Quinoa Pulao Recipe

Quinoa is the wonder food that is often referred to as “a complete protein” amongst plant-based foods. A grain-like seed originally from Peru, Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids needed for human health. It cooks in the same way as rice and can often be substituted in rice dishes. Try this Quinoa Pulao recipe and enjoy the health benefits and wonderful taste of Quinoa!

Prep Time: 30 mins soaking time
Cook Rime: 40 – 45 mins
Serves: 4-6


Quinoa – 2 cups
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Bay Leaf – 1
Cinnamon Stick – 1″ piece
Black Cardamom – 1
Green Cardamom – 2
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper – 4 or to taste, roughly crushed
Cloves – 4, roughly crushed
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Onions – 1/2 medium, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tbsp, minced
Garlic – 1 tbsp, minced
Green Chilies – to taste, finely chopped
Corn – 1 cup
Green Peas – 1 cup
Carrots – 1 cup
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Water – 3 cups
Lemon/Lime Juice – to taste


1. Wash Quinoa and soak in ample water for 30 minutes.
2. Drain all water and set aside.
3. In a pan, heat Oil on medium heat.
4. Drop in Whole Spices – Bay Leaf, Cinnamon Stick, Black and Green Cardamom. Cook for 30 seconds.
5. Add in Black Pepper, Cloves and Cumin Seeds. Let them sizzle.
6. Add Turmeric Powder and Onions. Cook for 1 minute.
7. Add Ginger, Garlic and Green Chilies, mix and cook till Onions get translucent.
8. Add Quinoa and roast 5 minutes.
9. Add Vegetables, Garam Masala, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder and Salt. Mix
10. Pour in Water and add Lemon Juice.
11. Mix and let the water come to boil.
12. Reduce flame to low, cover with tight lid and cook for 30 minutes.
13. Remove lid, fluff Quinoa gently, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.
14. Garnish with Cilantro and serve.

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113 thoughts on “Quinoa Pulao Recipe

  1. Please help I tried making this but it turned out very bitter. Is that how it is supposed to taste because no one in my family liked it? Am I doing something wrong? I made 2 cups quinoa so There is so much left over which isn’t good. Can I correct it or reuse it somehow and not waste such a lot of food!!!!! Helppppppp…

    1. Hi Sweeta,

      So sorry we missed your comment…

      Did you wash the quinoa? Quinoa has a naturally occurring film that only some people find offensive. If you rinse it properly, it washes off easily. The other thing could be that it is old stock and the taste has changed. Finally, if you happened to grind onions instead of chopping them, they can release a bitter taste. Unfortunately, there is no way to fix the problem…sorry.

  2. Hi Anuja and Hetal,

    Let me begin by saying that, I love your website and often try out your recipes. Quinoa pulao is a favorite. Usually, I use carrots, peas and corn, but today, I’m running low on carrots. But surprisingly, I have some paneer in the freezer.

    Could you tell me, if it is ok to add it along with all the other vegetables or should I fry it and add it at the very end?

    Keep up the good job guys!!


  3. I guess Quinoa is not used in seed form but it is considered a weed & is consumed like spinach.
    Botanical Name is Chenopodium album.
    In Sanskrit it is called vastukah, Hindi -Bathua, in Bangla – Beto Sag, Gujarati – Chilni bhaji, Kannada – Sakothina soppu, Marathi – Chandan bathua, in Oriya – bathua saga & in Tamil-paruppukirai.


  4. Hi H & A,

    Thank you very much for this wonderful and super easy recipe. Thank you for introducing me to Quinoa. I make this almost every week. Last week I did Quinoa Chicken Pulao, and this week, I tried Quinoa Prawns Pulao. It turned out very delicious.

    Thanks you Anuja and Hetal once again for all wonderful recipes.


    1. Thanks so much for the feedback Munaf and for the other creative additions to the Quinoa Pulao! Glad you liked it!

  5. Amaranth is very similar to quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)only smaller, with the same health benefits, plus it has fibre.
    The only place in Mumbai quinoa is available is in Nature’s Basket, Bandra west

  6. Very nice recipe Anuja n Hetal. I made it last night for dinner. Felt guilt free 🙂 I added some spinach and mint leaves as well. Thanks!

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