Vegetable Pilaf

dsc03400.jpgPilaf means delicious grain( white, brown or wild rice) mix cooked in a mixture of delicately chopped herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and aromatic stock ( or water).

Rice is roasted along with spices, vegetables and nuts for a short time in fat, and then cooked in stock or water with a variety of seasoning and spice blend. A vegetarian rice pilaf can be cooked with a combination of onions, carrot, beans, cauliflower, and tomatoes with spices.Every region has its own recipe to cook pilaf. Depending on the region, the ingredients vary and the blend of spices is different.

When aromatic basmati rice is cooked with everyday vegetables and spices produces a subtle, delicious pilaf which satisfies everyone around the table. This popular vegetable rice dish makes a tasty light brunch or supper. Recipe source is from vegetarian cookbook.


1 cup basmati rice
2 Tbsp oil/ unsalted butter/ ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
4 cardamoms & cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely diced
1/3 cup frozen peas (defrost)
1/3 cup corn (fresh or frozen, defrost)
¼ cup cashew nuts (lightly fried)
¼-½ tsp ground cumin powder
2 cups water to cook


Wash and soak rice in water for 30 mins. Heat oil in a large frying pan add sauté cumin seeds for 2 minutes, Add bay leaves, cardamom and cloves and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened and lightly browned. Now add carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain the rice and add to the pan along with peas, corn and cashew nuts and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stir in cumin powder and mix well. Add salt, water and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat until the water is absorbed. Let it stand, covered for 10 minutes before serving. Shift it into serving dish fluff up before serving. Or you can finish the dish in rice cooker or pressure cooker.

Enjoy with raita or gravy curry.

Notes and Tips

You can use frozen mixed vegetables, Defrost and then add to the dish. To jazz it up you can add raisins and pistachios. To add more flavor you can use vegetable stock instead of water.

This rice pilaf is called pilav by the Turkish, Bosnian, Serbian and Romanians. Indians call it pulao/ pulav, Americans call it pilaf while the Persians call it polow. What do u want to call it, pilaf, pilau, perloo, peelaf or perlau?


11 Responses to “Vegetable Pilaf”

  1. April 10, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Looks great!! Is that the Indian flag on the bottom of the plate?! Looks good too:))

  2. April 10, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Hi shivapriya
    thats a nice one..thanks for those versions of pulao..

  3. April 10, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Love this simple pilaf. This really has a great aroma of Basmati rice, unlike the spicy pulav where the aroma of basmati is hidden by the garam masala.
    How about serving this with your dal makhani? I am excited about making your dal again this week 🙂

  4. April 10, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Hey Asha
    Thanks, Its not Indian Flag, those are colour papers I got from Ikea.

    Thanks Swapna, Lemme know if u need any help.

    Sounds great Manju. I’m really gald you are enjoying dal makhani. I often make this dish on weekends for brunch and serve with ratia ( express way:D).

  5. April 11, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Hi Priya,
    the Pilaf looks as if made by a professional chef. you are surely one good chef!!


  6. 7 sia
    April 11, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    i have one doubt girl. is pilaf different from pulao?

  7. April 12, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the compliment Sharmi.

    Thanx Suma.

    Sia, As far as I know there isn’t much difference between pulao and pilaf. The only difference I have observed is pilaf is lightly mild in taste ( as less spices are used) when compared to pulao. We Indian’s use lots of spices and masala’s while making pulao, when compared to Western countries, also western ppl use seafood and meat in pilaf than us. I hope I answered ur doubt.

  8. April 15, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    what a colorful looking dish! with all the whole spices, i am sure it tastes good.

  9. April 17, 2007 at 9:21 am

    thanks for the reply padma:) u r right about pilaf and pulao:)

  10. April 18, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    i am new to ur blog and that pilaf is great with nice pics.i will add u to my blogroll.

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