Navratan Pulao, an Indian vegetarian rice dish as exquisite and appetizing as rice can get with a brilliant, jewel-like hues and heavenly fragrance. Have the classic north Indian dish with a spicy curry for a memorable meal. The recipe nutty and crunchy.

Navratan pulao usually gets made on rushed weekend afternoons when we wish to serve family or friends a delicious and even special meal. This Indian rice dish is the exception to the expectation that anything fancy — one with regal antecedents to boot — has to take a day and a half and a list of ingredients as long as an arm to make.

It is a regal dish definitely, with roots in King’s  Kitchen. Mughlai cuisine — the food that was prepared for India’s ancient Mughal rulers is a rich and luxurious taste, with lots of nuts, dry fruits and dairy products like ghee and cream added, and they are always delicious. If you’re new to Indian food, or cannot tolerate spice, or if you just love Indian food in all of its magnificent diversity and deliciousness, this is a recipe for you. The veggies most often used in pulao are potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, green peas and green beans. Precook the rice before you add it to the pulao. Cook the rice to about 80 percent readiness, so it doesn’t mash when mixed with the veggies and spices. The rice will continue cooking for a few more minutes after everything has mixed together.

Navratan Pulao is so delicately flavored that you don’t want the added complexity of the stock to be layered in. Water is perfect for boiling, no need to add stock of any kind. Use blanched, sliced almonds, cashews and just use raisins.

  • Prep Time15 min
  • Cook Time25 min
  • Total Time40 min
  • Yield6 Plates
  • Serving Size200 g
  • Energy315 cal
  • Cuisine
    • Indian
  • Course
    • Main Course
  • Cooking Method
    • Cutting
    • Boiling
    • Sauteing


    • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 4 green cardamoms
    • 4 cloves
    • 1-inch stick cinnamon
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 medium potatoes (cut into a fine dice)
    • 2 medium carrots (cut into a fine dice)
    • 2 cups green beans (chopped into small bits)
    • ½ small head cauliflower (separated into small florets)
    • 1 cup green peas (frozen)
    • ½ tsp saffron strands
    • ¼ cup raw cashews
    • 2 tbsp sliced almonds
    • 2 tbsp golden raisins


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, lightly salt it, then add the rice.
  • Cook until the rice grains are almost tender but not fully cooked.

  • Drain and set aside.
  • Mix the saffron with the milk and set aside.

  • Heat 1 ½ tbsp oil.
  • Add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin seeds.
  • Stir-fry until the spices release their fragrance and begin to turn color.
  • Add the potatoes, saute for 2-3 minutes.

  • Add the carrots and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower and green beans and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add green peas, then add some salt, cover the pot.
  • Let the veggies cook over a medium-low flame for about five minutes.
  • Stir a couple of times to ensure they do not stick. Don’t brown the veggies.
  • When the potatoes are almost cooked and the cauliflower is al dente.
  • Mix in the rice, paneer cubes and the saffron in milk.
  • Cover and let the rice continue cooking over low heat for 10 more minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining ½ tbsp oil in a small saucepan.

  • Add the cashews and raisins to it, and finally the blanched, sliced almonds.
  • Cook until the nuts are a light gold, then pour over the rice and mix.
  • Serve hot.


  • To make this recipe soy-free, leave out the tofu.
  • To make this recipe nut-free, leave out the nuts.
  • You can use apricots or another dry fruit along with the raisins.
  • Use a nondairy milk that’s nut-free.
  • 4 servings per container
  • Serving Size200 g
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories315
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat9 g11.54%
  • Saturated Fat4 g20%
  • Trans Fat0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg0%
  • Sodium125 mg5.43%
  • Total Carbohydrate48 g17.45%
  • Dietary Fiber6 g21.43%
  • Total Sugars6 g
  • Protein12 g24%
  • Calcium155 mg11.92%
  • Iron4 mg22.22%
  • Potassium551 mg11.72%
  • Vitamin A293 mcg32.56%
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)27 mg30%

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