This basmati rice pulao recipe was cobbled together from a couple of different pulao recipes I found around the web.  It all started with a recipe from Tasty and Easy recipes. However, I didn’t have any peas on hand (and don’t much like them anyway). And I was out of onions! What I did have were some nice shallots, scallions, and vegetables that needed to be used up before they started to go bad. This was going to be tricky, but we were getting hungry and I had to come up with something. After flipping through various recipes to get an idea of spice proportions, and working with what I actually had on hand, this came together, and it was delicious.

This will require a little experimentation in the future – it good as this was, it felt like there was something missing. Onions would definitely have been nice. Peppers would have added some nice color and sweetness. My spouse thought there should be more potato, though I liked it with just the one. Perhaps some amchoor would have done the trick? I’ll figure it out. This is a very adaptable recipe; you could use it with whatever you’ve got, too. The amounts of vegetables I used were what I had available.


ginger-garlic paste:

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp fresh peeled ginger, minced
  • pinch or two of salt


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot (both halves), chopped small
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts (trim off any wilty dark-green ends), sliced thin
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 2 whole black cardamom pods
  • One-half of a cinnamon stick
  • small amount of water (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 C cauliflower, cut into very small florets
  • 1/2 C broccoli, cut into very small florets
  • 1 C basmati rice, washed and soaked
  • 2 C water
  • 1/4 C unsalted cashews, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Before you start heating the oil:

  • Wash 1 cup of basmati rice and soak it for 20 minutes.
  • Toast 1/4 cup of unsalted cashews, in a skillet, with a little bit of ghee or butter, stirring to coat evenly and avoid scorching.
  • When cool, break/chop them up a bit. Use fresh broccoli and cauliflower, so you can cut it into very very small florets. All the vegetables should be cut into bite-sized pieces, so that they really blend well with the pulao.


  • Use a couple of pinches of salt and a fork to mash the minced garlic and ginger into a paste.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan.
  • Saute shallots and scallions until shallots are tender.
  • Add cumin seeds, chili powder, cloves, turmeric, black pepper, and 1 tsp salt, stir well, and fry for about a minute.
  • Stir in garlic and ginger, cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, cardamom pods, and cinnamon and cook about 3 minutes, stirring.
  • Add a little water to cook the potatoes, cover the pot and cook until potatoes are half-done.
  • Add cauliflower and broccoli and stir well to incorporate the spices.
  • Add rice, and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, until the rice “clicks” against the sides of the pan.
  • Add salt, the 2 C of water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until rice is done, 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff with fork and then gently mix in garam masala and cashews.
  • Garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired.

This made lots of pulao, enough to freeze extra in individual-serving sized bags.