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vegetable pulao in a bowl

Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable pulao in the instant pot is a fragrant and very satisfying rice dish that is made for busy weeknights. 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! Vegan, gluten-free and ready in 30 minutes.
Course Side/Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Indian pilaf, pressure cooked pulao, vegetable pulao
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 353kcal


  • 6-quart Instant Pot Duo or medium sized saucepan


  • 1 cup Basmati rice long gain, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 2 baby potatoes quartered
  • 5 button mushrooms quartered
  • cup cauliflower florets
  • 6-7 green beans cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 carrot small, slivered or cut into matchsticks or 1" pieces
  • 1 red onion small, sliced fine
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ginger chopped fine or grated
  • 2 Thai chilli peppers or Serrano chillies for less heat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro or parsley
  • tsp sea salt adjust to taste


Instant pot

  • Press the saute button (normal) on your instant pot and when it displays HOT, add the oil and whole spices. Let the spices sizzle in the oil for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion and ginger and sauté until the onion softens (2 minutes).
  • Add 1 cup rinsed and thoroughly drained rice and mix with a spoon to make sure it is well coated with the oil. Stir it for 2 minutes.
  • Add all the vegetables, Thai chilli peppers, sea salt and 1 ¼ cup water. Cancel the sauté mode and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle is sealed.
  • Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 4 minutes. After the timer beeps, wait for 5 minutes and then release the pressure by turning the steam release handle to venting.
  • Open the pot and fluff up the pulao with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.


  • Keep a medium-sized saucepan on the hob (medium heat) and add oil. When it is hot, add the whole spices and let them sizzle in the hot oil for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion and ginger, and sauté until the onion softens (2 minutes).
  • Add the rice and mix with a spoon to make sure it is well coated with the oil. Stir it for 2 minutes.
  • Add all the vegetables, Thai chillies, sea salt and 1 ½ cup water. Note that the water in the stovetop recipe is a little more than the instant pot. This is because there is more evaporation in an open saucepan than a pressure cooker.
  • Turn up the heat and allow the liquid to come to a roiling boil. Once the liquid is bubbling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook without stirring for about 5 minutes or until you see that that most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and veggies. 
  • Now, turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Allow the saucepan to sit on the hob for about 10 minutes. The rice will cook further in the residual heat and the steam trapped inside the pan. After 10 or 12 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro and serve hot.


  1. Don't forget to roast the rice a bit (2 minutes) after adding it to the oil and aromatics. Stir the rice until it is well-coated in the oil and looks somewhat translucent and toasted. This is how the grains become fluffy and separated after they're cooked.
  2. Keep to the rice and water ratio used in the recipe. In the instant pot, 1 cup of uncooked rice needs 1 ¼ cups water only.
  3. Don't release pressure before 5 minutes. For soft rice, you need to let it rest in its own steam for some time.
  4. Don't skimp on the ginger root. It gives a LOT of flavor to the rice pulao.
  5. Add the vegetables of your choice. Sweet peas, broccoli, corn, edamame and peppers also work.
  6. Omit the chillies for a non-spicy pulao or add a different variety like Serrano.
  7. For a more festive pulao, add toasted cashews and raisins as a garnish.


Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2648IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg