Going green with Mint Pilaf

The word “pilaf” (natively called as “pulao” – pronounced pa-lau) is a flavored rice that may have meat or just veggies along with a base made from ground spices. The original recipe is from back home (Bangalore) where my mom and aunt would make boatloads of this pilaf especially on Sundays and we would sit together as a family and enjoy it with accompaniments (crunchy savories and raitha). Awww! This brings back such fond memories!! 

Well – I will try to recreate that fun memory for my family today! My recipe for mint pilaf is a hearty version that uses ground mint  (optionally cilantro) and spices as a base. Along with that, I saute and add a lot of colorful veggies and edamame. While a typical pilaf is usually made with white basmati rice, I use brown basmati and super grains (like Freekeh, Quinoa) to keep it wholesome.This recipe is quick, easy, flavorful and quite filling. My kids love it with raitha or just yoghurt.

My version of this is made with flavors appealing to the mind,body and soul.So let’s begin to get it GREEN


  • Olive oil – 5 tbsp
  • Grated Coconut –   frozen or fresh 1/2 cup
  • Mint – 1 bunch (leaves)
  • Cilantro – 1 bunch  (leaves)
  • Green chilies – 4 (add more if you want it super spicy) I prefer to use Thai green chilies
  • Ginger – about an inch
  • Garlic –  5 cloves
  • Onion – 1/4
  • Garam Masala – 3/4 tsp( If you like and wanna try from basics- Cardamom – 3, cloves – 4, Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp, Poppy Seeds – 1/2 tsp )
  • Bayleaf – 1
  • Cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • Veggies – Purple potatoes,carrots, edamame,onion,cauliflower,bell peppers and mushrooms or any firm veggies:)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Brown Rice – 2 cups
  • Freekeh – 1 cup
  • Quinoa – 1 cup
  • Water  –  8 cups (to cook the rice/super grain) make sure to cook it through, it shouldn’t get clumpy

PS: The secret to a good pilaf is in cooking the rice/freekeh, quinoa. The grains should be cooked just enough so that it does not clump together i.e. you should be able to see the individual grains and yet cooked well


  • Add the water to Brown rice,freekeh and quinoa. Let it cook in a heavy bottom pan or in a rice cooker. I prefer the latter because it cooks about right and I do not need to “baby sit” the whole process
  • Blend together, coconut,mint,cilantro,green chili,ginger,onion, garam masala (cardamom,cloves) poppy seeds,garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil with a little bit of water to a smooth consistency. This is the base for the pilaf


  • Pour this raw base in a pan and let it cook until all the water evaporates. This process releases the aroma of mint mixture along with the spices

Blend it to the right consistency

Cooking process reduces the mint base and turns it to a slight brown color

  • Meanwhile, in a wok, add the remaining oil, cumin, bay leaf and the vegetables. Saute them until it is cooked right (it should not be over cooked)

Saute all the colorful vegetables

  • To the sauteed veggies, add the cooked mint base and add salt. Simmer this combination for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are coated by the mint base

Add the rice/super grains (freekeh and quinoa)

  • Gradually, add the cooked grains to the veggie/mint base combo and fold them slowly without crushing the veggies or clumping the rice

The rice/ super grains are evenly mixed with the vegetables and the mint base

and voila, you have a wonderful entree ready. This can be eaten as is or with the classic raita.

Voila!! mint pilaf served

Voila!! mint pilaf served

But wait, Sharing = Caring and that’s how you will demolish this delish dish:-))

’till the next one strikes me again in a week!!



By |2018-09-12T19:19:13+00:00April 24th, 2014|Freekeh, Quinoa, Rice / Pilaf, Super-grains, Vegan|5 Comments

About the Author:

Shruthi is the creative chef and mastermind behind these flavorful chutneys and dishes. Cooking with only the freshest ingredients, she loves using her chutneys to add a new twist to traditional favorites. She is constantly experimenting with new recipes, striving to bring the complex sweet and savory flavors of India into your easy, every-day meals. Shruthi lives in Southern California with her husband and two foodie kids, and looks forward to sharing her passion for food with you!


  1. Aarifa April 24, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Love this pilaf recipie…simple and delicious…great recipie as always Shruti…

  2. Sheeba April 24, 2014 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Awww… This brings back fond memories .. Delish warm mint palao with raita ..!!! My absolute fav.. Love it ..!!

  3. Sheeba April 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Awww… This brings back fond memories .. Delish warm mint palao with raita ..!!! My absolute fav.. Love it ..!!

    • Zesteez
      Zesteez April 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      They do bring back such wonderful memories, and they are my fav too!!

Leave A Comment

Looking For Zesteez Recipe Ideas?