Instant Pot vegetable curry rice is a pilaf-style recipe with veggies, curry powder, and extra spices to give it a burst of flavor with every bite.
The Instant Pot makes quick work of healthy brown basmati rice recipes like vegan taco meat. Curry rice is loaded with everything you need for a quick vegan lite meal or side dish.
Cooking on the stove will take a few minutes longer, but it is worth it if you don't have an electric pressure cooker.
Table of Contents
Why You'll Love This Recipe
✔ Brown basmati rice is fragrant, nutty, and nutrient dense.
✔ Simple ingredients and a few spices turn plain rice into a flavorful rice dish.
✔ Easy steps for 'set and forget' perfect rice.
✔ The Instant Pot makes cooking rice easier than ever.
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
Brown basmati rice. Brown basmati (wholegrain basmati rice) is the main ingredient in this recipe. It's more delicate and fluffier than regular brown rice. If you aren't a convert to brown rice, I promise a taste of brown basmati will change that.
Whole spices. Cumin and black mustard seeds are toasted in the first step of the cooking process. If you don't have whole spices, use ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin and ground black pepper.
Chili powder. Preferably, use Indian chili powder, which doesn't have chipotle pepper. I've also used a 'regular' chili powder, including my homemade chili powder recipe, and all three yield excellent results.
Garlic and ginger. If you don't have fresh ginger or garlic, substitute a tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste.
Curry powder. Different blends of curry powder contain some combination of turmeric powder, cumin, ginger, pepper, and other spices. Use what you like - hot, medium, or mild.
Vegetable broth. The veggie broth gives a depth of flavor that water can't. Vegan chicken stock is another good choice.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
Use 2 ½ cups of frozen peas and carrots or another vegetable mix.
A pinch of garam masala accentuates the warming flavor of curry powder.
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Toast the cumin and mustard seeds for about 30 seconds until they start to smell good.
Step 2: Add the onions and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes until they soften.
Step 3: Stir in the garlic, ginger, and spices. Mix them with the rest of the ingredients for no longer than 30 seconds.
Step 4: Add the rice. Stir for 1-2 minutes to toast and soak up the spices. Turn off the Instant Pot.
Step 5: Mix in the vegetable broth. Use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the frozen peas.
Step 6: Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. Then 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
- Rinsing rice is an important step because it keeps the rice from clumping.
- Use the vegetable broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Turning it off before pressure cools the inner pot and helps reduce the incidence of getting the dreaded 'Food Burning' notice.
- Use a spoon to open the steam valve carefully, even after natural release. Always assume that hot steam will be present unless the pressure valve is fully depressed.
How to Make Curry Rice on the Stove
The stovetop process is much the same as the instant pot. Before cooking, check the rice package for the recommended cook time and the rice-to-water ratio.
Once you add the broth, adjust the heat to bring the ingredients to a boil.
The minute the broth begins to bubble, place the lid on the pot. Now, lower the heat so that the ingredients are simmering.
Cook the rice for 35-45 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
Turn off the heat. Allow the rice to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cooked rice is always best if eaten the day it is cooked. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The best practice for food safety is to eat cooked the next day and reheat it only once.
Curry rice can be frozen for 3 months. Thoroughly cool the rice first, then add it to an airtight freezer container or freezer bag. Thaw it in the refrigerator or add it directly to a steamer basket over boiling water to heat. Be sure all the rice is heated to boiling temperature.
The best way to reheat curry rice is to place it in a steamer basket and steam the rice over simmering water. Allow 10 minutes for the rice to heat through fully. Use a spoon halfway through the cooking to break up any clumps of vegetables and rice.
It’s possible to substitute white Basmati rice for brown in this recipe, but you need to make some adjustments. First, for 1 ½ cups of rice, use 1 ¾ of vegetable broth and cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes.
The best substitute for brown Basmati rice is long-grain brown rice, jasmine rice, white basmati, or long-grain white rice.
All basmati rice is a type of long-grain rice with a length that is 3 to 5 times its width. Brown rice, whether long-grain, sticky short-grain (Japanese rice) or medium grain in between, is unmilled, meaning the nutritious germ and bran have not been removed.
More Brown Basmati Rice Recipes
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Instant Pot Vegetable Curry Rice
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- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds - or yellow mustard seeds
- 1 medium yellow onion - diced
- 1 medium carrot - peeled and grated
- 3 cloves garlic - minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons ginger - minced
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon paprika - smoked or sweet
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 ½ cups brown basmati rice - rinsed
- 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups frozen peas
- Set the Instant Pot on the sauté mode. Add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. Toast the seeds for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly to toast the seeds.
- Add the onions and carrots. Mix them into the spices and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften.
- Stir in the garlic, ginger, curry powder, coriander, paprika, and chili powder. Mix with the veggies for about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the rinsed rice. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and toast the rice for 2-3 minutes so the rice can collect the flavors.
- Turn off the Instant Pot. Then add the broth and use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the pot.
- Mix in the frozen peas. Then place the lid on the Instant Pot and close the steam handle to sealing.
- Cook on High Pressure for 22 minutes. Turn off the keep warm button if necessary.
- Once the Instant Pot has finished. Allow 10 minutes for a natural steam release.
- Open the steam handle and remove the lid. Fluff the rice and serve.
How to Make Curry Rice on the Stove
- Heat a heavy-bottom pot to medium heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and toast for 30 seconds.
- Add the onions and carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions soften.
- Stir in the garlic, ginger, and the rest of the spices for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the rinsed rice. Toast by stirring it for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat if necessary.
- Mix in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot. Stir the bottom to release any stuck-on ingredients.
- Add the frozen peas and increase the heat until it starts to boil. Immediately reduce the heat and cover the pot.
- Simmer for 35-45 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes. Fluff and serve.
- Substitute ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin for cumin seeds and ½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper for the mustard seeds if needed. Add them with the rest of the spices in step 3.
- Newer Instant Pots are very sensitive. Turning it off after sauteeing and using the vegetable broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot are important steps. Ingredients and spices on the bottom can trigger the 'food burning notice.'
- Cooked rice is always best if eaten the day it is cooked. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The best practice for food safety is to eat cooked the next day and reheat it only once.
- Curry rice can be frozen for 3 months. Thoroughly cool the rice first, then add it to an airtight freezer container or freezer bag. Thaw it in the refrigerator or add it directly to a steamer basket over boiling water to heat. Be sure all the rice is heated to boiling temperature.
- The best way to reheat curry rice is to place it in a steamer basket and steam it for 10 minutes.
- The best substitute for brown Basmati rice is long-grain brown rice, jasmine rice, white basmati, or long-grain white rice.
- It’s possible to substitute white Basmati rice for brown in this recipe, but you need to make some adjustments. First, for 1 ½ cups of rice, use 1 ¾ vegetable broth and cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.