Mamta's Kitchen

Cauliflower And Potato Pulao/Pilaf Rice

Aaloo Gobhi ki Tahri or Pulao

Geeta Gupta


This rice dish is made frequently in north Indian homes during the winter months. Cauliflower is in season then, cheap and very fresh. Street hawkers and small town markets sell freshly picked cauliflowers, having their 'regular streets and homes' they go to each day.

This 'tahri' pulao can be eaten on its own, but in our family, we serve it with natural yoghurt, Sweet Mango Chutney, some hot pickles and papads (popodoms).

Serve 4-6


  • 500 gm. Basmati or any good quality rice

  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 tbsp. ghee. You can use oil.

  • 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 *

  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric powder (optional)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder (optional)

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

  • Optional

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced carrots


  1. Prepare vegetables, onion, cauliflower, potatoes.

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

  3. Boil water separately.

  4. Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker or in a pan with a tight fitting lid.

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

  6. Add onions and fry until nicely browned.

  7. Add cauliflower florets, potatoes and turmeric and stir-fry on high heat for a minute or so.

  8. Add boiling water just 1/2 inch above the vegetables.

  9. Add rice and salt and stir in gently. You can add rice before water, if you prefer.

  10. Close pressure cooker lid and cook under pressure for 4 minutes.

  11. If cooking in a pan, let the rice come to a brisk boil for 10-20 seconds. Lower the heat to minimum, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Try not to peek in every few minutes.

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

  13. Serve hot with grilled Popodoms, pickles, yoghurt and Sweet Mango Chutney .

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

  15. In place of turmeric, you can add a cup of strong black tea as part of the water you are adding to cook it. Tea gives rice a light brown, ‘fried’ look.

  16. Rice can be garnished with sliced onions, fried until dark brown, a few cashew nuts, almonds etc.

  17. BBQ Biryani Pulao: Cook rice as per your recipe, but 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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