Easy Vegetable Pilau Rice (vegan)

This quick vegetable pilau rice recipe is the perfect standalone dish or accompaniment to curries. Vegan, gluten-free, and ready in under 30 minutes!

an overhead photograph of pilau rice in a pot

This recipe comes straight from my mama’s kitchen. It’s cosy and comforting, flavoursome but not too spicy, and laced with soft chunks of potato and sweet green peas. Yeah, it’s pretty epic. And you know what else is epic? That today, I’m sharing the recipe with you!

HOW to make vegetable pilau rice:

We begin with the vagar, which is where we fry cinnamon sticks, mustard seeds, and cloves in oil to bring out the flavours. To this we’ll add peeled and chopped potatoes, and some water. Then we’ll steam the potatoes until they have softened.

Next we add the washed basmati rice, some frozen peas, and spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chilli powder.

The magic happens when we simmer the rice, vegetables and spices for 15 minutes – the rice will fluff up and turn this gorgeous yellow hue. Not to mention it’s so FLAVOURFUL!

vegetable rice in a pot

Tips for making this recipe perfectly:

  • Use a long grain rice like basmati. Risotto rice is too short and starchy for this dish – we want the rice grains to be light and fluffy as opposed to sticky.
  • Wash the rice a few times to remove some starch. You can do this by putting the rice in a bowl, covering with water, and using your hand to ‘stir’ the rice until the water becomes opaque. Then drain this water and repeat.
  • Don’t add too much water to the rice when it’s cooking. Depending on the starch content of your rice the amount of water required will vary. It’s best to start with less water and add more if needed. We do not need to submerge the rice in water for the entire cook time (like making pasta) – instead we are cooking the rice until the water evaporates. You shouldn’t have to drain the rice at the end of the cook time. By not draining the rice, we can ensure all the flavour stays in the dish!
  • Have all the spices out and ready to use to make the cooking process quicker.
a close up photograph of some rice on a fork

Variations on this recipe:

  • Don’t like peas? You can omit them, or swap them for chickpeas!
  • Feel free to add any extra vegetables of your choosing to this recipe! Finely chopped carrots, peppers or onions would all work well here.
  • For a healthier version, use long grain brown basmati rice – the cooking time will be 5-10 minutes longer.
a close up of some pilau rice in a pot

What to serve with pilau rice:

This vegetable pilau rice is the perfect standalone dish or accompaniment to curries. In the summer months you could serve it with a refreshing salad and some cherry lemonade. Or for a light lunch, serve the rice alongside my curried cauliflower steaks!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, friends! If you give it a go, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @shivanilf and leave a rating/comment below!

More easy vegan dinner recipes:

an overhead photograph of pilau rice in a pot
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Easy Vegetable Pilau Rice (vegan)

This quick vegetable pilau rice recipe is the perfect standalone dish or accompaniment to curries. Vegan, gluten-free, and ready in under 30 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 339kcal
Author: Shivani Raja

Ingredients

  • 6 Baby Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks small
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp Salt

Instructions

  • Peel and dice the potatoes into 2cm chunks.
  • Add the oil, mustard seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the spices begin to crackle, add the diced potatoes along with 1/2 cup boiling water.
  • Cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, and allow the potatoes to steam for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, measure out the rice into a bowl and rinse it: cover with cold water and use your hand to 'stir' the rice until the water becomes opaque. Then drain this water away and repeat 1-2 more times. The final time, leave the rice in the water and allow it to soak.
  • Once the potatoes are softened, add the frozen peas to the saucepan. Drain the rice and add to the pan along with 2 cups of boiling water.
  • Add the spices: 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine then turn the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir the rice occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. When most of the water has gone, taste the rice. If it is still chewy, add a further 1/2 cup of boiling water and cook until the rice is soft.
  • Serve the pilau rice with lemon wedges and fresh coriander. Enjoy!

Shivani’s Tips

  • The pilau rice will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
 

NUTRITION

Serving size: 1/4 of the rice
Calories: 339 kcal | Fat: 4.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 477mg | Carbohydrates: 65.6g | Fiber: 4.5g | Sugar: 1.9g | Protein: 8.5g 

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @shivanilf and use the hashtag #shivanilovesfood!

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