Methi rice or methi pulao is a flavorful one-pot dish made with fenugreek leaves, rice, and minimal spices. This gluten-free, vegan recipe is packed with nutrients and flavors. Prepared in an Instant Pot using frozen fenugreek leaves, it is ready in just 20 minutes, requiring only 5 minutes of hands-on time. Whether you are craving a simple weeknight dinner or planning for a potluck, this Instant Pot methi rice recipe is a time-saving and flavorful choice that is sure to impress.
Methi rice, also known as fenugreek rice, is a flavorful Indian dish made by combining cooked rice with fenugreek leaves (methi). Fenugreek leaves have a slightly bitter taste and a distinct aroma, which adds a unique flavor to the rice. Also called methi pulao, is a simple one-pot rice-based dish made with fenugreek leaves. It is not only gluten-free and vegan but also a wholesome source of nutrients.
This delightful methi pulao is gently spiced, requiring only a handful of spices, and can be prepared in just 20 minutes (with a mere 5 minutes of hands-on time) when using an Instant Pot. It presents an effortless way to incorporate leafy greens into your diet.
The simplicity of making methi rice makes it enjoyable on its own, or you can pair it with raita or plain yogurt for a delightful combination. It serves as a fantastic option for lunchboxes and potlucks. Continue reading to explore meal prep suggestions, helpful tips, various cooking methods, and frequently asked questions to create this delicious one-pot fenugreek rice dish.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Quick and easy: This methi pulao recipe can be prepared in just 20 minutes, with minimal hands-on time. It is a time-saving option for a satisfying meal.
- Healthy and nutritious: Methi pulao is gluten-free, vegan, and packed with nutrients. Fenugreek leaves offer numerous health benefits, including blood sugar regulation, reduced inflammation, improved gut health, and more.
- Flavorful and fragrant: The combination of fenugreek leaves and spices gives the rice a unique, mildly spiced flavor. The aroma of the fenugreek leaves adds an appetizing element to the dish.
- Meal prep-friendly: This methi rice recipe lends itself well to meal prep. You can prepare a larger batch and store it for quick and convenient meals throughout the week.
- Convenient: I am using frozen methi leaves in my methi pulao recipe. This eliminates the need for washing, chopping, and handling fresh fenugreek leaves, saving preparation time. Frozen fenugreek leaves are readily available in many grocery stores and can be directly added to the dish to enjoy the goodness of fenugreek leaves.
Methi: Or fenugreek leaves, frozen or fresh leaves can be used. See tips below on how to prep them.
Rice: I use Basmati rice to make pulao.
Peas: Peas add a mild sweetness that balances the mildly bitter taste of methi. This is an optional ingredient and can be skipped.
Spices: The only spice I use here is cumin seeds and garam masala.
Garlic and green chilies: I use garlic to flavor this dish. See the FAQs section below for variations. Adjust the green chilies as per your preference.
Lemon/lime juice: Lemon or lime juice is added once the rice is cooked. This helps balance the mildly bitter taste of fenugreek leaves.
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add oil. Once it heats, add cumin seeds and garlic. Saute for 1 minute (images 1 and 2).
Step 2: Add cashew and saute until it is lightly golden (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Add methi leaves, peas, green chili, garam masala powder, and salt. Saute for 1 minute (images 5 and 6).
Step 4: Drain the water from the soaked uncooked rice and add it to the IP. Add 2½ cups of water and mix well (images 7 and 8).
Step 5: Close the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick pressure release (images 9 and 10).
Step 6: Open the lid and gently fluff up the rice grains using a fork. Add lemon juice and mix the methi rice pulao gently (images 11 and 12).
Alternate cooking methods
While my methi pulao recipe uses the Instant Pot, there are alternate cooking methods to prepare methi pulao or methi rice. Here are a few alternatives:
Stovetop pressure cooker: You can use a traditional stovetop pressure cooker to make methi pulao. Follow this recipe with a 1:1½ rice to water ratio and cook for two whistles in the cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally before opening the lid.
Stovetop cooking: You can make this methi matar pulao on a stovetop using a regular cooking pot or a saucepan. Follow the same steps as mentioned in the recipe, but instead of using an Instant Pot, cook the rice and fenugreek mixture on low to medium flame. Use 1:1½ rice to water ratio and cook covered on low heat for 15-18 minutes (or until all the moisture is absorbed).
Rice cooker: A rice cooker can be used to prepare methi pulao. Sauté the fenugreek leaves and spices in a separate pan, then transfer the mixture to the rice cooker along with the washed rice and 1½ cups of water. Cook it as you would cook regular rice in the rice cooker.
Microwave: If you prefer using a microwave, you can partially cook the rice separately and then combine it with the sautéed fenugreek mixture in a microwave-safe dish. Cover it and microwave on high power for a few minutes until the rice is fully cooked and the flavors are well blended.
Useful tips to make methi rice
I am using frozen methi leaves; however, fresh leaves also can be used. Thaw the methi and squeeze out the water before using it to remove the bitterness of methi. For fresh methi, clean the leaves and roughly chop the leaves. For every cup of frozen greens, replace it with 2 cups of fresh greens.
I use green peas which add a natural sweetness. However, this is an optional ingredient and can be skipped.
This dish is great for meal prep. Wash and soak the rice overnight, thaw the methi leaves in the refrigerator, or chop them and store them in the refrigerator. This way, they can be quickly prepared in the morning and packed for lunch boxes.
The rice-to-water ratio I am using in Instant Pot is 1:1¼. This gives me perfectly cooked slightly chewy rice. You can reduce the water by ¼ cup for a firmer texture or increase the water by ¼ cup for soft cooked rice.
I have kept this methi pulao recipe really simple and used minimal basic spices. However, whole spices like star anise, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick can be added along with cumin seeds. The only powdered spice I am using is garam masala. However, feel free to use other common Indian spices like turmeric powder and red chili powder.
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Variations of methi rice
Tomato methi rice recipe: This variation adds the tangy flavor of tomatoes to the methi rice. Sauté fenugreek leaves with spices, then add chopped tomatoes and cook until they soften. Finally, add rice and water and pressure cook. Remember that tomatoes release a lot of moisture so adjust the water accordingly. You can see this tomato rice recipe for general guideline.
Vegetable methi rice: This variation combines the goodness of vegetables with methi rice. Add diced vegetables such as carrots, peas, bell peppers, cauliflower, or corn kernels along with the fenugreek leaves. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
Methi pulao with mixed nuts: This this recipe, I am using cashew nuts. You can enhance the flavor and texture of methi rice by adding a mix of chopped nuts such as cashews, almonds, and pistachios. The combination of fenugreek leaves and mixed nuts provides a delightful crunch and richness to the dish.
Methi rice with coconut milk: Infuse the methi rice with a creamy twist by incorporating coconut milk. Reduce the water by half a cup and use half a cup of coconut milk instead. The coconut milk adds a luscious and aromatic flavor to the dish.
Methi pulao with paneer: For a protein-rich variation, incorporate paneer (cottage cheese) into the methi rice. The paneer adds a creamy and savory element to the dish.
What to serve with methi pulao?
Dal: Pairing methi rice with a lentil dal dish creates a satisfying and complete meal. Prepare a simple dal such as moong dal, toor dal, or masoor dal, and serve it alongside the rice. The combination of rice and dal provides a balance of carbohydrates and protein.
Raita: Raita is a yogurt-based side dish that helps balance the spices in the pulao. Cucumber raita, onion raita, and mint raita are great options.
Salad: A fresh and crisp salad complements the flavors of methi rice. You can prepare a simple kachumber salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Alternatively, slice cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions and place them on a wide plate. Sprinkle salt and lemon juice and serve.
Papadums: Papadums (crispy lentil wafers) or curd chili are great options to serve alongside methi pulao.
Green Chutney: Green chutney is a great way to add a zesty and refreshing element to the meal. It can be served as a dip or drizzled over the pulao. Whisk it with a dollop of yogurt to make yogurt mint chutney.
Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cool it completely and place it in an airtight container before storing it.
Yes. Soak ¼ cup Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) in water for 30 minutes and use it in this recipe.
Yes. In this recipe, I have used frozen methi leaves. For every cup of frozen greens, use two cups of fresh greens. When using fresh methi, make sure you remove the thick stems and chop the leaves roughly.
Yes. In this recipe, I have not used onions but have used garlic as I like the flavor it imparts to the dish. You may skip the garlic altogether. You may also use some ginger and hing (asafetida) when sauteing cumin seeds.
Instant Pot Methi Rice
- Wash the rice thoroughly. Soak it in water for 20-30 minutes
- If using frozen methi, thaw it completely and squeeze out excess water. If using fresh methi, wash them and roughly chop the leaves
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add oil
- Once it heats, add cumin seeds and garlic. Saute for 1 minute
- Add cashew and saute until it is lightly golden
- Add methi leaves, peas, green chili, garam masala, and salt
- Saute for 1 minute
- Drain the water from soaked rice and add it to the IP
- Add 2½ cup water
- Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure
- Open the lid and gently fluff up the rice using a fork
- Add lemon juice and mix gently
- Serve with plain yogurt or raita