For soaking rice
- 1.5 cups basmati rice – 300 grams, rinsed & soaked for 30 minutes
- water – as required for soaking
- ½ to ¾ cup chopped cauliflower florets
- ½ to ¾ cup chopped potatoes
- ¼ cup chopped carrots
- ⅓ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup chopped green peas (french beans)
- ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper (capsicum) – optional
- ¼ cup sliced baby corn – optional
- 3 tablespoons Ghee or oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced onions or 1 large onion, sliced
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
- 1 to 1.5 inches ginger – crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
- 4 to 5 small to medium garlic cloves
- 1 to 2 green chillies (chili pepper)
- 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves – optional
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice – optional
- 2.5 to 3 cups water or veg stock * check notes below for details. I added 3 cups of water
- salt as required
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
- 5 to 6 whole black pepper – optional
- 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
- 4 cloves
- 3 to 4 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom – optional
- 1 small piece of mace – optional
- 1 small star anise – optional
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 small piece of stone flower (dagad phool or patthar ke phool) – optional
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves
Rinse rice till the water runs clear of starch and become transparent while rinsing.
Soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes. Drain all the water and keep the soaked rice aside.
Rinse, peel and chop the vegetables.
Crush chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste in a mortar-pestle or grind them in a small mixer or grinder with a bit of water.
Frying spices and onions
In a deep thick bottomed pot or pan, heat ghee or oil and fry all the whole spices mentioned above, till the oil becomes fragrant and the spices splutter.
Add the onions and saute them till golden. Saute the onions on a low to medium-low flame and stir often for uniform browning.
Add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and saute for some seconds till their raw aroma goes away.
Add the tomatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a low to medium-low flame.
Add all the chopped veggies and saute again for 1 to 2 minutes on a low to medium-low flame.
Add rice and saute gently for 1 to 2 minutes on a low or medium-low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil.
Add water and lemon juice. Mix and stir.
Season with salt and stir again.
Cooking veg pulao
Cover tightly and let the rice cook on a low flame, till the water is absorbed and the rice is well cooked.
Check in between a few times to check if the water is enough. Depending on the quality of rice, you may need to add less or more water. With a fork too, you can gently stir the rice without breaking the rice grains.
Once the rice grains are cooked, fluff and let the rice stand for 5 minutes.
Serve pulao hot with some side salad, sliced onion & lemon wedges or raita. You can also garnish it with chopped coriander or mint leaves or fried cashews or fried onions.