This pressure cooker veg pulao recipe is fragrant, fluffy and perfect every single time! Making this in an instant pot or any other pressure cooker ensures that everything cooks fast. Cooked with whole spices and lots of vegetables, this is the perfect side dish.
There is no end to how much I love rice. We basically eat it as much as possible. Which means every single day. Twice a day. It’s mostly steamed rice but once in a while when the fancy strikes, I make this pressure cooker veg pulao. Which is luxurious, fancy, fragrant and so fluffy. You’ll see in the video below.
Honestly I just love how satisfying rice can be – whether its long grain, short grain, moist, fluffy, broken. Yes I said moist because one of my favourite things to eat is overcooked rice with ladles of curry or dal on top. The rice becomes mushy and more porridge like and it’s the best kind of comfort food. I’m a little weird like that.
This recipe has so many variations. And there are so many names for it – veg pulao, veg pulav, indian pulao – it doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s always a beautiful medley of vegetables, spices and long grained rice. From what I know, rice pilaf is different because its usually cooked in stock, which gives it a brown colour unlike this pressure cooker veg pulao which is more like an egg shell colour.
What’s the difference between biryani and veg pulao?
Veg Pulao is a simple recipe where rice and vegetables are sauteed together and then boiled or pressure cooked with water till the rice is fragrant, fluffy and cooked through. It’s a one pot dish where biryani is usually made by par cooking vegetables or meat which are then layered with rice and slow cooked.
Frankly, veg pulao is the faster-to-make cousin of veg biryani, which is more labour intensive and a longer process. My mum makes a killer vegetable biryani and come to think about it, I should definitely share the recipe here for you guys! Soon, hopefully!
Top Tips for fluffy pressure cooker veg pulao
Some basic tips to make really fluffy and fragrant pressure cooker veg pulao are:
Roast the Rice: Once you add the rice, roasting or sauteing it for a few minutes until the grains are coated, look slightly translucent and start smelling nutty helps keep the grains separate so that you don’t get clumps of rice. This step only takes 2-3 minutes but its the secret to making fluffy vegetable pulao.
Don’t use par boiled vegetables: Sometimes frozen vegetables like carrots, beans or cauliflower can be parboiled before they are packaged. It’s important that the vegetables are not pre-cooked or they will turn to mush. Except green peas which hold their shape.
Water to Rice ratio: The general ratio for cooking rice is 2:1, but since we are pressure cooking the pulao, we are reducing it slightly here because the steam continues cooking the rice.
This is definitely a super easy, one pot side dish recipe that never ever fails to satisfy, especially if you love rice as much as I do!
I hope you try it and love it!
Watch Pressure Cooker Veg Pulao Video (Step by Step Recipe)
I made quite a few mistakes in this video (like not roasting the rice) but I hope you still like it 🙁
Pressure Cooker Veg Pulao (Rice Pilaf)
- 2 tablespoons Ghee
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Star Anise
- 4 Whole Cardamom
- 4 Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seeds Shahjeera
- 2 Green Chillies slit lengthwise
- 1 Onion sliced or chopped (large)
- 1/2 inch Ginger grated
- 1 1/2 cups Long grain Basmati Rice soaked in water for half an hour
- 1 cup Carrots chopped
- 1/2 cup French Beans chopped
- 2 Potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup Green Peas fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder / Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Salt
- 2 1/2 cups Water
- Turn on the Instant Pot and switch on 'saute function'. Heat ghee in the pot and add all the whole spices (bay leaf, star anise, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and caraway seeds). Saute for a minute till fragrant and add green chillies, onions and ginger. Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pot. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes till it smells nutty.
- Add the remaining ingredients (veggies, spices, salt and water), mix well and lock the lid in place. Turn the knob to sealing, and select 'manual' for 8 minutes at high pressure. Once the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally for five minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually. Top with crispy fried onions and enjoy.
- To cook in a traditional pressure cooker, follow the instructions as is, and cook on high heat for two whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Top with crispy fried onions and enjoy.
- Serving Suggestions for Veg Pulao: Veg pulao tastes best with cucumber raita, but it's a great side dish and goes well with pretty much anything including grilled chicken, curries and dal.
- Quality of Rice: Long grain, good quality aged basmati rice is best in this recipe. I've never tried this with short grained rice.
- Salt: I've given a range for the amount of salt you need in this recipe, because it changes based on taste. Start with 1 tablespoon and taste once cooked and then adjust if you need.