This is one of my favourite ‘one pot comfort food’! This dish is for those evenings when I feel like pampering myself with some yummy nutritious food which requires minimum effort. The incredible thing about this pulao is that you can add any vegetables that you like, and it will turn out delicious.
This is an amazingly simple recipe made with basmati rice and lots of vegetables. People often wonder what ‘pulao’ means. It is basically cooking rice using the absorption method. While preparing pulao, the amount of water is completely absorbed by the rice and vegetables and this makes the rice even more flavour some.
Another thing I really like about this pulao recipe is that you do not need lots of ingredients. I do not like to over complicate my food by adding lots and lots of ingredients. Too many spices and ingredients can sometimes over complicate and take away the simplicity of food. In this pulao recipe, you can taste all the vegetables and has an aromatic mild flavour of basmati rice.
Wash the rice in running water at least 3 times. Soak the rice in double the amount of water for about an hour.
Drain the soaked rice.
Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds and bay leaf. When the cumin seeds begin to crackle add the carrots, peas, beans and potatoes and sauté very gently.
Next add the rice, salt, and water. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
Add cauliflower, garam masala, black pepper and red chilli powder and stir gently and cover once again.
Cook for about 7 minutes on low flame.
After 7 minutes all water should have been absorbed.
The rice is ready to serve on its own or with raita!
Tips & Variations
1. Choose the right type of rice. I would highly recommend choosing the best quality basmati rice or any long grain rice for this dish.
2. It is particularly important to prepare the rice well which means rinsing the rice at least three times till the water is clear. This helps to clear the excess starch and will make the rice non sticky.
3. I always recommend soaking the rice for an hour or if you are short of time then at least for 20 to 25 minutes because well soaked rice will expand and cook well and each strand of rice will be long and fluffy.
4. While tempering, do not let the cumin seeds turn dark in colour as it will give a burnt flavour to the pulao.
5. The rice needs exceptionally light hand while mixing so always turn it gently.
6. Although traditionally this recipe is made with basmati rice you can use any type of rice like long grain rice, brown rice, or Spanish rice.
7. The quantity of water is always double the quantity of rice. So, if you are making 1 cup rice you will need 2 cups of water.
8. You can add some fried onions on the top before serving for that extra scrumptious flavour sensation.
9. You can add black pepper and garam masala while adding salt. I like to add the spices halfway as it enhances the flavour and gives an aroma to the pulao.
10. You can use frozen vegetables too for this pulao. Defrost the vegetables in warm water before using.
11. It is important that you should know the cooking time of each vegetable and need to add them accordingly to make sure that everything finishes cooking together perfectly at the end. I always start with the hardy vegetables like carrots, baby corn, potato, beans etc and then next is cauliflower, mushrooms, and peppers.
12. You can also sauté, one thinly slices onion when you add cumin. Onions gives a smokey, sweet flavour to the rice.
13. You can also add fried tofu, paneer while cooking the pulao.
14. You can use butter/ oil instead of ghee.
15. You can sprinkle some finely chopped coriander or even mint before serving.
16. You can add other whole spices like mace, black cardamom, cinnamon, star anise as well.
17. Cover the pan tightly with a lid while cooking the rice.
18. Once you turn off the heat, the rice continues to cook with the residual heat. So, I would suggest taking the lid off to allow some heat to escape. However, if you feel the rice is slightly undone then leave it covered for 5 minutes. On the contrary if you feel that the rice has not cooked completely you can add a few more tablespoons of water and cover and cook the rice for a few minutes.