Looking for a flavorful and aromatic rice dish for lunch box? Try this Methi Pulao recipe! The aromatic basmati rice, fresh fenugreek leaves, and a blend of spices are cooked in coconut milk. Yummm... Whether you're a fan of vegetarian cuisine or simply looking to explore new flavours, this Methi Pulao is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
The earthy taste of fenugreek leaves (methi) perfectly complements the subtle sweetness of the rice and coconut milk, while the spices flavour akin to biryani. For meat lovers, serve this methi rice with some meat appetizers like kebabs or Kibbeh.
A good old collegue turned friend shared this methi rice recipe during one of our chats. I was looking for a rice recipe to use fresh fenugreek leaves because I already make methi paratha, methi laccha paratha, aloo methi paratha often. As soon as I read her recipe needs fennel seeds, I was sold!
I love the aroma of fennel seeds so anything that calls for fennel seeds is sure to win me. And the coconut milk, need I say? As much as I love to cook, cooking curries can take some effort. No such thing as this rice dish! Serve methi pulao with just plain salted yoghurt and some lime pickle and may be a few papadams!
The methi pulao ingredients list may look long but they come packed with flavours. Though most of it can be sourced easily, I will provide some substitute options further below this post.
- basmati rice
- fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
- green chillies
- black pepper
- fennel seeds
- cooking oil
- caraway seeds
- black cardamom (optional)
- green cardamom
- cinnamon stick
- bay leaf
- red onion
- mixed vegetables (carrot, green peas, french beans, corn, etc.)
- turmeric powder
- red chilli powder
- coriander powder
- garam masala
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make methi pulao?
- rinse and soak basmati rice
- make a paste of ginger, garlic, green chillies, pepper and fennel seeds
- start sauteing whole spices, sliced onions, mixed veggies and ground spices
- drain the rice and add to the pot along with water and coconut milk
- season with salt and cook covered
- serve warm with appetizers and raitha
- basmati rice: you can use any other kind of rice that you have but make sure to adjust the soaking time and liquid as per the pack instructions.
- fresh fenugreek leaves (methi): If you cannot source fresh methi leaves, you may use dried fenugreek leaves aka Kasoori methi or Kasuri methi. Soak ¼ cup of dried for every 1 cup of fresh leaves.
- cooking oil: I have mixed ghee and sunflower oil. You may use olive oil or coconut oil but don't mix them.
- caraway seeds: This gives a rich flavour but can be replaced with humble cumin seeds.
- red onion: You can use shallots or white or yellow onion instead.
- mixed vegetables: You can use the frozen mixed veg packet for ease or just use whatever you have or skip them entirely.
- garam masala: As this is a south-Indian style methi rice, try to use a garam masala made for south Indian cuisine like my Malabar garam masala.
To store any leftover Methi Pulao, let it cool completely and transfer it to an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat, you can use the stovetop or microwave. For stovetop, add the pulao and sprinkle a little water. Cover with a lid and gently heat it over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
For the microwave, place the pulao in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, and heat in short intervals, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature.
You have to first rinse and soak basmati rice. Then make a paste of ginger, garlic, green chillies, pepper and fennel seeds. Heat cooking oil in a wide and deep rice pot and start sauteing whole spices, onion, mixed veggies and ground spices. Make sure to drain the rice before adding it to the pot along with water and coconut milk. Season with salt and cook covered. Serve methi pulao warm with appetizers and raitha.
These go well with Methi Pulao:
-Raita or a yoghurt-based dip
Remember, these are just suggestions, and you can customize your meal according to your preferences and dietary restrictions.
Biryani, pulao, and rice pilaf are all rice-based dishes, but they differ in their cooking methods, ingredients, and flavours.
- Cooking Method: Biryani is typically cooked in layers with partially cooked rice and marinated meat or vegetables, sealed with dough or a tight-fitting lid, and then slow-cooked until the flavours meld together. Pulao and rice pilaf, on the other hand, involve cooking the rice together with the meat, vegetables, and spices in a single pot.
- Spices and Flavors: Biryani is known for its complex blend of spices, including aromatic whole spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon, as well as various ground spices. Pulao and rice pilaf generally have a milder flavour profile with fewer spices, allowing the individual flavours of the ingredients to shine through.
- Regional Variations: Biryani and pulao have regional variations across different cuisines. Biryani is commonly associated with South Asian cuisine, with different styles like Hyderabadi biryani, Lucknowi biryani, or Kolkata biryani. Pulao is found in various cuisines, including Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean, with examples like Kabuli pulao, machboos, Kabsa, etc.
Looking for more recipes using basmati rice?
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Methi Pulao:
Methi Pulao with Coconut milk
Grind to Paste:
- 5 green chillies
- ½ inch ginger
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (or cumin seeds)
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
- 3 green cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion chopped finely
- ¾ cup frozen or boiled green peas (or mix of carrot, French beans, corn, etc)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 2 cups methi leaves (measured after rinsing and discarding the stems)
- 1½ cup basmati rice (washed and soaked for 30 minutes)
- 2 cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk (diluted thick coconut milk with 1 cup water)
- Add all the paste ingredients into a chutney maker or mini processor and grind to paste. You may use a mortar and pestle to get it done. It doesn’t have to be super fine.5 green chillies, ½ inch ginger, 3 to 4 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- Heat oil and ghee in a deep pot to prepare the pulao.1 tablespoon sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon ghee
- Add all the whole spices and sauté until fragrant.1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 black cardamom, 3 green cardamom, 4 cloves, 2 inch cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf
- Add the chopped onions and sauté until they are translucent.1 medium onion
- Add the ground paste and sauté until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic fades away
- Next, add the chopped vegetables of your choice and saute until softened.¾ cup frozen or boiled green peas
- Now, add the chopped methi and sauté until wilted.2 cups methi leaves
- Add all the spice powders and cook until the vegetables are almost done.¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Add the drained basmati rice and stir to mix everything (don't overdo it)1½ cup basmati rice
- Pour the prepared thin coconut milk and water with some salt to taste. Adjust the salt as required.2 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk
- Bring the pot to a full boil on high heat and cook open until the rice is on the surface.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest, close the pot with a tight lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Open and stir the bottom rice to the top, cover, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Switch off and do not open for another 5 minutes. (Or if you are comfortable, you can make this entire dish in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker)
- Open and fluff with a fork and serve with raita, pickle, kababs, dal curry or some non-veg curry if your folks are pure non-vegetarians!