Crispy Pulao: A Rice Lovers Delight

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Hey there, rice lover! Have you ever craved the perfect blend of soft, fluffy rice and crispy, crunchy bits all in one bite? Well, your search is over. Crispy pulao, or fried rice, is about to become your new obsession. As you stir fry pre-cooked rice in butter or oil, little rice crackers form on the bottom of the pan. The key is not to stir too frequently, allowing those crispy bits to form. Once done, you’ll have a rice dish with the ideal mix of textures – soft, pillowy rice and little rice rice chips throughout, all coated in butter and spices. Your taste buds will thank you, and you’ll never look at a boring bowl of steamed rice the same way again. Crispy pulao is a rice lovers delight and an easy, addictive treat you can whip up anytime the craving strikes. Warning: consumption may lead to uncontrollable snacking and a permanent spot on your weekly menu!

What Is Crispy Pulao?

Crispy pulao is a delicious Indian rice dish packed with flavor. Unlike regular rice, crispy pulao has a secret ingredient that gives it a unique crunchy texture – fried onions.


To make crispy pulao, you’ll need:

  • Basmati rice: 2 cups
  • Onion: 2 large, sliced
  • Vegetable oil: 3 tbsp
  • Ghee (clarified butter): 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Cardamom: 3
  • Cloves: 4
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
  • Salt: 1 1⁄2 tsp


  1. Rinse the basmati rice and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and fry the onions over medium heat until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Add ghee to the pan and heat. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the drained rice and stir to coat with the spices. Add 4 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes.
  6. Fluff the rice with a fork and mix in the fried onions. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff again and serve hot.

The aromatic spices, buttery ghee and crispy fried onions give this rice dish layers of flavor and texture. Your taste buds will be dancing with delight! A perfect accompaniment for curries, crispy pulao is comfort food at its best.

Ingredients Needed for Crispy Pulao

To make crispy pulao, you’ll need a few essential ingredients.


For this rice dish, basmati rice works best. Basmati is a long-grain rice that stays light and fluffy when cooked. Look for white basmati rice for the most authentic crispy pulao.


The spices are what give crispy pulao its signature flavor. You’ll want whole spices like bay leaves, green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and black peppercorns. You’ll also need common Indian spices such as turmeric, red chili powder, and coriander. Whole spice blends for biryani or garam masala also work great.

Vegetables and Nuts

Crispy pulao traditionally contains cashews, raisins, peas, and carrots. You can also add other veggies like corn, green beans, mushrooms or bell peppers for extra flavor and nutrition.

Ghee or Oil

To get the rice crispy, you need ghee or another high-heat oil with a high smoke point like canola, peanut or coconut oil. Ghee is clarified butter and gives the best flavor.

Soy Sauce or Amino Acids (Optional)

Adding a bit of soy sauce, tamari or amino acids helps give crispy pulao an savory, umami kick. Use sparingly, starting with 1-2 tablespoons.

With these essential ingredients – flavorful rice, robust spices, mix-ins galore and a high-heat fat for frying – you’ll be making crispy pulao to delight all your rice-loving friends in no time! What are you waiting for? Time to start cooking!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Crispy Pulao

To make crispy pulao, a delicious rice dish, follow these simple steps:


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Rinse the rice. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent.

Add the spices – garam masala, chili powder, turmeric powder. Cook for a minute while stirring frequently.

Add the rice and salt. Stir to coat the grains in oil and spices.

Add water in a 1:1.5 rice to water ratio. For 2 cups of rice use 3 cups of water.

Bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

Fluff the rice with a fork. Mix in cilantro.

To get crispy rice, spread the cooked rice on a baking sheet in an even layer. Broil in the oven on high, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly browned. About 10-15 minutes.

Watch closely to avoid burning. The rice is ready when it’s browned and crisp.

Let cool slightly, then serve and enjoy your crispy pulao! The crispy rice bits add a wonderful crunchy texture to the fluffy basmati rice.

Tips and Tricks for Getting Perfectly Crispy Pulao

To achieve perfectly crispy pulao, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind. Follow these and you’ll be enjoying light, fluffy basmati rice with a satisfying crunch in no time.

Use Aged Basmati Rice

For the best results, use basmati rice that’s at least 6-12 months old. As rice ages, it loses moisture which helps the grains stay separate during cooking. Fresh rice tends to clump together more. Look for a “best by” date on the packaging to determine the age.

Soak the Rice

Soaking the rice in water for 30 minutes helps remove excess starch and any dirt or debris. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water until the water runs clear. This helps the rice grains stay light and fluffy as it cooks.

Use the Proper Ratio of Rice to Water

For crispy pulao, use a 1:1.5 or 1:1.75 ratio of rice to water. This results in rice that’s cooked but still quite dry, allowing the grains to get nicely toasted. For extra crispy rice, you can even decrease the water slightly. Just keep a close eye on it while it cooks.

Add Oil and Spices

Adding a bit of oil, whole spices like cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves, and chopped nuts gives the pulao lots of flavor as it cooks. Sauté the spices in oil before adding the rice and water. The oil will help the rice grains fry as the water is absorbed.

Don’t Stir the Rice

Once you add the rice and water, cover and reduce heat to low. Do not lift the lid or stir the rice for at least 10-15 minutes. Letting the rice sit undisturbed allows it to cook evenly and develop a crust on the bottom of the pot.

Fluff and Fry the Rice

After 15-20 minutes, lift the lid and use a fork to gently fluff the rice. Increase heat to medium-high and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until you hear crackling sounds and see the rice grains beginning to fry in the oil, about 5-10 minutes more. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff again and serve hot.

Variations and Add-Ins for Crispy Pulao

Crispy pulao lends itself well to lots of variations and add-ins. Here are some of our favorites:


Add 1/2 cup of frozen peas, corn, carrots or green beans during the last 5 minutes of cooking. For extra nutrition, dice and saute 1/2 onion, 1 bell pepper and 2 cups chopped spinach, then fold into the rice after cooking.

Nuts and Dried Fruit

Toast 1/2 cup cashews, almonds or pine nuts and sprinkle over the top for crunch. You can also add 1/3 cup raisins, cranberries, apricots or chopped dates for natural sweetness.

Herbs and Spices

Add 1 tsp garam masala, chili powder, turmeric or cumin for extra flavor. Fresh or dried herbs like cilantro, mint, basil and rosemary also pair nicely with the citrus notes in crispy pulao.


For a heartier meal, add diced tofu, cooked chickpeas or black beans. You can also add shredded or diced chicken, shrimp or paneer cheese. Cook the protein separately, then gently fold into the rice after cooking.

Citrus Zest

The bright, tangy flavors of lemon or lime zest perfectly complement the crispy rice. Grate the zest of 1 lemon or 2 limes and sprinkle over the top.

Coconut Milk

For a creamy twist, use 1 cup coconut milk in place of 1 cup water or broth. The coconut milk will add richness and a subtle tropical flavor.

With so many options, you’ll never get bored of crispy pulao. Experiment with different add-ins and combinations to create your own signature version of this classic Indian dish. The possibilities are endless!


So there you have it, a step-by-step guide to making crispy pulao, a dish that will delight your taste buds and fill your kitchen with enticing aromas. With a few simple ingredients and techniques, you’ll be enjoying a bowl of this crispy, flavorful rice pilaf in no time. The key is not to rush the process—let the rice soak up all the flavors as it simmers and get ready for the oohs and aahs from your family and friends when you unveil this fragrant, crunchy, utterly addictive dish. Making crispy pulao is worth every minute. Go ahead, give this recipe a try—your rice will never be boring again.

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