Sunday, November 23, 2008

Basil Flavored Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable pulao is one of those dishes I have been making since my first experiments with cooking and the one I do not get bored with. Its a great dish to make for a quick meal or even for one of the big meal events such as a dinner party or a pot luck. So it was one of those days where I opened my fridge to see an assorted variety of vegetables staring at me. I decided to make pulao but didnt have mint to make my usual version. But then, my grind-and-freeze habit came to my rescue (whenever I have an excess of mint, cilantro or basil I try to grind it up and store the paste in freezer) - I had some ground basil in the freezer. Time for some improvisation !!! - I decided to give my pulao recipe an Italian twist, with basil instead of mint. As with such improvisations (the ones done under "duress" :)) - the basil pulao turned out to be quite flavorful and I sure plan to make this recipe more often.

A few things to note - basil flavor is pretty subtle here so make sure to limit the amount of garam masala as it can easily overpower the basil flavor. Soaking rice in salted water ensures that the grains remain separate and the rice doesnt turn mushy. Use a 1:1 measure of rice to water if you are going to soak the rice. You can always add more along the way. But if you do not have time to soak the rice, do go ahead and use the usual 1:2 (rice:water) or the measure you would normally use.


2 cups basmati rice
11/2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, peas, beans, bell peppers etc)
2 medium onions, chopped

4 green chillies, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp finely chopped ginger
4 tbsp basil paste
2 tsp jeera

2 tsp fennel seeds
6 cloves
3 pods cardomam

2" stick cinnamon

2 bay leaves
2 tbsp oil

2 tsp garam masala powder(optional)
Fried cashews (optional)


  1. Soak rice in generous amounts of salted cold water for 30 - 45 min. Then drain the rice and set it aside (this is optional, see above for more details).
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add all the ingredients from jeera to bay leaves. Saute until the mixture turns brown taking care not to burn the same.
  3. Now add the chopped onions, basil paste, green chillies, garlic and ginger and saute until onions turn golden brown.
  4. Add all the vegetables, sprinkle garam masala and saute for 5 min.
  5. Transfer the contents into a microwave safe bowl or the rice cooker, add rice, required amount of salt.
  6. Pour 2 cups of water and cook until the rice is done.
  7. Garnish with fried cashews and serve with raita.
This is my entry to Srivalli's "Rice Mela".


Usha said...

Loved this variation of using basil in pulao...sounds delicious :-)

Srivalli said...

Thanks for the lovely entry!