Vegetable Pulao/Pilaf

A Pulao is a simple, easy, quick and mildly flavored rice usually made with Basmati rice and some aromatics like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, etc.,. Add vegetables, cubed fried tofu, cubed paneer, green peas, chickpeas, mushrooms, etc for added flavor and a complete meal. It is a quick fix meal for weekday lunches or dinner. This can be eaten even at room temperature so makes for good lunchbox or travel food as well.

I usually make it with long grain white rice popular in India called the Basmati rice. But a few years ago, through a food blogger, I came to know of a South Indian rice variety called the Seeraga Samba, that is traditionally used to make meat based Biriyanis in Tamil Nadu (a southern state in India). It was love at first bite…even though I made vegetarian rice varieties with them!! I love how light and fragrant they are which contributes to the overall flavor of pulao/biriyani.

Seeraga Samba Vegetable Pulao – Vegan India

In Tamil Nadu it is BIRIYANI….not Biryani ! Growing up I never ate biriyani because I grew up in a household that predominantly ate Satvik food. My introduction to Biryani or Biriyani was only after I moved to the USA. Dinner parties and potlucks introduced me to a whole array of dishes and ingredients. Biriyani was one of them. As long as it wasn’t overtlt spicy, I enjoyed it.

This recipe uses the Seeraga Samba rice but you can use Basmati as well. The masala is very subtle and simple. The rice is cooked in coconut milk. In order to keep the whole dish Vegan Indian I have used coconut oil to saute the veggies. You can choose to use Ghee as well. This recipe is based on my mom’s Veg Pulao recipe. Believe me, it is absolutely delicious !

Recipe : Vegetable Pulao

Prep Time : 15 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Serves 4 Entree

Ingredients :

For the Rice :

  1. Seeraga Samba rice – 1 cup
  2. Canned coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  3. Water – 1/4 cup
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Coconut oil – 1 teaspoon

To Cook rice : Wash the rice well a couple of times. Add it to a stainless steel vessel that can be used as an inner pot in an electric pressure cooker. Add the coconut milk, water, salt and coconut oil. Mix it well and pressure cook it on High for 6 minutes. Release pressure after 3 minutes and remove the rice to a large bowl to let cool. Fluff it up with a fork and set aside.

For the Masala :

  1. Chopped vegetables of choice – 1 carrot, 1 potato, 5 green beans (use veggies of choice – cauliflower, mushrooms, green peas, etc.)
  2. Red onion – small- 1 finely chopped
  3. Ginger Garlic paste/minced – 1 teaspoon
  4. Thai green chili – 1 small – slit – optional
  5. Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Green cardamom – 2
  8. Black Cardamom – 1 – optional
  9. Cloves – 2
  10. Cinnamon stick – 2 inches
  11. Star Anise – 1
  12. Bay leaf – 1
  1. Heat a skillet or wok on medium heat and add the coconut oil to it.
  2. Once hot, add the whole garam masalas – cardamom, cloves, cinnamon bay leaf and star anise.( I put all the spices except the bay leaf in my spice grinder and powdered it well. The children seem to like this better.)
  3. Next add the chopped onions,slit green chili and some salt and saute for 3 minutes.
  4. Then add the ginger garlic pastes and cook for a minute.
  5. Add all the chopped veggies and cover and cook for 2 minutes, after 2 minutes, remove cover and cook. It is ideal to leave the veggies al dente/ with a slight crunch.
  6. Now add in the fluffed rice, mix well and check for salt. Toss the rice until mixed well and remove from heat.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of you choice – vegan yogurt raita or any curry of choice.
  8. I served it with a Vegan Tomato Korma/Kurma…my take on the Madurai Salna. Will post that recipe once I am absolutely thorough with the ingredient measurements for the desired taste:)!

This is a very forgiving and easy recipe. The flavor from the coconut milk and spices makes for a great combination. Eat it with some plain yogurt (vegetarian option) or Vegan Yogurt for a simple yet filling meal. Add protein in the form of chickpeas ot tofu or paneer.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! thank you for stopping by.

3 thoughts on “Vegetable Pulao/Pilaf

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