Tuesday, March 15, 2011

mixed vegetable pulao ...inspired by macrobiotic ways ...

If you think something with rice for a lunch , that too a one dish meal , it becomes challenging as you don't want a high carb meal lulling you to sleep after the meal. One pot rice meals are a great comfort food in my household on the other hand . Many khichdis and tahiris have been devised to include more and more vegetables and proteins . Rice meals need not be carbohydrate heavy , and can be optimized for a medium GI meal ( if not low GI ), more so if you use brown rice .

The first thing to do is chop as many vegetable as you like and as hungry you feel. I used a lot of cauliflowers , peas ,french beans, potatoes , cauliflower and broccoli stems and soy nuggets.

Also the specialty of this vegetable pulao is that the cooked vegetables are almost three times of the cooked rice . It is a light meal and a nice refreshing raita makes it even more healthy. I made a zucchini and onion raita with it , making the meal very low on fats.


cauliflower florets chopped in small pieces 2 cups
cauliflower and broccoli stems chopped in small pieces 2 cups
fresh green peas 2 cups
boiled ( or microwave cooked) soy nuggets 1.5 cup
french beans chopped very finely 1.5 cups
cubed potatoes 2 cups
cooked rice 2 cups ( cooked freshly or leftover)
ghee 1.5 tbsp
finely chopped ginger 2 tbsp
chopped green chillies as per taste
cumin seeds 4 tsp
crushed black peppers 4 tsp
4 pc. of cloves 
2 pc. of green cardamom
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste


This pulao is easy to assemble . Stove top cooking is minimal if you cook the rice in the microwave while stir frying the veggies on the gas stove. So while you cook the rice in the MW , heat the ghee in the kadai and start assembling the vegetables for the pulao.

Throw in the cumin seeds first , the whole spices just a few seconds later and then the chopped ginger and the crushed black pepper. Add the potatoes almost immediately after this , as the whole spices are prone to getting charred.

the potatoes are cooked along with a bit of salt so that they get seared as well as take some salt into them , no need to cook them for long if you cut very small pieces of potatoes. Arvind likes big pieces of potatoes in any pulao or tahiri , even i have started liking them this way....they need to be 3/4 done before adding the other vegetables. Add the turmeric powder , mix well .

The beans and the stems of cauliflowers n broccoli go into the cooking mix, after the potatoes are 3/4 done , along with the green peas and the soy nuggets. Peas can be added earlier if they are not tender. Toss the vegetables to sear and let them get glossy , low flame is a must have as there is less ghee being used.

Lastly the cauliflower florets , i like a bit of crunch in them so i add them in the last , some more cooking will be required if you want them mushy. but that is not a good idea as the texture is just great this way . Also , i find the aroma of overcooked cauliflowers a bit offensive. So if you are using cauliflowers for a pulao or tahiri , go by this method.

As the vegetables turn glossy and half done ( the potatoes almost done), pour the cooked rice above them , mix lightly , cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Let it be covered for a while before serving. The time can be used for making a raita to go with the pulao/tahiri ...

The raita i served here is zuchini and onion raita , zucchini can be replaced with cucumbers as we don't get zuchini all year round . I get organic zucchini from a nearby place so i like using it fresh and raw whenever possible.

I like the soy nuggets in such a pulao or tahiri . They soak up the flavors very nicely while all the other vegetables retain some of the bite and their individual flavor. This recipe does not use any onion and garlic , so there is no hassle of peeling and chopping them finely , the flavor of the pulao is mildly spicy with freshness of vegetables.


  1. Sangeeta, this looks amazing! Sarah and I have been experimenting more and more recently with Indian food, we just love all the flavors and variation. We just bought a tagine (Moroccan clay pot)... it seems like many Indian dishes would work well prepared in this vessel, but I'm having a hard time finding resources. I guess I'll just have to keep experimenting!

  2. Whoa,just what I would like to do with my pulao,rice dishes too!You could try making this with red rice too,but I guess red rice khichdi will work better,since it is quite difficult to cook the red rice just right for a biryani or pulao.
    I was also planning to try red rice bisi bele bhath.I'll let you know when i really do that.

  3. Yeah, this kind of something which i always make, though shrivaas(son) is little fussy about too many vegetables, sundar loves vegetables in any form. he will even offer to lots of vegetables and gets a major share of them,

  4. Love this pulao. will try sometime..

  5. Looks delicious, I make tahiri like this with onions/tomatoes sans beans, as I dont like beans that much :) But will try finely chopped beans next time. We love the soy nuggets in my tahiri as it adds to the flavour as well as for the protein content :). Next time I'll try this pulao for sure... :)

  6. Wonderfully prepared. Looks so yummy.

  7. I just loved the idea of a zucchini onion raita.

  8. very nice dish..simple and healthy..thanks for sharing..first time here happy to follow u

  9. Hi Sangeeta, my name is Milli. i have a 6 yr old son. we live in USA and due to all of the surroundings he doesn't like indian food. (can't blame him with pizza, pasta all round). you have stated that you have a daughter around this age - mithi. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU POST SOME CHILD FRIENDLY DESI RECIPES OR ideas on how to encourage indian food into a child. I don't want to give him a hard time about indian food... after all he is a kid and do not want to force it down.
    fyi - i have used many recipes from your site and enjoy that you make them healthier and are creative with your ingredients. THANKS MUCH!

    1. I think you should let the kid eat all the food you all eat as adults. There should be no boundaries of kiddie food and adult food. Give him whatever she likes and stop eating junk food yourself so there is no junk at home and environment of the junk being liked or praised or even craved for. This is what works in the long term.
      Apologies for a late response, I was traveling.
      Thanks for connecting through my blog and letting me know you have been trying and liking my recipes.