Instant Pot vegetable curry rice is pilaf style with veggies, curry powder, and extra spices to give it a burst of flavor with every bite. The Instant Pot makes quick work of this healthy brown basmati rice loaded with everything you need for a quick vegan lite meal or side dish with pizzazz.
staring brown Basmati rice
This rice dish is seriously full of attitude. In fact, I’ve debated whether or not it should be deemed a side dish. Who needs a main dish anyhow? Let every 'so-called side dish at the table be the star.
Speaking of star-spotting, have you tried brown basmati rice? It’s fragrant, nutty, and chewy (but less chewy than other kinds of brown rice).
Brown Basmati is also called wholegrain basmati rice. You guessed it. It’s smack in the middle of the plant-based wheelhouse. Here’s why that’s important:
All rice is processed so that the hard shell, the hull (husk), is removed. This leaves three parts the bran, germ, and endosperm.
The bran contains fiber, vitamin B, and iron. The germ is also rich in fiber and nutrients. The endosperm, the bulk of the grain, is the starchy part that contains most of the calories but less of the nutrients.
Whole grains, including rice, contain all three parts. That’s the difference between brown rice and white rice. White rice is processed to the extent that it is only comprised of the endosperm.
The nutritional differences are a bit obvious. But if you strip away the fiber from the rice, you are left with fluffy white grains of carbs. With no fiber holding them back, the carbs (sugars) hit your bloodstream quickly. That’s a sugar rush in the making.
When you think about fiber, it’s a matter of fuller – faster and longer. Fiber fills you up, and unlike unbridled sugar rushing your bloodstream, it forces a slow release of carbs which means you stay fuller for longer.
Now that I’ve convinced you why you should make brown basmati curry rice, let’s get to it. Here’s what you need:
- Cumin seeds and black mustard seeds – When I make curry or dahl, I frequently start the dish by toasting teaspoons of cumin and mustard seeds.
- Onion – a medium yellow onion diced does the trick. I recommend small dicing the onion rather than slicing it as you may want to scoop up the rice with a spoon.
- Carrot – Grated carrot or, if you prefer, diced small, adds sweetness.
- Garlic and ginger – Standard curry aromatics. I like a little added ginger, so although the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons, feel free to add another if you like the flavor.
- Spices – Curry powder, coriander, smoked paprika, chili powder are the flavor boosters for this recipe. Channel your inner cook in determining the intersection of the spices in terms of how spicy-hot you want the recipe. Consider adjusting the chili powder if you use a hot curry powder.
- Brown Basmati rice – We’ve covered why you should use it. Be sure to rinse it before you add it to the Instant Pot. This keeps it from clumping.
- Frozen peas – 2 cups of frozen peas go right into the Instant Pot. They’ll thaw and cook but won’t dissolve into mush.
- Vegetable broth – Vegetable broth adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get with water.
- The initial cooking for this recipe goes quickly. Be sure that you have all the ingredients ready before you fire up the Instant Pot to High Saute.
- Heat the Instant Pot on High Saute before adding the cumin and mustard seeds. They will need about a minute. Be careful not to let them burn. Saute the onion and carrot for about 3 minutes which is enough time for the onion to soften.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and the rest of the spices. Mix the ingredients and then add the rice. I like to give the rice a minute to saute, toast a little, and start merging with the rest of the ingredients.
- Turn the Instant Pot off. Add the vegetable broth. Use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the Instant Pot of any ingredients that are sticking.
- For some Instant Pots, having bits of onion or other ingredients stuck to the bottom will cause them to think your food is burning. So annoying!
- As a final act, add the frozen peas. Give everything one last stir, including the bottom.
- Now, place the lid on the pot, set the steam release handle to Sealing, and set the Pot to High Pressure for 22 minutes. Turn off the warming button.
- Once the Instant Pot has done its thing. Allow it to naturally release for at least 10 minutes. You can then turn the steam release handle to unsealing if desired. Or you can continue allowing it to naturally release for another 10-15 minutes.
- Fluff up the rice. Folks, it’s rice time!
The stovetop process is much the same as the instant pot. Before you start cooking, check the package for the recommended cooking times. Different brands recommend slightly different cooking times, but as a guide, 45 minutes should be sufficient.
Follow the exact process until after you add the broth and peas. From that point, 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 50 minutes, then tilt the lid slightly to ensure that the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow the rice to stand for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice.
The best way to reheat curry rice is to place it in a steamer basket and steam the rice over simmer water. Allow 10 minutes for the rice to fully heat through. 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 for making Instant Pot vegetable curry rice, 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.
rice recipes we love
Instant Pot vegetable curry rice
Instant Pot vegetable curry rice has veggies and extra spices for bursts of flavor with every bite for a savory plant-based side dish.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: side dishes
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 3 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. of ground coriander
- ½ tsp. of smoked or sweet paprika
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- 1 ½ cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
- 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups frozen peas
- Heat the Instant Pot to High Simmer. Add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. Toast the seeds for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the onions and carrots. Mix them into the spices and sauté for 3 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, coriander, paprika, and chili powder. Stir all the ingredients for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the rinsed rice. Allow 2-3 minutes to mix the rice will all of the seasonings. This allows a few minutes for the rice to start collecting the flavors.
- Add the broth and use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the Instant Pot from any vegetables that are sticking.
- Mix in the frozen peas. Give the Instant Pot another clear along the bottom. Then place the lid on the Instant Pot.
- Set the steam release handle to Sealing. Set the time for 22 minutes at High Pressure. Turn off the warm function.
- Once the Instant Pot has finished. Allow 10 minutes for a natural steam release. Then you can unseal the Instant Pot using the steam release handle.
- Fluff the rice and serve.
- Newer Instant Pots are very sensitive, so do your best to remove any stuck-on vegetables from the bottom of the Instant Pot before you start pressure cooking.
- To make this recipe on the stovetop, follow the directions as written. Adjust the heat and bring the ingredients to a boil. The minute you see it start to boil, place the lid to tightly cover the cooking pot. Immediately lower the heat so that the ingredients are slowly simmering. Simmer the rice for 45 minutes. Tilt the pot lid slightly, and if the liquid is absorbed, turn off the heat, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- The best way to reheat curry rice is to place it in a steamer basket and steam it for 10 minutes.
Keywords: Instant Pot vegetable curry rice