Switch on your instant pot to saute and wait for the display panel to show HOT. Add the oil, followed by the sliced onions. Saute the onions until they are reddish-brown.
Add the garlic and rice and fry in the oil and onions for 1 minute.
Add the vegetable broth, chilli flakes, garam masala, salt and mushrooms. Mix everything well, cancel saute and close the lid. Press the pressure cook button (high) and set the timer for 4 minutes. Make sure the steam release handle is on sealing.
When the timer beeps, wait for 5 minutes, then release pressure by turning the steam release handle to venting. Open the pot, fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot with a salad of your choice.
The onions should be fried a reddish-brown for a good looking pulao. Be careful not to over-brown them as the rice will turn slightly bitter if the onions are burnt. You can fry them pinkish brown, of course, for a light colored pulao.
Stick to the rice and liquid ratio for perfectly separated and fluffy grains of rice. 1 cup of uncooked rice requires 1 ¼ cups water or broth. If you increase the rice, increase the liquid accordingly.
Don't forget to fry the rice in the oil for a minute before adding the broth. When rice is fried briefly before cooking, it imparts a nutty, rich aroma to the final dish.
I used white button mushrooms in this recipe because they are so easily available, but you can use any other variety or even two or three varieties in this pulao.
Adjust the amount of chilli flakes depending on how hot or mild you want the pulao to be.
If the broth you are using has salt in it (which it usually does unless you specifically look for salt-free broth), reduce the amount of salt you add to the recipe.