My Amma’s veg pulao

This is an emotional post for me. This is a memory post for me. This is a very close to heart recipe for me. This is a very straight to stomach recipe for me too :). My mom’s veg pulao takes me back to my childhood sunday’s. It reminds me of the smell with which sometimes I would wake up (Yes, I woke up very late sometimes on weekends :). My mom almost always made this in her electric cooker. My dad would religiously buy white bread from a nearby bakery which would be cut into small squares & roasted in ghee/ oil in a pan. The finishing touch to the pulao were these roasted bread & roasted cashews. Ahaaa, my mouth is literally watering as I am typing this. I remember how it was a tad bit spicy for my brother. So, he would have this with loads of curd (not too much raita since onions in the raita were also spicy for him and probably is :D). As I type this, I understand and realise how food connects people & how food literally helps create fond memories as well. I remember reading this in a friend’s kitchen door – This is where dishes & memories are made :). So damn true I say! This had been on my mega to-do list to learn & document ever since I started blogging. I did manage to learn it when she was here a few months back but that day things didn’t align for clicking pictures. I had dutifully noted down the ingredients, each ingredients’ measurements & ofcourse, the procedure in itself. Whenever I wanted to document it, somehow things never added up. Finally, I made this for the blog a few weeks back. The taste was impeccable. It was just like how my amma made it. However, I ended up leaving an additional whistle (I do this in the pressure cooker) which made the whole rice a bit unlike the typical pulao rice. The rice was sticking to each other a bit. However, I am going to quote Dinesh’s famous line (which is a flick from some goundamani joke) – Ulpavadaikku enna design aka how does it matter what the design is on an inskirt :). The taste of her pulao hasn’t changed one bit and my friends who have had this before love it & have always asked me to blog it. Jan – this one is for you so :). Amma & Appa (wherever you are) – Thank you for giving me & Prak a beautiful childhood etched with so many wonderful memories. I am truly struggling to do 50% of the parenting you both did. I know I am getting a tad too emotional here but hey, read the first line of this post will ya? 😀 Merry christmas ya all. It’s time to be jolly & grateful :D.

Down to 2020, I have actually understood how to get the rice consistency the way Amma does it (in her absolutely different way each time but same consistency each time which doesn’t help me :)) and have tried it a few times and know it works :D.

The saree in this pic is my amma’s koora podavai aka the saree she wore when my amma & appa got married. Couldn’t think of a better way to elevate the pic!

4 from 1 vote
My Amma's veg pulao
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3 persons
To grind
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 4 pods garlic
  • 3 nos green chillies
  • 3 nos cardamom
  • 3 nos clove
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 no bay leaf if small use 1
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds optional
For the pulao
  • 3 tbsp ghee or refined oil
  • 1 no bay leaf
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick optional
  • 2 nos onions
  • 1/2 cup stacked mint leaves
  • 3 cups mixed veggies I used 1 medium carrot, 10 beans, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup cauliflower & 1 potato
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup stacked coriander leaves
  1. Wash & soak 1c basmati rice in a bowl. Set it aside.

  2. Wash & chop all the veggies long & thin - 2 onions, 10 beans, 1 carrot, 1 potato, 1/2c frozen peas & 1/2c cauliflower. Rough chopping in case you are out of time is totally fine :). 

  3. Also wash & chop 1/2c mint leaves & 1/2c coriander leaves. Set them aside. 

  4. In a mixer, add all the ingredients in the 'To grind' section - 1 inch ginger, 4 garlic pods, 3 green chillies, 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1t coriander seeds, 1 piece cinnamon stick, 1/2 bay leaf, 1t poppy seeds.

  5. Add 2 tbsp of water & grind the whole thing to a smooth paste. Set it aside. 

  6. In a small pressure cooker, heat 3T oil/ ghee. Once hot, throw in a bay leaf & a piece cinnamon stick. Saute for a few seconds till the spices start to release their magnificient flavours/ aroma. 

  7. Throw in the onions & saute till they start to change colour. Add a bit of salt now. 

  8. Throw in the mint & saute everything together. The mint will start to change colour & the onions will become translucent. 

  9. Add the spice paste now & saute well till the raw smell weans off. 

  10. Add all the veggies at this stage & saute for a minute or so. Add some salt at this stage. 

  11. Drain the water from the rice & add it on top of the veggies. Saute this as well for a minute. 

  12. Now add 2 cups water (or 1 3/4 cup if you want your rice to absolutely not stick to each other), add coriander leaves & some salt. Check & adjust for salt here. The water must be a tad bit salty so as to ensure the final rice will have enough salt. 

  13. Close the pressure cooker & allow it to pressure cook for 2 whistles (Medium burner/ medium flame). Turn off the heat. 

  14. If you would like to add bread, toast it (best would be on a tawa, I just did it in a toaster) and then chop it into small squares.

  15. Wait till the pressure releases from the cooker. Open, add toasted bread squares, fluff it using a fork & let it cool a bit. Serve hot alongside some raita. 

Recipe Notes
  1. You can make this dish in an electric cooker. I do not generally prefer that since the veggies have to be done in a different vessel before transferring the whole thing to the rice cooker. However, if you are more confident about using the electric cooker, go for it. 
  2. If you do not have a few spices, it doesn't matter. Over all, the taste will still be great. 
  3. You can skimp on the oil/ ghee. I wanted to recreate my mom's recipe & hence went with her usual flow :). 
  4. If you want to add bread pieces, toast them in an oven toaster & cut them into pieces and add when the rice is hot & mix everything together. You can also roast them in oil/ ghee. However, this is a healthier way of doing it and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference in taste that much :D.
  5. Brown bread doesn't taste good in this though. White bread is what cuts it. So can't go that healthy also :D. 
  6. You can add 3 cloves while initially sauteeing the bay leaf & cinnamon in oil. Adds to the flavour profile.

Stepwise pictures

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4 Responses

  1. Db says:

    4 stars
    Looks great sowms … surprised that there s no yoghurt or coconut milk but the pulao looks amazing !!! Going to try it

  2. Janani says:

    Absolutely delicious! I just made this and I devoured it! This pulao brings back so many memories! It can never match up to the taste of aunty’s casual, non measured, bang on taste everrr, this is the closest I have come to making a pulao that I absolutely love! Thank you sow and Revathy aunty! How many years I have waited to get this right! Made my day! ❤️

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