Flavor Burst: Minimalist Pulao

Rice. It is synonymous for food to a lot of us. It is hardly a surprise, given that rice is the most consumed grain in the whole world. History has it that in many parts of the world, eating rice symbolizes prosperity and happiness. Now that’s not hard to fathom, is it? This thought reminds me of the famous saying (famous for me at least) by a “mami” in our neighborhood back in India. In her own choicest words “Rice wonly fulfills stomach!” Right on! J 

The JFI pick for this month is Rice, hosted by wonderful Sharmi of Neivedyam. Now, when you are posed with an ingredient like Rice for JFI, how do you zero in on a dish you would want to showcase?! For me, the choice was simple: to pick a dish that brings out the flavor of rice.


I call this minimalist because of the few ingredients used and the ease with which you can whip this pulao up. And take my word for it – there is nothing minimalist about its flavor. This is a recipe from my Mom, who is an exceptional cook and my inspiration. She calls this “white pulao” or “plain pulao.” My take is that this is one heck of a colorful pulao and it is far from being plain. So, dear reader, I now present to you the Minimalist Pulao!


You’ll need: 

  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of mixed chopped “pulao kind” vegetables (I used carrot, green beans, green peas and yellow bell pepper)
  • 1 small yellow/white onion, sliced
  • 3 green chilies/jalapenos, slit (adjust to your taste)
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 inch stick of cinnamon bark
  • 4 pods of green cardamom
  • 2 small or 1 large dried bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ghee (optional)
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash and soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes
  • In the meantime, chop the vegetables and thaw green peas if using frozen
  • Heat the oil and ghee in a pot and add the whole spices – cloves, cinnamon, whole cardamoms and bay leaves
  • Stir for a few seconds, taking care not to scorch them
  • Add the sliced onions and green chilies. Sauté until onion is just transparent. Do not brown them!
  • Add the rest of the chopped vegetables, season with salt, stir and cover the pot. Let the vegetables soften just a tad, about 4 minutes on medium heat
  • Now turn up the heat to High and add the soaked rice along with the water into the pot. Stir well to combine
  • Let this whole mixture come to a rolling boil on high heat. Leave it on for 5 minutes
  • When the water seems to have evaporated quite a bit and the rice grains look plump, turn down the heat to low (I set it to 3 on my gas mark), gently mix, cover the pot and let the pulao cook, about 12 minutes or so, until the rice and vegetables are cooked through
  • Fluff with a fork and serve with raita or simple dal

Here is another look:




25 thoughts on “Flavor Burst: Minimalist Pulao

  1. God, that looks absolutely scrummy… and now I’m hungrier than ever! It’s only 10.30am and I’m at work and soooooooo hungry! Serves me right for skipping breakfast in favour of 15 more minutes in bed…

  2. My mom makes a pulao exactly like this one! Haven’t made this in a while….thanks for the reminder.
    It truely is minimalist….looks are deceptive though, right?

  3. Hiya, I’ve got to give thanks the entire autor among the blog. Just about all is pretty obvious and good. The theory can also be great in my view. Do you amuse tel for me is there much structure can you employ? cheers when also keep the good function.

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