Coconut milk and mint pulao – Rice in the main

Mr. P extracted two delicious cups of thick coconut milk yesterday to make thai curry.  Being the temperamental cook that I am, half the coconut milk went into a porridge. I used up the remaining in today’s pulao.  Thai curry has been postponed because it does not fit in with my veganmofo theme – Indian.  You must go check out the wonderful themes based dishes veganmofers are dishing this year.  The possibilities that simple ingredients offer are inspiring.

I generally use coconut milk to make biryani.  Week days do not offer the luxury of cooking princely recipes, and I do not want the coconut milk sitting in the fridge another day, so it goes gets made into a pulao.  The only sad thing about this pulao is that the beautiful flavours cannot be sensed when the dish gets cold.  Eat while warm.

You will need to prepare the pulav masala I posted earlier for it is the heart of the dish.  Do you like how I plated it?  I am bored of presenting rice the same way all the time.  It seems monotonous, especially since I cook so much rice.

Recipe: Coconut milk and mint pulao – Pressure cooker method
Yield: Serves 4 portions


Any long-grained, low-starch, variety of rice – 2 cups (I used basmati)
Soak rice in water for 30 minutes while prepping the other elements, and drain. Discard water.
Sea salt – To taste
Carrot, julienned – 1 small
Potato, cut into matchsticks – 1 small
Baby corn, cut into matchsticks – 1
Mint leaves, cut into strips – 1/4 cup,loosely packed
Coconut milk second extract – 1 cup
Coconut milk first extract – 1 cup, divided
Green chillies, slit lengthwise – 1
Oil – 3 tbsps.


Heat oil in a cooker. When hot, reduce heat to medium and add cumin seeds. When they splutter add slit green chillies, if using.  Add vegetables, and toss gently to coat them with the oil.

Mix the second extract of coconut milk with 1/2 cup of the first extract. Add 1/2 cup water to make it two cups of liquid. Add to the cooker. When the liquid just starts boiling add drained rice and peas, followed by pulav masala (spice blend) salt to taste.

Cover the cooker with a lid and place the weight.  After one whistle (when excess steam is let out), reduce the heat to sim. Let the rice cook on low heat for one minute. Put off fire. Let the pressure fall naturally.

When cooled (about 15 minutes), open the lid and let the extra steam escape for another five minutes. Use a fork or a slotted spoon to gently cut through the rice in shallow scoops. If the grains stick, wait for another five to ten minutes and then scoop. Pour the reserved 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk all over. Add the mint.

Let cool for about 5 minutes before mixing very gently. A wooden ladle dipped in water helps retain texture of the rice. Serve immediately.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • chitrakala

    Thanks harini. I was looking for some pulao recipe to feast my husband’s taste buds, without compromising my no onion no garlic vegan rule at home. When I browse your site I got the feeling of ‘Eureka finally I found my cooking guru’. The recipe came out very well with nice mint flavor.Creative recipe photo. Nice!! Keep up the good work

    • Harini

      I am so glad to know that, Chitrakala. Thank you for the very kind words. I am encouraged!

  • Kankana

    That is a fancy 5 star presentation there 🙂

  • Soma

    Lovely post again. Love the idea of presenting rice. I agree, it gets monotonous to see rice the same way again and again. Lucky you, you have somebody to extract the coconut milk. I have been postponing a recipe for ages just for the fresh coconut milk. Hate canned coconut milk…it’s never the same.

    • Harini

      Oh yes! I too have this thing against canned coconut milk! It is poor imitation.

  • Rithika

    I LOVE how you plated it! Yummm!

    It looks like a bib to me in the first picture 🙂 Too many babies around me!

    • Harini

      Ha ha!! That definitely did not occur to me. 😀

  • Neha

    Hi Harini,

    Stumbled upon your site around a month back and now hooked to it completely…..a regular visitor… have given me inspiration to become vegan…not sure when will that happen but atleast the thought process has started…..thr is a request that can you please upload a detailed video of “how to extract coconut milk from fresh coconut”…you use that heavily in your cooking but i don’t have any idea of that at all :)…..and other thing is in the above recipe you have asked to add rice twice….so not sure when to add them…..thanks for the really great recipes from all parts of india…..

    • Harini

      Hi Neha, thanks for visiting, and for letting me know that my work has reach. It makes it all the ‘behind the scenes’ effort worth it.:) I do not do videos but I will try and add one. Basically the procedure is this: Grate fresh coconut. Grind it in a mixer well, without adding any water. Place a little at a time in a muslin cloth and press with your hands to extract the milk. This is the first extract. When you are done with the entire quantity, place the gratings in a vessel and add a cup of water. With your hands or a spoon mix well. Repeat the extraction process. This is the second extract. If you do not want to use hands you can follow this method. Place gratings inside a ‘sev press’, and screw the handle till the milk is expressed.

      I just noticed the error regarding the rice. If the rice has not been pre-soaked you can toss it with the vegetables and then pour water. If it has ben soaked, as recommended in this recipe, you can add it once the water comes to a boil. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Richa

    I love the first picture.. its such a pretty bouquet of food:) i love how you compose the pictures.:)

  • Susmitha - Veganosaurus

    LOVE that first photo, Harini. The formation of the rice, the carrots, the pool of coconut mylk… amazing!!

  • Annie

    Your food always looks so beautiful and so delicious! I would love to have you participate in the Virtual Vegan Potluck that is happening Nov. 1. You can find out more (and sign up) here:

    Thank you!

    • Harini

      Thanks, Annie! In fact I went through the sign up and instructions a couple of days back, and it seemed a bit complex. Will check up once more. 🙂

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