Mamta's Kitchen

Mixed Vegetable Pulao/Pilaf Rice

Mixed Vegetable Pulao or Tahri

Mamta Gupta


This is a quick and tasty rice dish to make, following in my mother's footsteps. See always made it this way, adding the deep fried onions as a garnish. It can be eaten on its own as a full meal, served with natural yoghurt, Sweet Mango Chutney, pickles and papars (papadoms) or served as part of any Indian meal. Cook in a pan or in a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Serves 4

Pulao looks very nice if you add black tea to the cooking water, instead of turmeric. See last picture.

Edited January 2022


  • 500 gm. Basmati or any good quality rice

  • 100 gm. mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen (carrots, cauliflowers, peas, potatoes). I mostly use frozen ones these days.

  • 1 tbsp. oil or ghee

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds*

  • 2 whole large brown cardamoms *

  • 4 small green cardamoms *

  • 4 cloves *

  • 1 small stick of cinnamon *

  • 2 bay leaves *

  • 5-6 peppercorns (whole black peppers *

  • *All these spices when ground together, make Garam Masala - if you do not have these whole spices, use ground garam masala instead, but add it later at step 11).

  • 2 medium sized onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped roughly

  • level tsp turmeric (optional)

  • 1 litre water (double the amount of rice in volume)

  • Salt to taste

  • Optional: Small handful of cashew nuts, almonds etc. for garnish

  • Optional 4-5 Punjabi baries, broken up into small pieces, to be added along with vegetables

  • Optional: either 3/4 tsp. turmeric or a cup of strong black tea, to replace 1 cup of measured water


  1. Wash and drain rice in a sieve. There is no need to soak.

  2. Prepare vegetables.

  3. If using fresh vegetables, put them in boiling water and simmer for two minutes. Drain and keep aside. Frozen ones can be added as they are.

  4. Boil water for cooking the rice.

  5. Heat oil or ghee in a pan with a tight fitting lid.

  6. Add all spices marked * and let the cumin seeds splutter.

  7. Add sliced onions if using these, and fry until nicely browned. Remove half the onions and keep aside for garnish later on.

  8. Add peas/mixed vegetables/cauliflower florets/potatoes etc., and turmeric (if using). Stir-fry on high heat for a minute or so.

  9. Add rice and stir in gently for a 1/2 a minute, to coat each rice grain with oil.

  10. Add salt.

  11. Add boiling water. I tend not to measure water and use just enough to cover the rice and 1/2 inch above the rice. You can use 1 litre water for 500 gm. rice. If using black tea, add it as part of the measured water here.

  12. Let the rice come to a brisk boil for 10 seconds. Add ground Garam Masala here if you have not used whole spices marked*.

  13. Lower heat to minimum, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Try not to peek in every few minutes. You can cook rice in a rice cooker too, instructions are same. If cooking in a pressure cooker, bring to full pressure and turn it off after about 1 minute. Allow to cool, before releasing pressure.

  14. Once cooked, fluff up with a fork. Take care not to break the rice when transferring to a serving dish.

  15. Serve hot, garnished with fried onions and cashew nuts/almonds, if using, along with popadoms/papars, pickles, yoghurt and sweet mango chutney.


  • *For a south Indian flavour, replace whole spices with a full tsp. of mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves.

  • A different flavour is obtained by adding a few strands of saffron while the rice is boiling.

  • Turmeric will give rice a yellow colour and black tea will give a fried look. Use one or the other, not both.

  • BBQ Biryani Pulao: Cook rice as per your recipe, but leave it a little undercooked. Make small parcels, one parcel per person, wrapped in aluminium foil. Place them on BBQ for a few minutes to heat. Serve straight from the BBQ.

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