Coconut Milk Pulao: A Taste of Southern India


Pulao, a fragrant rice pilaf, is a beloved dish across India and Pakistan, often gracing tables on special occasions. In the lush, coconut-rich regions of Southern India, a unique twist of this dish emerges – the Coconut Milk Pulao. Cooked in coconut milk, this one pot rice dish is the perfect blend of comfort and flavor.

But what we really like about this pulao is its simplicity. Made with readily available ingredients,  and taking less than 30 minutes to make, it makes a delightful weeknight meal, the perfect addition to your next potluck event, or the beginning of a fabulous Indian feast! Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free and easily made vegan, catering to a variety of dietary needs.



Garam Masala. Garam Masala translates to hot spice mix, but is not a spicy or hot blend as we describe spicy in the western world. Rather this authentic Indian spice blend features spices believed to warm the body. SpiceTopia’s Garam Masala recipe brings together cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and Tellicherry black pepper to create a sweet, savory, smoky blend and adding a ton of flavor to this Indian side dish. 

Learn More About This Blend Here: The Story of Garam Masala

Cinnamon. This recipe calls for Korintje Cinnamon. Part of the cassia family,

Korintje cinnamon is sweet and mellow without the nip found in other cinnamons making it perfect for this smooth creamy rice dish.

Pacific Flake Sea Salt. Pacific Flake Sea Salt is an all-natural kosher flake sea salt that is never refined, retaining its natural trace minerals, with zero additives or chemical processing. The fine, feather-like flakes lend themselves perfectly to everyday kitchen use for finishing, baking and cooking. It is also naturally lighter by volume than traditional sea salt, melts quickly, and blends well with other dry ingredients. Our favorite everyday salt! 

Ginger. Fresh ginger is best for this recipe, but if it isn’t available ½ teaspoon of Dried Ginger Powder can be substituted.

Garlic. Again, fresh is best for the garlic, but if fresh isn’t available SpiceTopia’s Minced Organic Garlic works as well. Use one teaspoon for every clove of garlic. 

Find All These Spices And Hundreds More At


Ghee is a traditional cooking fat in many parts of India and adds a tremendous amount of flavor to this dish. A form of clarified butter, it has a high smoke point, which means you won’t have to worry about burning your butter. 

To make a vegan pulao, substitute a high smoke point oil such as sunflower or grapeseed oils for the ghee. 


Vegetables. This recipe calls for onion, carrot, fresh mint, and green beans. Any kind of vegetable can be substituted in! We enjoy adding cabbage during the winter when green beans aren’t available. We’ve also added asparagus during the spring. 

Coconut Milk. Mix one can of coconut milk with enough water to make two cups of liquids. 

This is a naturally vegetarian coconut milk rice recipe as well as gluten-free

Technique or How to Make Pulao

One secret to a perfect pulao is the rice. Taking a few extra minutes to rinse and soak the basmati rice isn’t just optional, it’s essential. This step allows the grains to cook up long, fluffy, and separate, absorbing all the delicious goodness of the coconut milk without becoming mushy.

What To Serve Pulao With

This pulao can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger Indian meal. Traditionally served with a curry, this one pot rice dish goes well with: 

Aloo Vindaloo Curry (Potato Curry)

Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Saag Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Spinach)

Other Indian Accompaniments that go well with Pulao:

Masala Tarabooj (Indian Watermelon Juice)

Mango Chutney

This Coconut Milk Pulao is a testament to the power of simple ingredients and techniques coming together into something much more than its parts! So, ditch the takeout menus and embark on a culinary adventure with this easy-to-follow recipe. Your taste buds will thank you!

Let’s Get Cooking!

0 Add to Favorites

Coconut Milk Pulao: A Taste of Southern India

Difficulty: Beginner



  1. Rinse and Soak the Rice: Begin by rinsing your basmati rice 3 times. This removes surface starch, leading to fluffier grains. Cover the rinsed rice with water and soak for 15 minutes.

  2. Prepare the Vegetables: While the rice soaks, prep the vegetables. Peel and slice the onion, dice the carrots, and chop the green beans into bite-sized pieces.

  3. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat your ghee or oil in a pot or pan over medium heat. Once a drop of water sizzles in the ghee, add the sliced onion. Sauté patiently until it reaches a beautiful, deep golden brown.

    While the onion cooks, drain the soaked rice. After the onions are golden, add the grated ginger and finely chopped garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds..

  4. Building Flavor: Now comes the time to assemble this flavorful dish. Add the chopped vegetables, coconut milk, water, and garam masala to the pot. Stir gently to ensure everything is evenly combined. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the drained rice. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is fluffy and fully cooked.

  5. Rest and Enjoy: After cooking, remove the pot from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. This allows the rice to absorb any remaining liquid and ensures a perfect texture. Fluff the rice gently with a fork, and prepare to be transported to the Southern Indian coast with every delicious bite!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @spicetopia on Instagram and Hastag it #spicetopia so we can see all your recipes.

Pin this recipe and share it with your followers.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *