Methi pulao is a simple one pot Indian pilaf made with rice, fresh fenugreek leaves, whole spices and herbs. Methi is an Indian word for fenugreek and pulao is a pilaf. This easy dish is delicious, flavor packed and makes for a great healthy and balanced meal. Serve it with raita or plain yogurt on the side. If you want to extend your menu, then some papads & a potato kurma goes well.
Fenugreek leaves are said to be low in calories, high in antioxidants and have a lot of medicinal values. So traditionally these leaves have been used as a part of a healthy diet to combat anemia and improve overall health. Fenugreek leaves are generally used to make methi dal, methi paratha and are also added to stir fry dishes like aloo methi.
About the recipe
Methi pulao is yet another dish where the rice pilaf is cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves. The addition of these leaves not only enhances the nutritional values but also imparts a unique aroma.
There are several ways to make a rice pulao. This methi pulao is made much the same way as my vegetable pulao. Here I have used just green peas and no other veggies. The sweet flavor of green peas mellow down the bitter tones of fenugreek leaves. So you won’t feel the bitter taste at all.
For this recipe I have used just the whole spices and does not require garam masala. My kids’ love variety so on occasions I make this with potatoes, carrots, soya chunks or cooked kabuli chana. Sometimes I also marinate and pan fry the paneer like I did in this paneer pulao. Then garnish this methi pulao with pan fried paneer.
These are just some different ways I make for my boys. If you have young kids at home, just get creative and use what they like. No matter what you use, the aroma of the fresh methi leaves is dominant without a bitter taste. You may like to check this quick methi rice made with precooked rice.
I made this methi pulao in a regular pot. But you can easily make it in a stovetop pressure cooker or instant pot. I have included the instructions for the same. Here I have used basmati rice, but you can also use any premium quality aged rice like sona masuri. I have the tips below.
Preparing methi leaves
1. Add 1 cup rice to a bowl and rinse it well a few times. Drain the water and soak it for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile pluck methi leaves and add them to a large bowl of water. I also add a bit of salt and spray vinegar, rest them for 10 minutes before adding them to the bowl of water. This helps to get rid of the pesticide residue. After rinsing them a few times, drain off completely to a colander. Set this aside.
How to make methi pulao
2. Pour 1½ to 2 tablespoons oil to a pot or pressure cooker and heat it. Add 1 inch cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cumin, 3 cloves, star anise, 1 bay leaf and 3 green cardamoms. If you like you can also use few pepper corn and mace. Fry them until they begin to sizzle.
3. Add 1 medium onion, 1 green chili and fry till they turn lightly golden. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell of garlic goes off.
4. If you want to add any other veggies like potatoes or carrots, add them at this stage and saute for 2 mins. At this stage you can also saute the methi leaves but I have added them later just not to overcook them.
5. Pour 2 cup water or thin coconut milk and add half teaspoon salt. If using pressure cooker add 1¾ cups water. Mix well and taste the water, it must be slightly salty. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add rice and peas.
6. Next add methi leaves. Tip: Methi leaves do not need long time to cook, so sometimes I wish to add when the rice is half done. This way the aroma and nutrients are retained.
7. Cover and cook methi pulao on a low flame till the rice is fully cooked. If using pressure cooker, cover the lid and pressure cook for 1 whistle on a medium heat. Alternately cook on a very low flame for 5 minutes and turn off before it whistles.
8. Fluff up the pulao, once cooked. Cover and rest for 10 to 15 minutes so the rice is fluffy. Serve methi pulao with onion raita.
- Rice: This recipe can be made with any aged premium quality rice. Use non-sticky rice so the pulao does not become mushy. Also soak the rice so it cooks up to long, grainy and fluffy texture.
- Water: The amount of water mentioned in the recipe is for basmati rice. I f using any other kind, then use the same amount of water as you would use to cook that rice normally (plain rice).
- Method of cooking: Also the water quantity varies with the method you choose to cook. Pressure cooker requires lesser water than the pot method.
- Methi leaves: You can use more methi leaves if you prefer. You can also make this recipe with 3 tablespoons of dried fenugreek (kasuri methi)
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup basmati rice (or any other, refer notes)
- 1 cup methi leaves (fenugreek leaves, tightly packed)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ⅓ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1½ to 2 tablespoon oil Or ghee (adjust to taste)
- ¾ to 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen or potatoes & carrots)
- 1 small onion sliced (¼ cup)
- 1 green chili slit
- 2 cups water or thin coconut milk (for cooker 1¾ cups, for IP 1¼ cups)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera or shahi jeera)
- 1 star anise Small piece
- 1 small bay leaf
- 3 to 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon piece
- 2 to 3 green cardamoms
- 1 strand mace (optional)
- Add rice to a bowl and rinse it well in lots of water at least thrice. Drain the water and soak it in fresh water for at least 30 minutes.
- Pluck the methi leaves from the stems and add them to a large pot of water. Remove them to a colander and then repeat the rinse. I sprinkle salt and vinegar and leave them for a while before rinsing them to get rid of the pesticides.
- Drain them completely to a colander. Shake the colander to remove any excess water in the leaves as it can make your methi pulao mushy.
How to make methi pulao
- Heat a cooker or pot with oil or ghee. When the oil turns hot, add bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds and mace.
- As soon as the spices begin to sizzle, add sliced onions and green chilies (optional).
- Saute until the onions golden. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till you get an aroma or till the raw smell disappears.
- Pour water and add salt. Stir and taste test the water. It has to be slightly salty. Bring the water to a boil.
- Transfer the drained rice, green peas and methi leaves. Give a good stir.
- Cooking in pot: Cover and cook on a low heat till the rice is fully done. Turn off and let the methi pulao rest in the pot for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Tip – if the rice is undercooked, then add little hot water and cook further.
- Pressure cooker: close the lid and cook on the lowest flame for about 5 minutes. Alternately cook on a medium heat until it whistles once. Let the pressure release on its own, then remove and fluff up the methi pulao.
Instant pot methi pulao
- Press saute button on the Instant pot and pour oil to the steel insert.
- Add all the wholes spices. When they begin to sizzle, add onions and green chilies.
- Saute until they turn light golden or transparent for about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the ginger garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then add green peas and methi leaves.
- Saute until the methi leaves wilt off for about 1 minute. Then press cancel and add rice.
- Pour water and add salt. Stir and deglaze. Taste test. Water must be slightly salty.
- Secure the Instant pot with the lid and position the steam release valve to sealing.
- Press pressure cook button and set the timer to 5 minutes. The IP beeps when it is done. Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Release the rest manually. Give a gentle mix with a fork and keep the methi pulao covered until you serve.
- The water quantity is for basmati rice with 30 mins soak. If using any other rice, use the same amount of water as you would use to cook the plain rice.
- You can use thin coconut milk instead of water for cooking this pulao. Coconut milk from can will be too thick, you may dilute and use it.
- You can saute methi leaves after frying the ginger garlic paste.
- You can use ghee instead of oil, but it hardens the rice during winters, unless it is served right away when it is hot.
- If using potatoes, dice them to 1 inch pieces. Too large may not cook well and too small may become mushy.
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
Methi Pulao recipe first published in January 2013. Updated and republished in March 2021.