Capsicum rice recipe or bell pepper rice with stovetop & instant pot instructions – A spicy capsicum pulao that can be made just under 30 minutes. It goes good in lunch box or for a quick dinner and is kids’ friendly. Capsicum rice tastes very flavorful and delicious so does not need any side. But to make a complete meal, it can be served with plain curd or yogurt or with a simple raita and papad.
To make this easy dish, I precook the rice in a cooker or Instant pot. While the rice cooks, I make the capsicum masala in a pan. Once the rice is done, I cool it slightly and then mix it with the prepared capsicum masala. A dash of lemon juice enhances the taste.
I have updated this recipe with the Instant pot instructions. The same method can be followed to make it in the traditional Indian cooker or pot.
You can always skip the whole spices in the recipe if you do not prefer them. Capsicum rice still tastes great even without the whole spices.
I have used green peas, you can substitute with potato and can be garnished with cashew nuts.
If making for kids reduce the amount of masala and red chilli powder. I usually set aside a small quantity of cooked white rice. Then towards the end add it to the kids’ portion of rice to make it less spicy, add a bit more of salt if needed.
Easy capsicum rice recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups rice uncooked
- 2 tablespoons oil or as needed
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 1 green chili slit (optional)
- ¾ to 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (or chopped)
- ½ cup green peas (optional)
- 1½ to 2 cups capsicums or bell pepper chopped
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- ¼ cup mint leaves (pudina) chopped
- 1½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or as needed (optional)
Spices for capsicum rice
- 1 sprig curry leaves or biryani leaf or bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon cumin or jeera or shahi jeera
- 1½ teaspoons garam masala or bisi bele bath or biryani masala (adjust as needed)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (skip if included in masala)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric or haldi
How to make the recipe
- Wash rice and cook to slightly grainy. Do not make the rice mushy.
- I cooked 2 cups basmati rice with 3½ cups water in a pressure cooker for 1 whistle on a medium high flame.
- Released the pressure manually using a spoon. Fluff up with a fork and cool completely. While the rice cooks, make the capsicum masala ready.
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry cumin & bay leaf or curry leaves till it turns aromatic.
- Add onions and chili fry until the onions turn slightly pink.
- Then add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away. Transfer capsicum and green peas. Fry for 3 minutes.
- Add mint, coriander, chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Fry for about 2 minutes till the mixture turns aromatic.
- Add the 2 tbsp water and cook on a low flame till the water evaporates.
- Then add cooled rice to the capsicum mixture along with lemon and salt. Mix well. Serve capsicum rice warm with a raita.
Instant pot capsicum rice
- Press SAUTE button on the Instant pot and pour oil to the inner steel insert.
- Add cumin. When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves, green chilli and onions. Saute until the onions turn golden.
- Next add ginger garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then add in the capsicum and peas.
- Saute for 2 to 3 mins until the capsicum is done to your liking. Then add salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and mint leaves.
- Give a good stir and pour 2 tbsps of water. Press CANCEL button.
- Deglaze the pot and mix everything well. The heat in the pot will cook the masala and evaporate the water completely.
- Remove this to a plate and set aside.
- Add soaked rice and pour water. For 2 cups basmati rice, you will need 2.5 cups water. For 2 cups sona masuri rice, you will need 4 cups water.
- Give a good stir to ensure there are no food particles stuck at the bottom. Secure the Instant pot with the lid and position the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press PRESSURE COOK button and set the timer to 5 mins for basmati rice or 10 mins for sona masuri rice.
- For basmati rice, release the pressure manually after 5 mins. Remove the pot and cool the rice a bit.
- Then add the coriander leaves, capsicum masala and lemon juice to the pot. Give a good mix. Adjust salt if needed.Serve capsicum rice with yogurt or curd.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
1. Wash and soak rice for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cook to grainy but cooked completely. Soaking helps to keep the rice soft for long hours.
How to make
2. While the rice cooks, add oil to a pan. Saute jeera and then the curry leaves or bay leaf until crisp. If using optional dry spices then add 4 cardamom, 4 cloves, 2 inch cinnamon, 1 star anise and 1 strand mace. Saute till they sizzle.
3. Transfer onions, chili and fry until the onions turn transparent. For kids skip green chilli.
4. Add ginger garlic paste.
5. Fry until the raw smell is gone.
6. Add capsicum, peas or potato. If using potatoes, chop them small else they don’t cook quickly. Fry for about 3 minutes.
7. Sprinkle salt, turmeric, chili powder, masala powder, chopped pudina and coriander.
8. Stir and fry for about 2 minutes.
9. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. Water and cook on a low flame for the aroma of capsicum and masala to come out. Evaporate the water completely but do not dry up otherwise the pulao will be very dry. The mixture must be moist. If using potatoes you may need to add more water to cook.
10. Add rice and sprinkle salt. Do not add very hot rice, if it is slightly hot its fine.
11. Mix well and add lemon juice.
After 45 minutes to 1 hour, the rice gets a deeper color due to the spice powders, lemon juice and red pepper. Serve capsicum rice with papad or curd.
If making capsicum rice in less quantity than what is mentioned below, reduce the amount of spices proportionately.