my plate already, like our new crochet shop that we’ve recently opened (more on this later). I could order in some vegan food or grab a box of cucumber and avocado sushi from our local supermarket, but to be honest, there are only a few places that do nice take-outs. Homemade is so much healthier and food made at home tastes a lot better too.

Roasted or steamed vegetables with baked tofu and mushrooms usually are my go-to quick dinners that require under 20 minutes of preparation time. But sometimes we really want something more comforty and spicy delicious. And it occurred to me that I had not made a pulao for quite a while.

There are many different versions of pulao out there that involves different spices and methods of cooking. Some pulao recipes call for pre-cooked rice where the rice and vegetables are stir fried, more like a spicy Indian fried rice.

My version for today is an easy 30-minute one pot rice dish that requires minimal supervision and stirring — much simpler than a biryani. It’s probably more like 35 minutes including preparation time if you are not a beginner at chopping vegetables. You can also use mixed frozen vegetables. They are just perfect for this dish and will cut the preparation time to even less if you are really short of time or just want to take a day off prepping.

If using frozen veggies, just add them directly from frozen and follow on with the recipe in the same way. Aside from the veggies listed in the recipe, you may use a variety of other vegetables like green beans, mushrooms, courgette (zucchini) or broccoli to mention a few. Try to keep the amount of (chopped) vegetables to not more than three cups per one cup of rice.

The ideal rice for this pulao dish is basmati rice. It cooks in about 15 minutes which is just about the same time that the vegetables will take to cook to their optimum texture and taste. If you are substituting with any other rice, you may need to let the rice soak for a lot longer or actually half-cook it beforehand. So, this will need some advance planning and will take a little more time to cook overall.

This dish can be made in an instant pot or pressure cooker if you have one. In this case, it will only require about 7 minutes cooking time.

If you are missing one or two spices from the list, it is okay. Just make sure you at least have cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom in there. You can also use ready-made biryani spice mix, 2 – 3 teaspoons should do the trick.

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30-minute One Pot Vegetable Pulao

Rice Dish

Ingredients (serve 4 – 5)

2 cups basmati rice
3½ cups [825ml] water
¼ cauliflower head (about 150g), cut into small florets
1 small potato, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
½ cup [65g] frozen green peas
1 cup [185g] brown or regular cooked chickpeas
1 small or medium onion or 2-3 shallots, finely sliced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger (it’s easy to make your own in advance)
½ teaspoon tamarind paste (or 3 tablespoons tomato puree)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
¼ cup coriander leaves (cilantro) or mint leaves, for garnish

Spices
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or same amount whole cumin)
½ teaspoon whole cumin (or more ground cumin)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon garam masala (or substitute with more cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg with a pinch of black pepper)
1 cinnamon stick or (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 – 2 bay leaves depending on size
4 – 5 whole cloves
4 – 5 juniper berries (optional)
3 green cardamom pods (or ½ teaspoon ground cardamom)
1-2 red chillis (or chilli flakes as per heat preference)
4 – 5 saffron threads (optional, but recommended)
Salt to taste

Rinse the rice a few times until the water run clear. Drain as much of the water as possible, cover the rice with 3½ cups of water and let soak for 15 minutes or while you prepare the vegetables.
Place the tamarind paste (if it contains seeds) in some warm water. Let it soak until softened. Then mash the paste in the water to remove the seeds. Set the tamarind juice aside.
Wash, peel (if necessary) and cut the vegetables. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, dice the potato and carrot. Slice the onion, finely chop/mince the garlic and ginger.
In a thick bottom pan or pot (I like to use a thick bottom wok) on medium heat, add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Sizzle for about 2 minutes until onions are a little translucent. Add the whole cumin. Roast for about 20 seconds then add the ground spices (cumin, garam masala, nutmeg and cinnamon), cloves and juniper berries. Roast for about 30 seconds. Add a little water if required. Then add the tamarind juice (or tomato puree).
Simmer and let the tamarind juice reduce. Add the chilli and bay leaves.
Add all the vegetables. Stir and saute for about 5 minutes. Add a little salt and stir.
Next add in the rice along with all the water that it has been soaking in. Add the whole cardamoms and saffron threads. Stir and mix the rice with the vegetables. Add a little more salt to taste.
Cover and simmer on low-medium heat for 15 minutes. (7 minutes if using an instant pot or pressure cooker).Then turn off the heat and let the pan stand covered for another 5 minutes.
Uncover and fluff the rice. Garnish with fresh coriander or mint leaves. Serve hot accompanied with assorted pickles, cucumber raita or salad and coriander chutney.
This pulao keeps well in the fridge and is even tastier the next day. To reheat, just add a little water in the pan, cover and heat on medium-low temperature until steamy. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

30-minute One Pot Vegetable Pulao
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy 30-minute one pot vegetable pulao, a fragrant, delicious and wholesome rice dish. Much simpler than a biryani, this veg pulao dish is an equally ideal week night meal as it is for festive occasions. Can be made in an instant pot or pressure cooker for an even quicker rendition.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mauritian
Yield: 4 - 5 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3½ cups [825ml] water
  • ¼ cauliflower head (about 150g), cut into small florets
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • ½ cup [65g] frozen green peas
  • 1 cup [185g] brown or regular cooked chickpeas
  • 1 small or medium onion or 2-3 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (it’s easy to make your own in advance)
  • ½ teaspoon tamarind paste (or 3 tablespoons tomato puree)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves (cilantro) or mint leaves, for garnish
  • Spices
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or same amount whole cumin)
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin (or more ground cumin)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala (or substitute with more cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg with a pinch of black pepper)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves depending on size
  • 4 – 5 cloves
  • 4 – 5 juniper berries (optional)
  • 3 green cardamom pods (or ½ teaspoon ground cardamom)
  • 1-2 red chillis (or chilli flakes as per heat preference)
  • 4 – 5 saffron threads (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the rice a few times until the water run clear. Drain as much of the water as possible, cover the rice with 3½ cups of water and let soak for 15 minutes or while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. Place the tamarind paste (if it contains seeds) in some warm water. Let it soak until softened. Then mash the paste in the water to remove the seeds. Set the tamarind juice aside.
  3. Wash, peel (if necessary) and cut the vegetables. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, dice the potato and carrot. Slice the onion, finely chop/mince the garlic and ginger.
  4. In a thick bottom pan or pot (I like to use a thick bottom wok) on medium heat, add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Sizzle for about 2 minutes until onions are a little translucent. Add the whole cumin. Roast for about 20 seconds then add the ground spices (cumin, garam masala, nutmeg and cinnamon), cloves and juniper berries. Roast for about 30 seconds. Add a little water if required. Then add the tamarind juice (or tomato puree).
  5. Simmer and let the tamarind juice reduce. Add the chilli and bay leaves.
  6. Add all the vegetables. Stir and saute for about 5 minutes. Add a little salt and stir.
  7. Next add in the rice along with all the water that it has been soaking in. Add the whole cardamoms and saffron threads. Stir and mix the rice with the vegetables. Add a little more salt to taste.
  8. Cover and simmer on low-medium heat for 15 minutes. (7 minutes if using an instant pot or pressure cooker). Then turn off the heat and let the pan stand covered for another 5 minutes.
  9. Uncover and fluff the rice. Garnish with fresh coriander or mint leaves. Serve hot accompanied with assorted pickles, cucumber raita or salad and coriander chutney.
  10. This pulao keeps well in the fridge and is even tastier the next day. To reheat, just add a little water in the pan, cover and heat on medium-low temperature until steamy. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

vegetable pulao, one pot rice dish, 30 minute recipe

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