Veggie Pilau

Servings : Serves 2-3

For a lighter meatless version of Pilau, this is an incredibly flavourful and simple recipe that is a must-try!


  • 300 gm basmati rice (1 and a half cups), washed 2-3 times then soaked for half an hour.
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin/coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground roasted cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • a bit of chopped coriander
  • 1/2 cup peas (half boiled)
  • 2 carrots, diced (half boiled)
  • 2 tbsp chopped capsicum (optional)
  • 3 tbsp sweet corn
  • water or stock, warm (for every cup of rice, you will need 1 and quarter cups of water)
  • 1 tbsp whole jeera/cumin
  • 1/2 tsp whole pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cardamom
  • 2 cloves


Heat a pan on the stove and heat the oil and butter. Remember that the rice will double after cooking, plus the veggies and potatoes that will go in there,

Then add the whole spices. Cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves.

Once they splutter in the oil, add your chopped onions. Fry them until they are translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon. Then add the potatoes followed by the turmeric and cumin/coriander powder.

Let these fry for a few minutes, then add the garlic paste, carrots, peas and sweet corn, followed by a bit of chopped coriander.

The aroma should by now be brilliant. Stir together for a few minutes, then add the stock/water and some salt. Let the stock simmer and taste for the salt. You should be able to feel the saltiness. If it feels just right, it means you have too little. Remember that the rice will need some salt too, so let the salt be enough that you can taste it to be a bit more than you would want. Not too much of course!

When the water starts boiling, drain your rice (which should have been pre-soaked for about half an hour) and add this rice to the stock. Sprinkle a bit of coriander on this, and stir a little. Let this cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring now and then, then reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking it whilst covered until the water diminishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly.

Once you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible. Seal your pan by using a tight lid or wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it.

Leave the rice to continue steaming on very low heat for a good 10 minutes. Switch off, and serve!

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