Indian Rice (Pulao) Recipe -
Indian Rice (Pulao) Recipe

Indian Rice (Pulao)

Recipe by  

"When I grew up as a child in India, I always enjoyed this wonderful festive rice which was served at weddings or other special occasions. Also good with Indian curry."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 16 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    30 mins
  • COOK

    40 mins

    1 hr 10 mins


  1. Place saffron threads into boiling water, set aside to steep.
  2. Melt the vegetable shortening in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, cumin, garlic powder, and cardamom seeds. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes to release the flavor, stirring constantly.
  3. Pour in the rice and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the yogurt, saffron water, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot with a cloth folded into 4 layers. Place a lid over the cloth and cook until the rice is done, about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cardamom seeds before serving.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 11, 2006

This recipe got RAVE reviews from my middle eastern husband. After dinner he was eating it directly from the pot. It's the real thing for sure. I didn't have shortening so I used butter and a touch of olive oil. I was really unsure about the cloth bit but I just tried it with a doubled tea towl under the lid. I'm glad I did.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 03, 2012

This rice is easy to make but very bland. If you are south Asian you will not like this rice. I would skip this recipe and find a more authentic recipe.


27 Ratings

Mar 27, 2008

Umm...yes! This is incredible! Did everything just as the recipe called for, except used ground cardamom in place of the seeds. It was hard to stop eating this. I served it with the Indian Tomato Chicken recipe listed on this site and me and fam (including husband and 3 little kids) were in heaven. I'm not sure what to say about folks who found it bland. I thought it was anything but. Subtle, maybe, but REALLY tasty. Eat it as a side dish to make sure you get enough "flavor" out of your dinner! (By the way, I'd cut the recipe in half next time - this is two dinners' worth of rice for a family of 5.)

Apr 09, 2007

Finally an awesome Indian rice recipe! It was absolutely awesome! My husband also loved it and I'm keeping this recipe handy! I used the saffron AND the ground turmeric (the turmeric was put in with the other spices). I also added a chicken bullion cube to the spices and it turned out awesome!!!! It was good enough to eat by itself.

Nov 20, 2009

I made this using brown rice and quartered the recipe. I also goofed and forgot to add the yogurt. I used 1 c. brown rice, and 2 c. water, and baked the rice for an hour without the whole cloth thing. Baked brown rice always comes out much better than stove top. All the spices I used were ground. And I used oil instead of shortening. At first it seemed bland, but after a few spoonfuls, I really grew a liking to it. The flavors are subtle and it works great as a side dish.

Sep 09, 2009

Excellent rice dish for Indian Meal of Grilled Chicken Thighs Tandoori and Raita also from The Cardamon is an expensive seasoning. I could not find cardamon seeds at my grocery store, so I used ground cardamon. Also added 1 teaspoon of chicken bullion along with the water and yogurt in lieu of the salt. Used olive oil instead of vegetable shortening to cook onions and spices. Did not use saffron threads because I do not like this spice. Saffron is too over powering for my taste. Used Indian Basmati rice in place of regular long-grain white rice. I cooked the rice in my enameled covered cast iron dutch oven with three terry cloth towels tucked under the lid to absorb moisture; this worked well.

Mar 23, 2009

This was so much better than serving plain rice with Indian dishes, like I was doing before. I'll be making this from now on! I halved the recipe, used turmeric instead of saffron and used butter instead of shortening.

Nov 04, 2006

very good and authentic. I used basmati rice, wonderful.


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  • Calories
  • 267 kcal
  • 13%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 44.7 g
  • 14%
  • Cholesterol
  • < 1 mg
  • < 1%
  • Fat
  • 7.2 g
  • 11%
  • Fiber
  • 1.2 g
  • 5%
  • Protein
  • 4.9 g
  • 10%
  • Sodium
  • 307 mg
  • 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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