Vegetable Pulao

August 10, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

Recipe: Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao is a one pot, delicious,aromatic and a filling rice dish. It is a popular Indian Cuisine recipe which every household has its own version of this easy recipe. What I like about making vegetable pulao is that once you have all the ingredients at hand it makes a perfect lazy Sunday or any day meal.

Serve it with a side of pickles, raita, papad, kadhi. I love making this pulao, pilau, pilaf recipe at least once a week as it allows me to use a variety of vegetables. Go on give this recipe a try and add vegetables of your choice.

I usually make vegetable pulao either on the stove top in a big pan, in the rice cooker or pressure cooker too. Nowadays I find making it in the instant pot super easy.

This recipe is a stove top one but check out the video for the Instant Pot version.

What Is A Pulao?

Pulao is also known as pilaf, pilau in different parts of the world. It basically is a rice dish and in some regions a wheat based dish which is cooked in a stock or broth with spices, vegetables, meat, etc. It is a one pot meal or sometimes served with a curry. For example in many parts of the Middle East and North African countries, pilaf is usually made from couscous or bulgur wheat. Many parts of India make dahlia pulao which is made from broken wheat.

Difference Between Pulao and Biryani

  • Usually for biryani the rice is parboiled, drained and layered with vegetables, meat and cooked covered.
  • For pulao, the rice is cooked in water, stock or broth along with the vegetables, meat, etc.
  • Mostly, a lot of different spices, dry fruits and nuts are used in a generous amount for biryanis.
  • Meat, paneer, etc used for biryanis are usually marinated. We normally don’t do that for pulaos.

Some experts claim that there is no such thing as Vegetable Pulao. Pulao originally are meat based and sometimes vegetables too were added. However, I feel like so many dishes that arrived into India over time and history, we have adapted them to suit our tastes and requirements. Hence, Vegetable Pulao is no different.

Some Rice Dishes That You May Like From My Blog:

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Mujaddara is an inexpensive, gluten free, vegan, healthy, flavorful and filling main dish. The main flavour of this rice dish comes from the caramelized onions. It is usually served with a salad and some yogurt, hummus or tahini sauce.
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Moong Dal Khichdi is a wholesome, comforting and nutritious meal. Enjoy it with some vegetables, kadhi, papad and sliced onion.
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Ingredients Required For Vegetable Pulao

  • Rice – best to use basmati rice if possible. Can replace white rice with brown or red one. Cooking time will vary.
  • Water – use stock or broth if you have any. The amount of liquid required to cook the rice will depend on the type and quality of rice. Old rice needs a bit more water, fresh rice needs less.
  • Coconut Milk – optional. I like to use coconut milk. If you don’t add coconut milk, replace the amount with water, stock or broth.
  • Ghee – clarified butter. For a vegan version replace it with any vegetable oil or coconut oil.
  • Mixed Vegetables – you can use peas, carrots, potatoes, corn, french beans, kidney beans, chickpea, mushroom, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Which ever vegetables you use make sure they are chopped more or less to the size of the peas or corn. The total amount of vegetables is roughly about 2 cups.  Besides vegetables and beans feel free to add paneer too.
  • Onion – peeled and sliced. I like to use a little extra onion as it adds so much flavour. Therefore, I tend to use 1 large one.
  • Garlic – peeled and minced or finely chopped.
  • Green Chillis – I prefer to use chilli paste.
  • Ginger – peel and grated or minced.
  • Whole Spices – Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Bay Leaf, Star Anise, Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, whole dry red chillis.
  • Spices – turmeric powder, asafoetida, pulao spice mixture or garam masala. I like to use my Homemade Biryani Masala.
  • Cashew Nuts – cut into big pieces. Can use any nuts of your choice.
  • Raisins – I love adding raisins. Feel free to add any dried fruit of your choice or omit it.
  • Salt– add according to your taste.


Vegetable Pulao is a one pot, delicious,aromatic and a filling rice dish. It is a popular Indian Cuisine recipe which every household has its own version of this easy recipe.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Main Meal, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables raw
  • 1 cup onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 - 8 peppercorns
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 - 6 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp garam masala or pulao spice mixture


  • Wash the rice and soak it in 1 cup of water till you get the vegetables ready.
  • Prepare the vegetables. Cut them all in almost equal size. I like them to be roughly the size of the peas or corn.
  • Heat oil and ghee in a deep pan over medium heat.
  • When it is hot, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, red chilli, star anise, bay leaf and peppercorns. Stir fry for a few minutes.
  • Add mustard and cumin seeds.
  • When they begin to sizzle, add the asafoetida and sliced onions.
  • Stir fry them till they become soft and light brown in colour.
  • Add garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add the ginger and green chilli pastes. Mix well.
  • Add the cashew nuts and raisins. Stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add turmeric powder and biryani masala or garam masala. Stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add the vegetables and mix well. Add the rice with the water , coconut milk and salt. Mix well gently.
  • Cover the pan and cook over low heat till the rice is done. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat when the pulao is done. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before you serve.
  • Serve hot vegetable pulao with yogurt, papad, papdi, raita, kadhi, pickles of your choice.


  • You may need an extra ¼ - ½ cup water as the amount required all depends on the rice. Check while the rice is cooking. If the water is over and the rice feels a bit raw add hot water.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste.
  • Vegetable Pulao tastes good when served with plain yogurt, raita or kadhi.
  • Add vegetables of your choice.
Keyword how to make veg pilaf, veg pulao recipe, vegetable pulao recipe

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  • Shobha Keshwani

    August 21, 2022 at 12:48 am

    5 stars
    My family loves pulaos. This is really very scrumptious pulao with all the veggies and spices. I like the addition of coconut milk. It must have given a nice taste to it.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2022 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks Shobha, and coconut adds a lovely subtle taste to the pulao.

  • Neha

    August 21, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    5 stars
    Vegetable Pulao has been an ever loving dish in our family. If you have an assortment of veggies on hand, then this is the dish to go for. I noticed that you have added coconut milk which I have never thought of adding. It must be giving a creamy texture to the pulao. Lovely combo of raita and pulao. A bliss!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      Neha thank you so much. This is a coastal habit, adding coconut milk in anything and everything:). It started off with me adding leftover coconut milk and now I add as the family loves the flavour. Try it.

  • Archana

    August 25, 2022 at 1:36 am

    5 stars
    Such a yum way to spend a lazy weekend. I love pulaos especially the one that use a lot of veggies. Use coconut milk and it’s icing on the cake. Definitely will love with raita, papad and a siesta.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2022 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you so much Archana, a siesta is a must after the delicious meal of vegetable pulao.. will come naturally especially if you have used ghee.

  • Priya Vj

    August 26, 2022 at 11:27 am

    5 stars
    I love vegetable pulao anytime of the day. Such a filling and comfort meal ..easy to put together as well . Love yhe fluffy and grainy rice in the pulao you have made …

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 26, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      Thank you so much Priya, the older the rice gets, the more the grains separate on cooking. New rice becomes mushy.

  • Kalyani

    September 4, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    5 stars
    VEg Pulao with that onions on the side looks very inviting. ! you are right – every family has their own version and each version of veg pulao is delicious ! my kids simply love this anytime of the week…

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 6, 2022 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much Kalyani… a versatile recipe for sure. We too love it.

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