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Caramalised Onion Pulao

Preparation Time

5 Minutes

Cooking Time 

15 Minutes



Skill Level





  • 1 cup of washed basmati rice
  • 1 medium-sized onion sliced thinly
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of fresh garlic or garlic powder and a similar amount of ginger 
  • 2-3 cloves, 2 green cardamom pods, 5-6 peppercorns, half a teaspoon of cumin and 1-2 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a saucepan add some oil and let it heat on a medium-high flame for about 2 minutes. Now throw in a cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, and bay leaves. Let the spices sit in the oil for about a minute or so, this will allow the flavours of the spices to infuse into the oil.

    At any stage, if you feel the spices are smoking too much or burning, reduce the flame.

  2. Now add some thinly sliced onions followed by the fresh garlic and ginger. Let the onions fry on medium-high heat till they are caramelised. Keep stirring throughout. Adding salt at this stage will quicken the caramelisation process.

  3. Once the onions start to take on a golden brown colour, add the garam masala. Keep stirring for about 30 seconds and then add a dash of water to avoid burning the garam masala.

  4. Finally, add a cup of washed basmati rice and 2 cups of water. Let the rice cook through with a lid on.


  1. I have used basmati rice for the recipe however you can use any other type of rice.
  2. You can try a combination of different spices for the recipe including cinnamon and star anise.
  3. You can also use garlic powder for the recipe, but it will be added at the last step when you add water to cook the rice. This ensures that the garlic powder does not burn.


It is believed that the earliest documented recipe for pilaf or pulao comes from the 10th-century Persian scholar Avicenna. The recipe then travelled across the Middle East and Central Asia as conquests were made.

Many different variations of the recipe appeared throughout history using slightly different ingredients. 

Morden-day versions of pilaf are found in various countries starting from Bangladesh in the east, all the way to the Carriebien Islands in the west.