South Indian Vegetable Pulao Recipe

Recently, I came across a dish called South Indian Vegetable Pulao. When I read the name of this delicacy, I quickly started thinking about the possible list of ingredients required for its recipe.

Everyone in India knows that pulao is pretty much a North Indian recipe, so I thought the only South Indian dish that may come close to it is the Mixed Vegetable Upma.

But I was wrong! South Indian Pulao does exist, and it has nothing to do with snack dishes like upma.

So, what’s the secret ingredient of this Pulao recipe?

The answer is… Coconut!

Yes, you will have to use freshly grated coconut to make this type of vegetable pulao. Apart from that, everything else is just the same. There is not much difference in other ingredients and cooking style.

On the other hand, it’s quite interesting to know how the abundance of one ingredient impacts on regional delicacies. I guess we should be thankful that we’re living in such a diverse food culture where recipes change every other mile or so.

Preparation Tips

The following tips should help you get the best results for your preparation.

Fresh Coconut – It’s important to use fresh coconut in this recipe. If you use leftover grated pieces, it might change the taste of your South Indian Pulao.

So, grate the coconut just before preparing the paste. It will bring nice sweetish taste to your dish.

Soaked Rice – Whenever you make Pulao or Biryani dishes, you should soak the rice for at least 30 minutes. This rule also applies to the following Vegetable Pulao recipe.

Lime Juice – For those who can’t find Amchur Powder, you may use fresh lime juice as an alternative in this recipe. It also helps in getting the separated grains texture for the Pulao.

How to make South Indian Vegetable Pulao?

Alright, now let’s learn to make this delicious Pulao recipe –


  • Onion – 1, medium sized, sliced in juliennes and 1, small sized, roughly chopped
  • Tomato – 1, medium sized, roughly chopped
  • Green Peas – 1/2 cup
  • Carrot – 1/3 cup, chopped into cubes
  • Capsicum – 1/2 cup, chopped into cubes
  • Beans – 1/4 cup, chopped into small pieces
  • Potato – 1, small sized, chopped into cubes
  • Fresh Grated Coconut – 3 tablespoon
  • Green Chilli – 1, finely chopped
  • Basmati Rice – 1-1/2 cup
  • Green Cardamom – 1-2 pods
  • Black Cardamom – 1 pod
  • Star Anise – 1 piece
  • Mace – 1-2 strands
  • Cinnamon Stick – 2-3 inch piece
  • Cumin Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Corns – 4-5 nos.
  • Cloves – 2-3 nos.
  • Bay Leaf – 2 nos.
  • Ginger – 2 teaspoon, roughly chopped
  • Garlic – 2 teaspoon, roughly chopped
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry Mango Powder (Amchur Powder) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lime Juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Pulao Masala Powder – 1-1/2 teaspoon
  • Cashew Nuts – 5-6 nos., fried, sliced into halves
  • Coriander Leaves – 2-3 tablespoon, finely chopped
  • Mint Leaves – 1 tablespoon
  • Oil – 3 tablespoon
  • Ghee/Clarified Butter – 2 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed

Note – You may adjust the spices according your taste.


1. In a mixer, add the grated coconut, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies and onion. Grind it to a fine paste and keep aside.

2. Heat oil in heavy bottom vessel and keep the flame to medium-high.

3. Add the cumin seeds, cardamoms, star anise, mace, bay leaf, cloves and black pepper corns. Fry these spices for a minute or so.

4. Add the sliced onions and salt in it.

5. When the onions become translucent, add the tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, pulao masala powder and coconut paste in it.

6. Stir fry these ingredients till the oil separates from masala.

7. When the masala base is cooked perfectly, add the vegetables and some water (2-3 tablespoon). Cook for around 10 minutes on medium flame.

8. Finally, add the soaked rice and stir gently for two minutes. Then, add water in the vessel, check the taste and cover it with the lid. Cook the rice for 12-13 minutes.

9. Once it’s cooked, switch off the flame. Remove the lid and add the chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves and ghee. Mix it gently and cover again for a couple of minutes.

10. Serve your hot ń spicy South Indian Vegetable Pulao with Lemon Wedge, Cucumber Raita and roasted Papad.


South Indian food culture has evolved with its own distinctive taste and flavor. And fortunately, we can still differentiate between the typical North Indian and South Indian cuisine.

However, when you come to know about some interesting recipes like South Indian Vegetable Pulao, you realize that the food evolution is a continuos process.

People are experimenting with their food on daily basis to come up with new dishes, which I think is the most beautiful thing for those who are passionate about food.

The above vegetable pulao is 90% similar to our traditional recipe, but I’m hopeful that we will see a completely unique ‘South Indian Pulao’ in years to come. Till then, enjoy it with your family. It’s a great Sunday recipe for your lunch or dinner.

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