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Shahi Pulao (Vegetable Pulao)

Shahi Pulao or Vegetable Pulao is an exotic rice dish that combines spicy and aromatic vegetables served over rice. Rich with flavor, this is an extraordinary dish. You may also call this Biryani. This dish is made in two parts. First I prepare the rice with cumin seeds and cilantro. Then the vegetables are cooked separately with tomatoes, cashews, beans, green peas, cauliflower, and paneer. Top these vegetables over the rice and you have a mouth-watering dish!

Recipe will serve 4.

Ingredients: Hyderabadi Biryani (Vegetable Pulao) Recipe by Manjula

For rice

  • 1 cup rice preferred basmati rice available in Indian grocery stores
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • About 1 inch piece cinnamon stick (dal chini)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped (hara dhania)
  • 2 cups water

For vegetables

  • About 3 cups mix vegetables I am using cauliflower cut into small floret, green beans cut into small pieces, bell pepper cut into cubes, and frozen green peas,
  • 1/2 cup paneer cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cups tomatoes chopped
  • 1 green chili cut into pieces
  • About 2 tablespoons ginger cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup cashew powder
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala



  1. Wash rice gently changing water several times until the water appears clear.
  2. For fluffier rice, the rice should be soaked for at least 15 minutes prior to cooking.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Oil is the right temperature when one cumin seed dropped into the oil cracks immediately.
  4. Add the cumin seeds. When they crack, add the cinnamon stick and stir for a few seconds. Add the rice, cilantro, and salt. Stir-fry one minute.
  5. Add the water and bring to a boil, turn the heat to low. Cover the pan, and Cook 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork.


  1. Blend tomatoes, green chilies and ginger to make a puree. If you prefer mild take the seeds out of green chili before blending.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Over medium high heat oil should be moderately hot, add the cumin seeds, and asafetida, as seeds crack add tomato puree, coriander, turmeric, sugar and salt.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, stir the spice paste occasionally when it start thickening add cashew powder and cook until paste become the thick and start leaving the oil from side.
  4. Add all the vegetables and 1/4 cup of water, mix it well. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat stir few times in between. Add paneer mix and cover the pan, cook for another 3-4 minutes. Vegetables should be tender not mushy.
  5. Turn off the heat add garam masala and cilantro, stir and cover the pan for few minutes before serving.
  6. Serve the vegetable over hot rice.

Hyderbadi mirchi ka salan goes well with this Shahi Pulao
Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan (Spicy Pepper Curry)

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan (Spicy Pepper Curry)

Savour the Essence of Shahi Pulao: Mixed Vegetable Pulao or Biryani Pulav 

Shahi pulao is a fragrant and rich rice dish from Indian cuisine. “Shahi” translates to “royal,” indicating the dish’s royal and luxurious nature. It is typically made with basmati rice cooked with a blend of aromatic spices, such as cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, along with saffron for a distinctive golden color and aroma.

Rice Preparation: Creating the Perfect Base for Pulav

Washing and Soaking Rice to Enhance Texture 

Kickstart your culinary journey of biryani pulav or mixed vegetable pulao by ensuring the rice is immaculately clean and primed for cooking. Begin by delicately washing the rice, changing the water multiple times until it achieves crystal clarity. For an impeccable fluffiness characteristic of pulav Indian dishes, soak the rice grains for a minimum of 15 minutes before cooking, allowing them to absorb moisture and expand, ready to absorb the delightful flavors of your shahi  pulao recipe.

  1. Tempering Oil with Aromatic Spices 

In a saucepan, elevate the essence of your pulav by heating the oil to the perfect temperature. Gauge the oil’s readiness by dropping a cumin seed – it should crackle instantaneously upon contact, signalling the ideal heat level for infusing flavors. Once the oil reaches the desired temperature, introduce cumin seeds and a cinnamon stick, allowing them to crackle and permeate the oil with their delightful aroma, setting the stage for a tantalizing pulav experience.

  1. Incorporating Rice and Seasonings for Flavorful Base 

After the spices have crackled to perfection, introduce the washed and soaked rice into the saucepan, along with freshly chopped cilantro and a dash of salt. Stir-fry the rice for about a minute, ensuring each grain is enveloped in the aromatic oil and spices, laying the foundation for a flavorful shahi pulao base that will elevate your biryani pulav or mixed vegetable pulao to new heights of deliciousness.

  1. Cooking Rice to Perfection for Pulav Indian Delight 

Pour water into the saucepan, ensuring the rice is fully immersed, and bring it to a gentle boil. Once the water reaches a steady boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan, allowing the rice to simmer gently for approximately 15 minutes or until it reaches the desired tenderness and the water has evaporated. This slow and meticulous cooking process ensures that each grain of rice is cooked to perfection, ready to absorb the rich flavors of the accompanying vegetables in your mix vegetable pulao recipe.

  1. Fluffing Rice to Achieve Light Texture

Once the rice has achieved the ideal level of tenderness, turn off the heat and delicately fluff the grains with a fork. This crucial step helps to separate the rice and prevent it from clumping together, ensuring a light and fluffy texture that is characteristic of a delectable pulav Indian masterpiece like biryani pulav or mixed vegetable pulao.

Vegetable Preparation: Infusing Flavor into Mixed Vegetable Pulao 

  1. Creating a Flavorful Tomato Puree 

Begin the vegetable preparation for your mix vegetable pulao by blending fresh tomatoes, green chilies, and ginger into a smooth puree. For a milder flavor, remove the seeds from the green chilies before blending, adjusting the spice level to your preference.

  1. Tempering the Oil with Aromatic Spices 

In a separate saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat until moderately hot. Add cumin seeds and a pinch of asafetida, allowing them to crackle and release their flavors into the oil.

  1. Cooking the Spices and Creating the Base 

Once the cumin seeds crackle, add the freshly prepared tomato puree to the saucepan, along with ground coriander, turmeric powder, a hint of sugar, and salt to taste. Stir the spice paste occasionally until it thickens and the oil starts to separate from the sides of the pan.

  1. Adding Vegetables and Cooking Until Tender 

Incorporate a variety of vegetables into the spice paste, along with a quarter cup of water, ensuring they are evenly coated with the flavorful mixture. Cover the saucepan and allow the vegetables to cook over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add paneer mix and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender yet firm.

  1. Flavoring the Vegetable Mixture and Allowing to Rest 

Once the vegetables are cooked to perfection, turn off the heat and sprinkle garam masala and freshly chopped cilantro over the mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the spices, then cover the pan and let the flavors meld together for a few minutes before serving atop the hot, fluffy rice.  

This meticulous step-by-step approach ensures that each component of your biryani pulav or mixed vegetable pulao is prepared with care and attention, resulting in a flavorful and aromatic dish that will delight your senses. If you loved this mix vegetable pulao recipe then you must also check out other variants of Rice: Vegetable Biryani, Masala Khichdi, Chhole Biryani, Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf and Lemon Rice.

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8 thoughts on “Shahi Pulao (Vegetable Pulao)

  1. While the recipe looks scrumptious and I will sure try this Manjula Aunty, I think calling it Hyderabadi ‘Biryani’ is quite misleading. Its not biryani.

  2. I am in love with authentic Hyderabadi Biryani.Its so hard to find the real taste so easily.Aunty thanks a ton for sharing this recipe.Will definitely try and hope it wont be missing it anymore.

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