Rice-Cooker Vegetable Indian Rice Pilaf

indian rice pilau

Pilaf is a very popular rice recipe. It is also known as pilau, pulao or pulav in different countries. Rice Pilaf is common to Middle Eastern, Asian, African, Latin American, and Caribbean cuisines. My rice pilaf recipe will be a very simple Indian vegetarian dish. I like rice pilaf because I sometimes get bored of eating plain white rice. Also, I can put as many vegetables as I want in the pilau, making it a very healthy recipe. For this recipe, I used the students’ favorite cooking utensil: RICE-COOKER! I love rice-cookers. They make cooking so easy, very fast and there is very little chance of getting your food burnt, especially when making rice dishes. In home, when cooking rice dishes like briani or rice pilau, my mom usually uses pots with a thick bottom, which prevent the food from burning down. But, as a student, I can only have 1-2 cooking utensils. Argh, how I wish I have my own kitchen soon!
1. I tried many times making rice pilau, and they always ended up too dry or too “mashy”. The trick is to pre-soak your rice and to to put just the right amount of water. The water should be such that it JUST reaches the same level as the rice.
2. One mistake I often made was to go overboard with the amount of rice. The amount to use should be such that you allow space for the rice to expand. For example, if I put so much rice such that it almost levels with the top of the rice cooker, then how is the rice going to cook? There is no space for it to expand/cook!
3. Use boiling water! When adding water to the rice pilau, use boiling water! It helps fluff the rice.
4. Since I am using a rice cooker to cook, I always check that the “cooking” mode is on. If the rice cooker bowl gets too hot, the “cooking” mode will automatically switch to “Already cooked” mode. Just wait for a few seconds before pushing back the button to “cooking” mode.
5. Don’t forget to add salt! I forgot many times to add salt just because I was so concentrated on getting the rice right!

Rice-cooker Vegetable Indian Rice Pilaf recipe

500g long-grain rice, pre-soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
200g black lentils, pre-soaked in water for at least 1 hour
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in cubes
handful of french green beans, cut in medium slices
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 bayleaf

1. Boil the black lentils until they are soft. Drain and keep.

lentil rice pilaf
2. Meanwhile, prepare your other vegetables.

rice pilau ingredients
3. Plug in your rice cooker and put it in cooking mode. When the rice cooker bowl is hot enough, add 1-2 tbsps oil.
4. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and bayleaf. Let cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly fragrant.

rice cooker recipes
5. Add the onions and fry until they are soft.

rice cooker indian recipes
6. Add the french green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes.

easy rice cooker recipes
8. Add the black lentils, salt to taste, mix and cook for 1-2 minutes.

rice cooker recipes
9. Drain your pre-soaked rice and add to the rice cooker. Mix.

rice pulao recipe
10. Using the back of your spatula, flatten the rice level and add boiling water until it JUST reaches the rice level.

rice cooker indian recipes
11. Close the lid and make sure the “cooking” mode is on. Let cook until no more steam is seen coming out of the rice cooker nuzzle.
12. Serve your vegetable rice pilau with a spicy Indian curry!

rice pilau rice cooker


  1. Athena says

    Nice pics! You should go pro. Also please move to my neighborhood so I can get good food? Please please please? I’ll bake dessert for you. 😀

    • Cindy @ MijoRecipes says

      Thanks for the kind words, Athena! I will definitely be moving for your tasty desserts! hehe!

  2. Suman says

    This is a great article. Makes cooking pulao in a rice cooker look so easy.
    I have just bought a rice cooker and would like to know about more Indian recipes or anything interesting that can be made in a Rice Cooker.
    Thanks in advance :)

    • Cindy @ MijoRecipes says

      Hello, Suman! I am glad you enjoyed this recipe! Cooking in the rice cooker does make things easier, right? I’ll try to post more rice cooker Indian recipes and let you know! :)

    • Cindy @ MijoRecipes says

      Hi, Sophia! Thanks for stopping by! If you use a slow cooker, there is no need to pre-soak the rice though. Rinse the rice, drain and add it to the vegetables. Also, you should add 1 cup measure more of water than rice. I hope that helps!

  3. says

    Excellent work. This is a grade A example of how to season food well. It is also amazingly nutritious. I can smell the bay leaves and cinnamon already…

    • Cindy @ MijoRecipes says

      Thanks for the sweet words, Mark! I always try to make nutritious foods, especially with lots of vegetables! :)

  4. Rahul says

    Awesome ! just brought a rice cooker and will really try it. By the way – Should sprouted lentils also be pre-cooked or will they get cooked with rice ?

    • Cindy @ MijoRecipes says

      It is better to pre-cook them beforehand. I always like to cook them until at least 3/4 cooked, so I don’t get the bad surprise of finding them uncooked when the rice has already cooked!

  5. Annie Bee says

    just a thought…your rice cooker’s non-stick surface appears to be quite scratched. Perhaps you should do some research on this, as my research tells me that scratched teflon releases lots of chemical baddies and should be ditched. Trick is to make sure you only use non-scratch implements and cleaning pads.

  6. says

    1. Really this is awesome recipe. i love vegitable indian rice pilaf. delicious, very tasty too.most of the south Indian people like to eat this in traditional days (or) on occasion. vankaya curry is the best combination for this i think so. :-)

    • Cindy @ MijoRecipes says

      Hi! Thanks for the comment! I do love this recipe too. I think it’s a really easy vegetarian recipe! I have to look for a vankaya curry recipe then! 😛

  7. says

    Dude,amazing web site you got here. Loads of excellent content as well
    as useful information!!! Do you have any existing publications in regards to rice
    cooker recipes?

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