Vegetable Pulao, a delightful and aromatic dish, is a popular Indian one-pot rice preparation that harmoniously blends fragrant basmati rice with an assortment of colorful vegetables and aromatic spices. Renowned for its simplicity, yet rich in flavor, Vegetable Pulao serves as a versatile and satisfying main course or side dish in Indian cuisine.

This dish offers a symphony of textures and tastes, with each forkful carrying the essence of perfectly cooked rice, the crunch of vegetables, and the warmth of carefully selected spices. The combination of cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, among other spices, imparts a fragrant and savory profile to the pulao.

Vegetable Pulao is a culinary canvas, allowing for creativity in vegetable selection. Common additions include carrots, peas, beans, corn, and more, providing a vibrant and nutritious medley. The careful sautéing of onions, tomatoes, and spices creates a flavorful base that envelops the rice and vegetables in a harmonious blend.


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans, corn, etc.), chopped
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1-inch ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 4-5 whole black peppercorns
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • 2 cups water for cooking rice
  • Cashews or almonds for garnish (optional)


1. Rinse and Soak the Rice:

  • Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 15-20 minutes.

2. Cook the Rice:

  • In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water. Cook the rice until it’s 70-80% done. It should still have a slight bite to it. Drain any excess water and set the rice aside.

3. Sautéing Vegetables:

  • Heat ghee or oil in a large pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add sliced onions and sauté until golden brown.

4. Aromatic Spices:

  • Add whole spices – cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, and bay leaf. Sauté for a minute until the spices release their aroma.

5. Onions and Tomatoes:

  • Add chopped green chilies, grated ginger, and minced garlic. Sauté for a minute until the raw smell disappears.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft and the oil starts to separate.

6. Vegetables and Spices:

  • Add the mixed vegetables and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well to coat the vegetables with the spices.

7. Combining with Rice:

  • Add the partially cooked rice to the pan. Gently mix everything together, ensuring the rice is evenly coated with the vegetables and spices.

8. Final Cooking:

  • Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let the pulao cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender.

9. Garnish and Serve:

  • Garnish the Vegetable Pulao with fresh coriander leaves and, if desired, toasted cashews or almonds.
  • Fluff the pulao gently with a fork before serving.

10. Serving Suggestions: – Serve the Vegetable Pulao hot with raita, yogurt, or a side salad.

Enjoy your delicious and aromatic Vegetable Pulao!

Here are some cooking tips to help you make a perfect Vegetable Pulao:

1. Choice of Rice:

  • Use good-quality basmati rice for its aromatic and long-grain texture. Rinse the rice thoroughly to remove excess starch, ensuring that the grains remain separate during cooking.

2. Soaking the Rice:

  • Soak the basmati rice in water for about 15-20 minutes before cooking. This allows the rice to absorb moisture, resulting in fluffier grains.

3. Partially Cook the Rice:

  • Cook the rice until it’s 70-80% done before adding it to the vegetables. This helps the rice finish cooking evenly with the vegetables and prevents overcooking.

4. Saute Aromatics First:

  • Start by sautéing onions until golden brown. This forms a flavorful base for the pulao. Add ginger and garlic for an extra layer of aromatic richness.

5. Aromatic Spices:

  • Toast whole spices such as cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, and bay leaf to release their essential oils. This enhances the overall aroma of the pulao.

6. Spice Levels:

  • Adjust the spice levels according to your preference. You can control the heat by varying the quantity of green chilies and red chili powder.

7. Vegetables Selection:

  • Choose a colorful array of vegetables for visual appeal and nutritional variety. Common choices include carrots, peas, beans, corn, and bell peppers. Ensure uniform chopping for even cooking.

8. Sauté Vegetables Briefly:

  • Sauté the vegetables briefly to retain their crunch and vibrant colors. Overcooking may result in mushy vegetables.

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Vegetable Pulao:

1. What is Vegetable Pulao?

  • Vegetable Pulao is a flavorful and aromatic Indian rice dish made with basmati rice, mixed vegetables, and a blend of spices. It is a one-pot dish where rice and vegetables are cooked together to create a delicious and satisfying meal.

2. Can I use any type of rice for Vegetable Pulao?

  • While basmati rice is commonly used for its aromatic and long-grain texture, you can experiment with other long-grain rice varieties. Adjust the cooking time and water ratio accordingly.

3. How do I prevent the rice from becoming mushy?

  • To prevent mushiness, partially cook the rice before combining it with the vegetables. This ensures that the rice finishes cooking evenly with the vegetables and retains a separate grain texture.

4. Can I make Vegetable Pulao in a rice cooker?

  • Yes, you can make Vegetable Pulao in a rice cooker. Follow the same steps of sautéing vegetables and spices separately, then add the partially cooked rice and water to the rice cooker. Allow it to cook as per your rice cooker instructions.

5. What vegetables can I use in Vegetable Pulao?

  • You can use a variety of vegetables such as carrots, peas, beans, corn, bell peppers, and potatoes. Choose a colorful assortment for both visual appeal and nutritional variety.

6. Can I make Vegetable Pulao in advance?

  • Yes, Vegetable Pulao can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat it gently before serving, and you may need to add a bit of water to restore moisture.

7. Can I freeze Vegetable Pulao?

  • Freezing may affect the texture of the rice, making it slightly mushy upon thawing. It’s best enjoyed fresh or stored in the refrigerator for a short period.

8. Is Vegetable Pulao gluten-free?

  • Yes, Vegetable Pulao is naturally gluten-free as it primarily consists of rice, vegetables, and spices. Ensure that the spices and any additional ingredients you use are gluten-free.

9. How can I adjust the spice level in Vegetable Pulao?

  • You can control the spice level by varying the quantity of green chilies and red chili powder. Adjust according to your taste preferences.

10. Can I add nuts to Vegetable Pulao?

  • Yes, you can add toasted nuts like cashews or almonds as a garnish. Add them towards the end of the cooking process or as a final touch before serving for added texture.