Friday, February 7, 2014

Quick easy mixed vegetable pulao ( pilaf)

For the longest, making vegetable pulao for me was a long-drawn process to be saved only for weekends when I had the time. I used to always think you have to grind and make a coriander/ cilantro or mint based green paste then sauté this, do that... Just thinking about it used to tire me out. My mother-in-law broke that myth for me. To date, her vegetable pulao is the best! Every time she visited us, I just couldn't stop eating! I decided to learn the recipe from her. It is simple, quick and absolutely lip-smacking! My husband's all-time favorite! Here's the recipe.

Servings: 4


Basmati Rice : 2 cups
Ghee( clarified butter):1tbsp
Olive oil: 2 tbsp
Onion: 2 medium chopped
Garlic : 5 cloves chopped fine
Ginger: 1 inch chopped fine
Green chillies: 4 chopped fine
Tomato: 1 medium chopped
Frozen Mixed vegetables: 11/2 cups
Mushrooms: sliced 1 cup( optional).
Soya chunks: 1/2 cup
Cashew nut : 1 tbsp chopped(optional)
Garam masala: 1 tbsp
Haldi ( turmeric powder):1 tsp
Water: 4 cups + 1 cup
Salt to taste


Wash basmati rice thoroughly and keep aside 15-30 mins before adding it to the pan.

Boil one cup water with a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat, add the soya chunks and keep it aside for 10-15 mins. Then squeeze the excess water out of the soya chunks and keep it in a separate bowl.

In a sauté pan/wok/pressure cooker heat olive oil and ghee. Add chopped garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add chopped ginger and again sauté for 30 seconds. Now add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown. Add chopped cashew nuts and strained soya chunks. Then add chopped tomatoes and green chillies and sauté for 3-4 mins until the tomatoes are wilted. Now add haldi( turmeric) powder and garam masala powder, sauté for a minute. Add the drained basmati rice and sauté for 2-3 mins or until the rice crackles. Add the mixed vegetables.Now add 4 cups of boiling hot water and salt. Mix well. Once you see the liquid is boiling, reduce the flame to low, cover it and cook for 15 mins. (If adding mushrooms,mix it in at the end of 10 mins).After 15 mins, switch off the flame,fluff the rice . Keep it covered for another 15 mins before serving.

Serve hot with raita or plain cucumber salad.

I love mine with slices of avocados .

Cooking made easy:

  • Learn to use what is available in your pantry. There is no hard and fast rule for cooking. We can always improvise, experiment within reason.
  • Any combination of mixed vegetables can be used for pulao.I used frozen mixed vegetable comprising of peas, carrots, beans and corn.You can use fresh vegetables of your choice.
  • You can use ghee alone for the pulao. I use a combination of oil & ghee to make it a little less fattening.
  • Instead of fresh ginger and garlic, ginger garlic paste can be used if you are in a rush.
  • The reason for adding mushrooms towards the end is to avoid overcooking the mushrooms.
  • Make sure that you use hot water and not cold. This makes cooking faster.
  • If using pressure cooker, do not put the weight ( whistle) on.
  • Fluffing the rice at the end of 15 mins ensures that the top layer of the rice does not get hard.

Tip for Healthy Living:

Incorporate at least 20-30 mins of physical activity into your day. This could be any type of recreational activity you like or just part of your daily life. For example: walking briskly to the busy stop, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This not only burns calories but also improves your general health and facilitates a sense of well-being.

Food for thought:

Desire is the root cause of misery.(Buddha)