A delicious and aromatic one pot rice dish, this pulao recipe uses tons of colorful vegetables like mushrooms, corn, peas and carrots. Great for packing in lunch boxes too.
It is the last weekend of summer holidays and Boy will start first grade on Monday. It seems as if we did nothing and everything this summer. There were no camps and classes for him, but we made a trip around the world to visit family. I am sure this trip made quite an impression on his young mind. Being an expat, I love how Boy is exposed to different cultures and different ways of life.
Traveling with him is so much fun. It was so not fun just a few years ago when he was a toddler. But now, its different. Apart from having to answer a zillion questions and being caught off guard when he speaks his mind in front of strangers, it is smooth sailing (or, flying!).
Like many humans, Boy multiple facets to his personality. He can be a charmer, a wise guy, the funny guy and sometimes, just sometimes, a little monster. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I will be sad when summer hols gets over in less than 24 hours from now and he goes back to school. He’s excited to be with his friends and have a social life, but poor mommy is, well…just a tad sad.
I try my best not to be one of those “helicopter” parents and I like to think that I do a good job. Or at least, I haven’t heard otherwise. But if there’s one thing that I am pretty laid-back about, is his lunch. I know, it can sound counter-intuitive to my food blogger persona. But I have made my peace with it. Like any 6 year-old, Boy hates elaborate lunches at school. He hates smelly, saucy stuff (his words, not mine).
But I try my best. I have also learned not to take it personally if the lunch box comes back half-full or if he confides in me that he threw half of his tray lunch away. There’s always dinner time!
I made this pulao with this particular combination of vegetables for mom and dad a while ago. I decided then that I simply had to make it again for the blog. I am sure, it will also find a spot in Boy’s lunch bag with certain modifications every now and then.
This is such a versatile and easy one pot meal recipe. I’ve used mushrooms, corn, peas and some carrots for color. You can add other vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and more. You can mix in scrambled eggs for added protein. Or use boneless chunks of chicken along with the vegetables for chicken pulao. So many possibilities.
And the best part? It is perfect for lunch boxes. For kids and adults alike. Add a side of yogurt, pappads and fruit, and you are all set for a wholesome midday meal.
(This post is specially for my dear friend Sonal’s Lunchbox Collective post on her blog. Do check it out here.)
- Basmati rice - 1 cup
- Ghee or oil - 2 tbsp
- Cinnamon - 1" piece
- Cloves - 3
- Cardamom - 3 pods
- Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
- Ginger - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
- Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- Green chili - 1, chopped (can omit if making for kids)
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Red chili powder - 1 tsp
- Coriander powder - 1½ tsp
- Garam masala powder - ½ tsp
- Button mushrooms - 1 heaped cup, sliced
- Corn kernels - ¼ cup
- Green peas - ¼ cup
- Carrots - ¼ cup, chopped
- Water - 1½ cups
- Lemon juice - 1 tbsp, freshly squeezed
- Salt - to taste
- Cilantro leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped
- Cashew nuts - a few
- Wash rice in water a couple of times. Soak rice in a little bit of water and set aside.
- Heat ghee (or oil) in a pressure cooker or deep pan. Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and allow them to sputter.
- Then add onions, ginger, garlic and chili (if using). Saute till onions are light golden in color.
- Add the turmeric, red chili, coriander and garam masala powders. Mix to combine.
- Add the vegetables and stir to combine with the masala. Saute for a few seconds.
- Add water and lemon juice and allow it to come to a boil. Drain water from the rice and add to the pot. Season with salt.
- If using a pressure cooker, close the lid and put the weight on. Cook on medium-high for one whistle and on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally before opening the lid.
- If using any other pot, close with a tight-fitting lid and cook on low till rice and vegetables are cooked, around 15-20 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and cashew nuts lightly fried in ghee. Serve with pappads and yogurt.
2. You can also garnish with paneer cubes lightly fried in a bit of ghee to make paneer-vegetable pulao.
3. You can also mix in scrambled eggs for added protein.
The best thing about this vegetable pulao is that it is as delicious eaten immediately as it is when packed and taken for lunch.
Do you have little ones going back to school soon? What do you pack for them? Do share.
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