Traditional Vegetarian Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes & Instant Pot Recipes from Indian and International Cuisines

Vegetable Pulao – Instant Pot Method

Vegetable Pulao – Instant Pot Method

Vegetable Pulao is an easy one pot comfort meal made with rice(Basmati Rice), vegetables and Indian spices. I usually prepare it on weekdays and pack this rice for my kids’ school lunch box and  for my husband’s work lunch box. Sometimes, I make this delicious one pot meal on weekends for our weekend lunch(late lunch/early dinner). Last week, I made Puri and Instant Pot-Potato curry for our Sunday brunch. I drafted and published the recipe in my blog on the same day. After doing all that work, I was not in a mood to cook an elaborate meal for our lunch and I decided to make this easy one pot meal. I made this pulao in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I took pictures while preparing this instant pot vegetable pulao to share the recipe in my blog for all the readers who bought their instant pot recently, during this year’s thanksgiving sale.

This was the first dish that I made in my instant pot, when I bought my first instant pot  last year. I posted the recipe in an instant pot group. I did not have my own blog at that time. It was tried and tested by many people and everyone who tried this recipe have shared a wonderful feedback. I learnt this recipe from my mom. I have been making vegetable pulao with this recipe for more than 25 years. When we moved to US some of my  friends(who were then newly married) learnt this recipe from me.  The recipe is very simple and it does not have any special ingredients but the taste is very comforting and special.  I am sharing a detailed step by step recipe and pictures with instant pot instructions to make it easy for the first time users of the instant pot.



Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 160ml(Rice cooker cup)

Basmati rice – 2 cups(I used Royal brand basmati rice from Costco)

Wash and soak basmati rice in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes.

Chopped mixed  vegetables(carrots, Green peas and string beans) – 4 cups

(I used frozen organic mixed vegetables from Costco. I placed them in a colander and rinsed them under tap water. The taste will be much better if you can use fresh vegetables. My mom never recommends frozen vegetables).

Potato – 1(medium size, chopped into medium size cubes)

Onion – 1/2(medium size, chopped into thin and long slices)

Turmeric powder – 1/3 Tsp.(optional, I always add it)

Chopped fresh mint leaves – 1/4 cup(I used 1/8 cup dried mint leaves as I did not have fresh leaves at home)

Freshly ground garam masala powder(recommended) – 1/3 Tsp.

Freshly ground ginger garlic paste – 3/4 Tbsp.

Green chillies – 1-2(slit in half)(I used only one. You can add more according to your taste)

Salt – as needed(approximately 1 Tsp.)

Raw Cashew nuts(optional) – 10-15(chopped or split in half)

Vegetable oil  – 2 Tbsp.

Whole Garam Masala:

Cinnamon stick – 3″ long

Cloves – 3

Cardamom – 3

Bay leaf – 1

Caraway seeds(Shahjeera) – 1/3 Tsp.(I did not add)(My mom recommends adding them)


If you are a first time user of the instant pot refer to the page 6 and page 7 of the instant pot manual to understand the instant pot terminology(only few words) that I used to explain the recipe. Do the ‘Initial Test Run’ specified on page 14 of the instant pot manual.

Step 1:

Connect the instant pot to the power outlet. Turn on the instant pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Just press ‘Saute’ button.  Add oil in the instant pot insert. Once the oil is hot(after few seconds), add all the ingredients listed under whole garam masala and stir. Add cashew nuts. Saute for few seconds. Add thinly sliced onions and saute until they turn translucent and slightly brown in color.

Step 2:

Add fresh homemade ginger garlic paste, green chillies and turmeric powder. Once the raw smell is gone, add the chopped vegetables except potatoes. Saute for a minute.


Step 3:

Add the chopped potatoes and saute for a minute.

As I have used frozen vegetables, I added the potatoes after a minute to remove the moisture from frozen vegetables. If you are using fresh vegetables, you can add the potatoes and other vegetables at the same time.


Step 4:

Add the chopped mint leaves and garam masala powder. image

Step 5:

Add the 3 cups of water(in which rice was soaked) and also add salt. Mix it well.


Step 6:

Add the rice and mix it carefully. The rice tends to break easily, so mix it gently. Turn off the saute mode. To do this press’Cancel’ button.


Step 7:

Close the lid. Make sure that the sealing ring in placed under the lid and the anti block shield under the lid is placed and pressed in its position correctly. Turn the steam releasing valve on top of the lid to the ‘Sealing’ position. Turn on the rice mode. Just press ‘Rice’ button. The ‘Rice’ mode is a fully automated program to cook rice. The default display  (cooking time) will be 12 minutes. The low pressure setting is selected by default in the ‘Rice’ mode. You will hear a beep when the rice is done. Let the pressure release naturally. Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Unplug the instant pot and open the lid when the pin drops down.


Step 8:

Gently fluff the rice with a fork or spoon. Be gentle so that you do not break the long grains. Transfer to a wide serving bowl and serve with Raita!


My mom also recommends to add 1/2 cup chopped cabbage along with the other vegetables.

You can skip adding the cashew nuts or You can fry the cashew nuts separately in the oil and garnish the prepared pulao with fried/roasted cashew nuts.

To prepare fresh garam masala powder, fry cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and very few black pepper seeds in oil and let them cool. Powder them using a mortar and pestle.


This quick one pot  delicious pulao is perfect for a busy weekday meal or a lazy weekend meal and can be packed in the Lunch Box too!!!!

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