This Kashmiri pulao recipe is a superb rice dish from Northern India that you will love. Long grain Basmati rice is cooked in ghee, spices, saffron, and milk and mixed with fried onions, dried and fresh fruit. Serve this fragrant pulao solo or as a side with other dishes. Made in the instant pot.
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Here's a festive rice dish for the festive season: Kashmiri Pulao!
There's nothing like this fruit-laden pulao if you're looking for a rich and elegant rice recipe to serve while entertaining. It is very different from the usual fare, and it is the perfect complement to those heavy and spicy qormas or kebabs. It's fun, colorful and quite luscious with not a hint of spice. In fact, it is slightly sweet thanks to the raisins, apple and pomegranate sprinkled like jewels in it. Not overpoweringly sweet since there is no added sugar, but pleasingly sweet. So, without further ado, let's get going with this mild but quite pretty rice pulao from Kashmir!
- Exact quantities are given in the recipe card further down.
- Besides the ingredients pictured below, you will need three tablespoons pure ghee (clarified butter), one tablespoon rose water and ¼ cups plain water.
- Rose water (affiliate link) adds a pleasing aroma to the pulao, but it is optional.
How to make kashmiri pulao in the instant pot
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, drain it, and keep aside.
- Warm the milk in a glass bowl in the microwave and add 10-15 saffron strands to it.
- Peel, core, and dice the apple into small pieces and and keep aside, covered.
- Peel the pomegranate fruit and remove the seeds; keep them aside in a small bowl, covered.
- Switch on your instant pot to the sauté setting and add the ghee. When it melts, add the almonds and cashews and fry gently until they turn golden brown. Remove from the ghee and set aside in a small bowl. Cancel sauté and add the raisins. They will bloom and puff up in the hot ghee in a few seconds. As soon as they do, remove them and add them to the same bowl in which you kept aside the fried almonds and cashews.
- Press sauté again, add the sliced onions to the same ghee, and fry until reddish brown. Take out the fried onions with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Now, add the whole spices (green and black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaf) to the ghee and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
- Add the rinsed rice to the pot and sauté for one minute.
- Cancel sauté. Add the saffron soaked milk, water, and salt. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release vent is sealed. Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to four minutes.
- When the timer beeps, wait for five minutes, then release the remaining pressure. Open the pot, add the rose water (if using), and fluff the rice.
- Add the ingredients you set aside earlier: apple, pomegranate, almonds, cashews, raisins, and fried onions. Mix them gently with the rice. Spoon out the pulao in a dish or platter and serve warm.
Here's a picture of the steps from 3-6.
Some essential tips
- Do use long-grain Basmati rice (affiliate link) for this recipe. Good quality rice makes for a good quality pulao: this is the golden rule for Indian rice dishes.
- Again, use a good quality saffron (affiliate link) for making this pulao. It gives a lovely golden color and aroma to rice. However, a note of caution: do not go overboard with the saffron and add more than the recipe calls for. It can easily overwhelm other flavors if used in excess.
- Psst...saffron is really the best choice, but if it is not an option, you can use the tiniest pinch of yellow food color too. And I do mean the tiniest pinch! As less as you can go, literally. It won't have the distinct warm flavor of saffron, but at least your pulao will not be stark white in color!
- You can substitute ghee (affiliate link) for oil if you are vegan. If not, stick with ghee as it imparts a lovely aroma to the pulao.
- Be careful while frying the dried fruit as well as onions; they can easily turn darker than they should or even burn if you don't remove them quickly from the hot ghee.
- This pulao tastes best when warm. It should not be piping hot or cold when eaten.
- You can add small pineapple chunks to the pulao, or even dried cranberries in addition to the apples and pomegranate. It will taste even nicer!
- Fluff the rice with a fork after opening the pot. Mentioned earlier, but if you don't fluff it now, it will clump together and be hard to separate when it cools down.
More vegetarian rice recipes you might like
- Cumin Rice or Zeera Rice - steamed, aromatic Basmati rice flavored with cumin and other whole spices. Ready in 20 minutes!
- Instant Pot Kheer - a rich and creamy Indian pudding made with rice, milk, sugar and nuts. You won't be able to say no to this chilled dessert!
- Vegetable Pulao - Basmati rice, mixed vegetables of your choice plus a few whole spices come together in a one-pot recipe that will be a sure hit at the dinner table!
- Lemon Rice - a beautiful, sunshine-yellow dish with lemon, anti-inflammatory turmeric, and the crunch of roasted peanuts and lentils.
Kashmiri Pulao (Instant Pot Fruit Pulao)
- 6-quart Instant Pot Duo
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 10 almonds skins on
- 10 cashews
- 20 raisins
- 1 small red onion sliced fine
- 2 green cardamom
- 1 black cardamom
- 2 cloves
- 1-2 small cinnamon sticks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup long-grain Basmati rice
- 1 cup whole milk
- 10-12 strands saffron
- ¼ cup plain water
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon rose water optional
- ½ cup apple peeled and diced
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Soak the saffron in warm milk and keep aside.
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, drain, and keep aside.
- Peel and dice the apple into small pieces
- Peel and deseed the pomegranate.
- Switch on your instant pot to sauté and add the ghee. When it melts, add the almonds and cashews. Fry to a golden-brown doneness, then remove and keep aside.
- Cancel sauté and add the raisins. They will bloom and puff up immediately in the hot ghee. Remove them and keep aside.
- Press sauté again and fry the onion until it is reddish-brown. Remove and keep aside.
- Add the whole spices and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the rinsed rice and fry it in the ghee for a minute.
- Cancel sauté. Add the saffron-soaked milk, water, and salt and mix well. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release vent is sealed. Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 4 minutes.
- When the timer beeps, wait 5 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure. Open the pot and add the rose water if using. Fluff the rice with a fork.
- Add the fried almonds, cashews, raisins, apple, pomegranate, and fried onions. Gently mix together with the rice. Serve warm.
- Use long-grain Basmati rice and a good quality saffron for this recipe.
- Substitute ghee for a neutral oil if you are vegan.
- Don't add more saffron than the recipe calls for since it can easily overwhelm the dish. If saffron is not available, you can use a very small pinch of yellow food color.
- Fluff the rice with a fork after opening the pot or it will clump together if it cools down in the pot itself.
- Add or subtract the fruit according to your preference. You can use pineapple chunks or dried cranberries too in this recipe.