Quick vegetable pulao

May 26, 2016

When time is of the essence and a pot of comfort is badly needed, this delicately fragrant vegetable pulao with hints of cinnamon and anise rises to the occasion. I always have a sack of freshly frozen mixed vegetables at home, and no matter what the sack comprises it packs one-pot-meal punch in this pulao, especially when served with a raita and some pickle.

Pulao originated in Persia, making its way to India via Muslim invaders who formed the long lasting Mughal Empire, leaving a lasting and delectable impact on the cuisine of India. Pulao is not to be confused with biryani, which is a far more aromatic, lavish and painstaking preparation of layered meat and rice.

quick vegetable pulao


Feeds 2:

  • 1 cup raw Basmati rice
  • Half tbsp ghee
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Half tsp whole cumin
  • 1.5 cups mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Hot water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 5 raw cashewnuts


Place the rice in a sieve and wash it thoroughly until the water draining is clear not cloudy. Now leave this to sit, while you heat a medium-sized pan with the ghee on high.

When the oil is hot, drop the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, bay leaf and cumin in. As they sizzle up, mix in the rice sautéing the whole lot for a minute until the rice turns opaque white.

Now, add frozen vegetables, one and three quarter cups of hot water and stir through the salt. Bring the whole lot back to boil. When it starts bubbling, lower the flame to a high simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

In 10 minutes, take the pan off the heat and leave it to sit for another five to 10 minutes for all the moisture in the pan to dissipate and the rice to cool enough to be handled without its long grains breaking. While it is sitting, warm the oil on medium in a small egg pan and sauté the cashewnuts in it until golden.

To serve, tip the pulao onto a platter and drop the cashewnuts on top. Enjoy hot, although this quick Vegetable Pulao reheats well too.



4 Responses to “Quick vegetable pulao”

  1. anji Says:

    October 31st, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Thank you for providing a beautiful article.
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  2. Rachana Says:

    October 30th, 2018 at 9:23 am

    At time quick dishes are required, as you run out of time and your hectic schedule. I am purey Punjabi, so sharing a quick recipe which can be prepared in 15 minutes. It’s Punjabi Style Sabz Pulao. Learn the whole recipe on They have explained so well.

    Heat water in a pan and partially boil the basmati rice.
    Sieve the boiled rice.
    Heat olive oil in a pan.
    Add bay leaves cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and the chopped vegetables.
    Toss and add red chilli powder coriander powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt.
    Mix well.

  3. Polly Says:

    December 7th, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for the quick recipe. I’d like to add more vegetables and since they’re frozen, I’m wondering if you might have any ideas on how much water to adjust? I think I’d like equal parts veggies and rice, or 2 parts veggies and 1 part rice. Could that be an option?

    You can stick to the same water measurements as the frozen veg will use its own moisture to cook M x

  4. Vicki Bagatti Says:

    May 27th, 2016 at 1:33 am

    What a lovely meal to be able to make on the spur of the moment.

    You totally can’t go wrong with it! M x

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