This vegetable pulao is just the dish you need for busy weeknights. I have memories of coming home from school on cool evenings and being welcomed by the soul warming scent of my mother’s pulao. We’d enjoy it with tangy homemade yogurt, and spicy, lemony onions. In this one-pot Indian classic, fragrant basmati rice is studded with nutritious veggies, hearty potatoes, and comforting whole spices. Feel free to make this your own by adding cauliflower, broccoli or even chickpeas for a perfect complete gluten free, vegan meal!
In a medium sized bowl, add the basmati rice and rinse with cold water until the water is no longer cloudy, straining the water out about three times. The best technique here is to gently rub the rice between your fingers to help remove some of the starch, this results in fluffy individual grains, as opposed to stickier rice.
Cover the rice with 1 inch cold water, then set aside to soak for 20 minutes.
Place a medium sized pot over medium heat, then add oil.
Once the oil has warmed through, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaf, and cloves. The spices will sizzle slightly. Stir until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Add the frozen vegetables, diced potatoes, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, and garlic. Mix well to coat.
Add 1 cup of water to the pot, cover and simmer until the potatoes are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
Strain the soaked rice. Add the rice to the pot along with 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
Stir the rice gently, season with salt, squeeze in 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.
Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice is fluffy and cooked through.
Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for about 5 minutes. Gently fluff with a fork, being careful not to break the grains of rice. Plate, top with mint and squeeze lemon juice over top. Enjoy warm.