Instant Pot vegetable pulao step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Pulao is a one-pot rice-based dish made with spices and vegetables or meat. This Karnataka-style veg pulao is made with herbs and a coconut masala base. It is quite different from a regular veg pulao. It is also popularly known as veg palav or rice bath ('bath' means any flavored rice dish).
This one-pot meal is absolutely wholesome with veggies, greens, and rice. Raita or plain yogurt is a perfect accompaniment to this pilaf. This hotel-style rice bath is perfect for lunchboxes and potlucks. Make the masala base ahead and store it for quick and easy weekday meals.
Read on for ingredients, meal prep options, useful tips, and step-by-step instructions to make veg pulao in Instant Pot.
Rice: I use Basmati rice to make this dish.
Vegetables: I use potato, carrot, green beans, peas, cauliflower, and capsicum.
Onion, ginger, garlic: Onion is used in two ways - finely chopped and diced. The diced onion, along with ginger and garlic, is added to the masala paste.
Coconut: Fresh coconut is a key ingredient and is added to the masala base.
Spices: The whole spices I use are bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, marathi moggu (Kapok buds), poppy seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds.
Herbs: I use coriander leaves, mint leaves, and curry leaves.
Grind the whole spices into a fine powder (poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, marathi moggu, fennel seeds). To this, add coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, coriander leaves, and mint leaves. Grind into a smooth paste adding ½ cup of water (steps 1,2).
Set Instant Pot in saute mode and add oil. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, and bay leaves. Next, add onions and fry until it is translucent (steps 3,4).
Once the onions are done, add the ground paste to it and mix well. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes (steps 5,6).
Add the vegetables, soaked rice, and salt (steps 7,8).
Add 2 cups of water and mix well (step 9).
Secure the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the IP to pressure cook mode for 6 minutes. Do a quick release of pressure (steps 10,11).
Mix gently using a fork and serve (step 12).
Useful tips to make Instant Pot vegetable pulao
I have used Basmati rice to make this pilaf; however, any Indian variety of rice will work.
Measure the water you are using to make the masala paste. The total amount of water we are using here is 2½ cups, divided into two parts. We need ½ cup of water to grind the masala base and 2 cups of water to cook the rice.
When making the masala paste, grind the whole spices first into a fine powder. Then add the rest of the ingredients and grind with water. If you add everything together, the spices may not grind finely.
The masala base can be made and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. I often keep 1-2 batches of this green masala base in my freezer. That way, all I have to do is cook it with vegetables, soaked rice, and water for a quick and easy meal.
Just before serving vegetable pulao, add crouton bread. To make croutons, cut bread slices into small cubes and fry them in ghee until golden.
You can use any vegetables of your choice. I use around 4 cups of vegetables for 2 cups of rice, making it loaded with veggies. You may change the quantity as per your preference.
Bay leaves are a key ingredient - do not skip them. In fact, they are called 'palav elle' in Kannada (translating to leaf used in pulao - 'elle' means leaf).
For an authentic veg palav, add all the spices mentioned. At a minimum, add cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
You can make this veg pulao 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).
This pulao can be served with plain yogurt or raita. It is also topped with bread croutons before serving.
Potato, carrot, peas, green beans, and capsicum are commonly used in pulao. Other vegetables that can be used are corn, beetroot, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Soya chunks can also be used in this pulao.
While the pulao itself may not be stored in the freezer, the masala paste can be. Cook the masala paste as per this recipe, cool it completely and store it in the freezer. When you want to use it, add vegetables, rice, and water to it and cook as per this recipe.
In Kannada, 'bath' means a rice-based dish or a preparation made with rice. This veg palav (or pulao) is also popularly known as rice bath or veg rice bath in restaurants.
This Instant Pot vegetable pulao is:
- vegan and gluten-free
- a wholesome one-pot meal
- perfect for lunchboxes and potlucks
Perfectly cooked rice in pulao
Instant Pot Vegetable Pulao | Karnataka style Veg Pulao
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 1 medium potato
- 1 small carrot
- 10-12 green beans
- ½ cup cauliflower
- ¼ cup peas
- ½ cup capsicum I used a mix of red and green
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaf
- 6-8 curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups water
To grind together:
- ½ bunch coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ½ cup coconut grated
- 2-3 green chilli or as per taste
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 inch ginger
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 5 cardamom
- 5 cloves
- 2 marathi moggu
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ cup water
- Wash the rice thoroughly and soak for about 20 minutes. Strain and keep aside
- Cut the vegetables and set aside
- Grind the whole spices into a fine powder (poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, marathi moggu, fennel seeds)
- To this, add coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, coriander leaves, mint leaves. Grind into a smooth paste adding ½ cup water
Making the pulao
- Set Instant Pot in saute mode and add oil
- Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, and bay leaves
- Add onions and fry until it is translucent (3-4 minutes)
- Add the ground paste to it and mix well. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes
- Add the cut vegetables, and salt
- Add the soaked rice along with 2 cups of water
- Mix well and secure the lid of the Instant Pot
- Set the IP to pressure cook mode for 6 minutes. Do a quick release of pressure
- Mix gently using a fork. Serve hot with raita