main ingredients for veg pulao:
1.5 cups long grained or basmati rice soaked for 30 minutes
¼ cup heaped EACH of chopped potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, french beans, green peas (fresh or frozen) and carrots – OR 1 to 1.5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 medium size tomato, chopped
½ inch ginger + 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves + 1 green chili – crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
6 to 7 drops of lime juice
2.5 to 3 cups water or veg stock * check notes below for details. i added 3 cups of water
2 tablespoon ghee or 2.5 tablespoon oil
salt as required
whole spices for veg pulao:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera) OR ¾ teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
4 to 5 whole black pepper (sabut kali mirch)
1 tej patta (indian bay leaf or tamalpatra)
2 to 3 cloves (laung or lavang)
2 to 3 green cardamoms (hari elaichi or choti elaichi)
1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
2 single strands of mace (jayitri or javitri)
1 small star anise (chakriphool)
1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
1 small piece of stone flower (dagad phool or patthar ke phool) – optional
rinse rinse till the water runs clear of starch and become transparent while rinsing.
soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes. drain and keep aside.
in a deep thick bottomed pot or pan, heat ghee/oil and fry all the whole spices mentioned above, till the oil becomes fragrant
add the onions and saute them till golden. saute the onions on a low flame and stir often for uniform browning.
add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and saute for 10 to 12 seconds.
add the tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes on a low flame.
add all the veggies and saute again for 2-3 minutes on a low flame.
add drained rice and saute gently for 2 minutes on a low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil.
pour water and stir.
sprinkle 6 to 7 drops of lime juice. season with salt and stir again.
cover tightly and let the rice cook on a low flame, till the water is absorbed and the rice is well cooked. check in between a few times to check if the water is enough. depending on the quality of rice, you may need to add less or more water. with a fork too, you can gently stir the rice without breaking the rice grains.
once the rice grains are cooked, fluff and let the rice stand for 5 minutes.
serve the veg pulao hot with some side salad, sliced onion & lemon wedges or raita. you can also garnish veg pulao with chopped coriander or mint leaves