Coconut milk pulao step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Coconut pulao is a healthy, wholesome, and delicious rice-based dish. This vegetable and rice casserole is naturally gluten-free and vegan. Made without onion and garlic, this easy coconut pulao can be customized to add vegetables of your choice. This mildly spiced wholesome OPOS pulao made with coconut milk is perfect for lunchboxes, potlucks, and gatherings.
Making this plant-based coconut milk pilaf in your Instant Pot is really easy and it is ready in 20 minutes. It pairs well with dal or any curry of your choice. Try it with mung bean curry or black-eyed peas curry for a delicious meal.
Coconut milk is an excellent plant-based alternative to regular milk and is loaded with health benefits. It contains lauric acid which is known for providing several health benefits. Coconut milk is rich in manganese, copper, iron, and selenium (an antioxidant that protects cells). It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties and supports cardiovascular health.
I have earlier shared how to make South Indian coconut rice, which uses fresh coconut. Here is my take on making pulao using coconut milk. Read on for ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and useful tips to make this delicious OPOS coconut milk rice.
Rice: I have used Basmati rice. However, any long-grain rice can be used.
Coconut milk: Store-bought or homemade coconut milk can be used.
Spices: Whole spices that go into this pulao are cumin seeds, bay leaf, star anise, fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
Cashew: This is optional and can be skipped.
Oil: I use coconut oil; however, any regular cooking oil can be used.
Other ingredients: Green chili, ginger, and coriander leaves (cilantro).
Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add oil. Once it heats, add cumin seeds and bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, fennel seeds, and cloves (step 1).
Add cashew and fry until they are golden, around one minute (steps 2,3).
Add the vegetables (carrot, peas, green beans, and corn kernels) and salt. Saute for two minutes (steps 4,5).
Next, add the coconut milk (step 6).
Mix well and deglaze the pot (step 7). Add the soaked rice and water (steps 8,9).
Set the Instant Pot on pressure cook mode for 6 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure (steps 10,11).
Add chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). Mix gently before serving (step 12).
If the store-bought coconut milk is too creamy, thin it out with some water.
Use Basmati rice or any variety of long-grain rice to make this coconut pilaf. Also, it is important to soak the rice for 20-30 minutes.
The total amount of liquid in this recipe is 1 to 1¼. For 2 cups of Basmati rice, I have used a total of 2½ cups of liquid (1½ cups of coconut milk and 1 cup of water).
You can use vegetables of your choice.
I like to add cashew to this dish, which gives a nice texture. This is optional and can be skipped for a nut-free version.
This dish is great for meal prep. Wash and soak the rice overnight, cut the vegetables and store them in the refrigerator. This way, they can be quickly prepared in the morning and packed for lunch boxes.
You can use store-bought or homemade coconut milk. To make coconut milk at home, grind ½ cup grated coconut with one cup of lukewarm water into a smooth paste. Pass it through a muslin cloth or a nut milk bag and extract the milk.
Serve this pulao with sautéed sweet potatoes as a side dish for a wholesome meal.
You can make this dish in a stovetop pressure cooker. Follow this recipe with a 1 to 1.5 rice to water ratio and cook for two whistles in the cooker. To make this dish in a stovetop pan, follow this recipe with a 1 to 1.5 rice to water ratio and cook covered for 15-18 minutes (or until all the moisture is absorbed).
Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cool it completely and place it in an air-tight container before storing.
This Instant Pot coconut milk pulao is:
- naturally gluten-free and vegan
- healthy, nutritious, and delicious
- very easy to make
Coconut Milk Pulao (Instant Pot)
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 1½ cups coconut milk see notes
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 5 cloves
- 3 green cardamom
- 1 star anise
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ cup cashew
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped
- 1-2 green chili finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot chopped
- ½ cup peas
- 8-10 green beans chopped
- ½ cup corn kernels
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup water
- Wash the rice thoroughly. Soak it in water for 20-30 minutes
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add oil
- Once it heats, add cumin seeds and whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, fennel seeds, and cloves). Saute for a few seconds
- Add cashew and fry until they are golden (1 minute)
- Add ginger and green chili.
- Add the vegetables (carrot, peas, green beans, and corn kernels). Saute for two minute
- Add the coconut milk and water. Mix well and deglaze the pot.
- Drain the water from the soaked rice.
- Add rice and salt, and give it a good mix.
- Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Mix the rice gently.
- Serve with plain yogurt or raita
This looks so complex but is actually so simple! Yummy!
Rosanna Stevens says
Delicious. I can't wait to make this again, it was so aromatic and I loved the crunchy cashews in it. Thank you!
I like the idea of using coconut milk instead of regular milk!
Jean Nie says
The coconut milk in rice adds a delicious sweet taste and I like how this can have veggies too and makes a good and hearty meal.
what a fragrant and delish rice recipe
Emily Flint says
Another great Instant Pot recipe from you! I can't wait to serve this with more veggies on top!
I love all the veggies in this, so yummy!
delicious and fragrant coconut rice.