Capsicum rice recipe with stovetop & instant pot instructions. Rice dishes never get old. Definitely not given the sheer number of variations available. This hot bell pepper rice is one such alternate way to enjoy a bowl of mouthwatering and aromatic rice. Filled with the goodness of capsicum aka bell peppers and peas and the lingering taste of warm spices, this is a flavor some and vibrant rice dish. An ideal lunch box option, it makes a great dinner for busy days.
The crunch, taste and texture of one-pot capsicum pulao make it a delicious addition to potluck and party menus. Before you learn how to make the best capsicum rice, let’s find out what goes into this quick and easy dish.
About capsicum rice
A delectable dish is made with rice, assorted bell peppers, peas that have been infused with aromatics like onions and garlic. The warm ground spices and herbs imbibe their flavors into the vegetables and cooked rice.
The beauty of this dish is that it requires minimal ingredients and provides maximum flavor. The pungent garam masala and zesty mint-coriander combine with hot and sweet tones of bell peppers to create a distinct and unmistakable savor.
Like most vegetable rice recipes, this dish is forgiving and adaptable. You can add other vegetables to increase the nutrient value or adjust the spice levels to match yours. All this without losing out on taste or mouthfeel.
My capsicum rice (pulao) comes together in 15 minutes or less with precooked or leftover rice. This easy to cook meal takes 30-35 minutes when you’re cooking everything from scratch.
Save time when you’re cooking this for dinner by batch cooking rice and prepping veggies in advance. All that’s left is to make the bell pepper masala which takes about 10 minutes.
My recipe is vegan and gluten-free and uses onions, mixed bell peppers and peas.
Want to make this more wholesome and healthier? Add another nutrient-rich vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, squash, eggplant, green beans or cauliflower, and even a bit of chopped greens like spinach.
I’ve used mint and coriander leaves in this recipes as I love the flavor and aroma of fresh herbs in my dishes. Add more or less of herbs and other spices in the recipe according to your preference.
Time to load the lunch box with yummy capsicum rice.
How to make capsicum rice (stepwise photos)
I made 2x of the recipe so you will find double the ingredients in the recipe.
1. Wash and soak 1 cup rice for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cook the rice without making it mushy. You can cook in a pot or pressure cooker. Fluff up and cool the rice. You may skip this step if you have 2.5 to 3 cups of precooked rice.
How to make bell pepper rice
2. While the rice cooks, add 1 tablespoon oil to a pan. Add
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 green cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 strand of mace, 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf or 1 sprig curry leaves
If you don’t have the whole spices you may skip them.
3. When the spices sizzle, add 1 medium sliced onion and 1 slit green chili. Fry until the onions turn transparent. Skip green chilli if you are making for kids.
4. Add half tablespoon ginger garlic paste.
5. Fry until the ginger garlic smells aromatic.
6. Add 1 cup chopped capsicum and ¼ cup peas. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes until aromatic & the bell peppers turn slightly tender but not too soft. If you want you can also add diced boiled potato (cooked to fork tender and not over cooked)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon masala powder
- 2 tablespoons each chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves.
8. Stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.
9. Optionally if the veggies are too dry, sprinkle 2 tbsp. water and cook on a low to medium flame. This also brings out the aroma of capsicum and spices. Evaporate the water completely. Turn off the heat.
10. Take off the stove and place the pan on the counter. Add cooled rice. Do not add very hot rice, if it is slightly hot its fine.
11. Mix well. Taste test and adjust salt if needed. Add lemon juice and mix well.
How to get the perfect texture, pepperiness and tang? I’ve a few suggestions to make the perfect capsicum rice.
- Cook the rice the way you make pulao or biryani (with less water). This lets the rice grains stand out and provides the chewy texture.
- Let the rice cool down and lose a little moisture before you add it to the vegetable masala.
- Don’t overcook the bell peppers, rather stir fry them on medium heat. You want these beauties to be tender yet retain some crunch.
- Use homemade garam masala to get that flavor kick. Need a good garam masala recipe? This one has never failed me.
- For extra crunch, add roasted peanuts or sesame seeds. This again is completely optional.
Kids friendly version
Also reduce the amount of red chili when serving this to kids. Here is a tip you’ll find useful to make it less spicy.
Reserve some cooked rice and mix it with your children’s meal portions. This automatically lowers the heat levels of the dish. Make the recipe more interesting by adding some tartness in the form of lemon juice. This also helps cut down the heat from green capsicum and red chili powder.
Can’t do without tomatoes in your sides and rice meals?
Add 1-2 chopped tomatoes while cooking the onions. The dish takes longer to cook (7-8 minutes more), as you’ve to sauté the tomatoes until the raw smell fades away.
You can also try my popular tomato rice to whet your appetite for tomatoes!
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup uncooked rice or 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 to 1½ tablespoons oil or as needed
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 1 green chili slit (optional)
- ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste (or chopped)
- ¼ cup green peas (optional)
- 1 to 1¼ cup capsicums (bell pepper chopped )
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons mint leaves (pudina) chopped
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or as needed (optional)
Spices for capsicum rice
- 1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon cumin (jeera or shahi jeera)
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala or bisi bele bath or biryani masala (adjust as needed)
- ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon red chili powder (skip if included in masala)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- whole spices (optional – 2 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 star anise,1 inch cinnamon)
- Optional – Wash rice and soak for 20 mins. Cook just until done without making it mushy. Fluff it up and cool completely.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and all the whole spices if using. Also add bay leaf or curry leaves.
- Once the spices begin to splutter add onions and green chili. Fry until the onions turn slightly pink.
- Then add ginger garlic paste and saute until it begins to smell aromatic. Add capsicum and green peas. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes until tender yet crunchy and not mushy.
- Add mint, coriander, chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Fry for about 2 minutes till the mixture turns aromatic.
- Optional – If the mixture is too dry, sprinkle 2 tbsp water and cook until the water evaporates.
- Then add cooled rice to the capsicum mixture. Mix well and taste test. Add more salt if required and pour the lemon juice. Mix well. Serve capsicum rice 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 1 cup basmati rice, you will need 1¼ cups water. For 1 cup sona masuri rice, you will need 2 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 to 6 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.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Capsicum Rice first published in June 2015. Updated and republished in August 2021.