Curry Leaf Pulao

11 Aug

Seeing that a nutty ingredient does a great job of taming the bitter notes of other ingredients (think curry leaf peanut chutney or sesame fenugreek chutney), I dared to make a rice dish seeped in curry leaf, with a load of cashews for good effect. And I loved the result.

Here’s my curry leaf pulao recipe – for those who share taste buds similar to mine! How many of you?

Curry Leaf Pulao

You Need:

  • Basmati rice – 1 cup
  • Curry leaves (fresh) – 2 packed cups when plucked
  • Cashew nuts – 1 cup
  • Milk – 0.5 cup
  • Onions – 2
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cardamom – 2 pods
  • Black peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Jaggery – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ghee – 1.5 tablespoons

Curry Leaf Pulao Ingredients

How To Make Curry Leaf Pulao:

1. Before cooking

Wash rice in several changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak in water for 30 mins. Drain.

Slice onions lengthwise into thin strips. Crush peppercorns, cloves and cardamom together using a mortar and pestle.

Grind curry leaves to paste.

2. On the fire

In a non-stick pan, heat a tablespoon of ghee. Add cashew nuts, stir around till they begin to turn golden. Then add sliced onions. Fry on medium heat, stirring regularly, till the onions turn brown. This could take about 10 mins.

When done, take the fried onions and cashew nuts out of the pan and keep aside. Pour a little more ghee to the same pan. Set heat to low, add cumin seeds and when they splutter, follow with crushed peppercorns, cardamoms, cloves.

In a few seconds the ghee will become fragrant with the freshly crushed garam masala. At this stage, add soaked and drained rice and fry on medium heat for 3 minutes. Follow with freshly ground curry leaf paste. Mix it in and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring once very minute.

Add a teaspoon of jaggery and salt to taste. Top with 1.5 cups of water, half a cup of milk, and bring to a boil. Add half of the fried onions and cashew nuts back into the pulao being cooked.

Set heat to low, close the lid of the pan and let the curry leaf pulao simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or till the rice grains are cooked.

Use a non-stick pan with a close-fitting lid for cooking curry leaf pulao.

After the rice grains are cooked and have absorbed the excess water, close the lid of the pan tightly and switch off the heat. Let the curry leaf pulao stand and soak in its own flavors, for the next 5-10 minutes.

Stir gently to separately out the grains of basmati rice, and mix in the fried onions and cashew nuts that had been separately out earlier. Serve curry leaf pulao with raita on the side.

Curry Leaf Pulao


The quantity of water and time required for cooking can vary by the type of rice, the vessel being used, and source of heat, etc. Keep a watch on the pan and adapt the guidelines accordingly.

If, after cooking for a few minutes, you see the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan, this means the water wasn’t enough. To remedy the situation: Slide in a tablespoon or more of water as needed, from the side of the pan, and gently turn the pan around.

8 Responses to “Curry Leaf Pulao”

  1. Karuna August 12, 2014 at 3:12 PM #

    Wow nice recipe. I love the flavour of cury leaves too. Been trying to find ways to include more curry leaves in my diet, not just as a garnish, will try this for lunch tomorrow!

    • S August 12, 2014 at 9:46 PM #

      Thanks Karuna! Let me know how it turned out for you, click and share a pic if you like :-)

  2. Karuna August 15, 2014 at 4:44 PM #

    Turned out really delicious, had it with lauki raita. Will be making it regularly from now!!

    • S August 15, 2014 at 4:58 PM #

      Yay! 👍

  3. Prerit and Rahul September 14, 2014 at 8:52 PM #

    Thanks a ton for this simple but very tasty recipe. My wife was feeling a little down and had gone out for some time with her friend. That’s when we prepared the curry leaf pulao as per your recipe so that we can give her a break. We all really enjoyed it….. And in fact we also shared the dish with some of our neighbours.

    Prerit (the son) and Rahul (the father).

    • S September 14, 2014 at 11:29 PM #

      Hello Prerit and Rahul, very happy to hear your feedback. The joy of food multiplies when shared, doesn’t it? :-)

  4. Akshat June 26, 2017 at 10:20 AM #

    Made this yesterday for friends. We were blown over. Creative and tasty recipe!!

    • S June 26, 2017 at 11:32 AM #

      Thank you Akshat!

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