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Vegetable pulao

05 September 2019

Vegetable pulao is a terrific way to use up leftover bits of vegetables in the fridge, writes Romy Gill in her book Zaika.

Vegetable pulao
Vegetable pulao

Cooking time

1 hour




  • 300g basmati rice
  • 5 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 3cm piece of cinnamon bark (cassia)
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 10g fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2–3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 100g carrots, sliced into 3cm slices
  • 50g runner beans, sliced into 3cm chunks
  • 100g small cauliflower florets
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salad, to serve


Pulao is a meal on its own. Mum used to make this with leftover vegetables so it's great for using odd bits left in your fridge. We always have a simple salad of onions, a slice of lime, salt, green chillies and lauki (courgette) raita with this.

Soak the rice for 20–25 minutes in a bowl of cold water, the water should just cover the rice. While the rice is soaking, heat a heavy-based pan.

Add the oil and once hot, add all of the whole spices and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute, as it helps the juices to release. Immediately add the sliced onions and keep stirring over a medium heat until they start to colour. This will take about 5–6 minutes.

Add the green chillies and turmeric and cook for another minute, then add all the vegetables and cook for another 5–6 minutes over a medium heat. Keep stirring, if it catches, add a few drops of water.

While the vegetables are cooking, drain the water from the rice. Add the salt, garam marsala and rice to the pan and mix well. Add the hot water and boil over a high heat. Once the water has come to a boil, lower the temperature and cover the pan with a lid.

Let it cook for 8-10 minutes. Once cooked, the rice will be fluffy and you will smell beautiful aromas.

Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, stir through the chopped coriander and serve alongside a salad.

Zaika: Vegan recipes from India, is out now from Seven Dials


Visit our Indian section for more recipe ideas


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.