I am using leftover cooked rice for this recipe. However, if you are cooking the rice especially for this recipe, you will need to do that first.
Rinse and then soak basmati rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and add fresh water to cook the rice in a rice cooker.
Once cooked, allow it to cool a bit, and then spread the rice onto a plate. Drizzle some vegan ghee over it and mix lightly. This will make the rice grains separated and grainy.
To prep the pistachios
Dry roast pistachios in a pan for 30-40 seconds on medium flame. Be careful to not burn the pistachios.
Transfer the roasted pistachios to a nuts chopper and crush them coarsely. Keep it aside for now.
To make the masala paste
Dry roast coconut, mint leaves and roughly chopped green chillies. Add whole garlic and ginger too if not using paste. If using paste, then no need to add them to the pan.
After roasting for a minute or till the coconut turns light golden, take it off the flame.
Allow it to cool and then grind it to a smooth paste after adding ginger paste, garlic paste and water.
To prepare the pilaf
Heat vegan ghee in a wok. Temper mustard seeds and cumin seeds, once they splutter, add the crushed pistachios and fry for 30 seconds.
Then add the chopped onions. Saute them till they turn translucent.
Next add the ground mint paste and continue to fry the mixture for a minute or two.
Then add the green veggies like green peas, and French beans along with salt. Saute till they are cooked. This could take 2-3 minutes if using frozen veggies, else 8-10 minutes.
Next add dry spices like chilly powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Mix and saute for 30 seconds.
Then add the garam masala and the cooked rice. Mix it all together so that the masala coats the rice well. Check salt and add if needed. Take the pan off the flame.
Since the rice is already cooked, you need not cook it for long. Take it off the pan and garnish with some lemon juice, chopped pistachios.
Leftover cooked Basmati rice works best in this recipe. However, you can also cook rice fresh, couple of hours before you prepare this pulao. Cook in vegetable broth for more flavor.Cook rice in any method comfortable to you - Instant Pot, Rice Cooker, Microwave, or stovetop. Just ensure the grains are separate and grainy and not mushy. If you don't want to eat rice, you can follow this same recipe with alternate grains like quinoa or even cauliflower rice. Swap pistachios with peanuts, apricots, or almonds in this rice recipe. If allergic to nuts, add sunflower seeds instead. Add more veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, etc to this vegetarian rice pilaf if you like.This vegan mint fried rice can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. Pack it in an airtight container and store it. It also freezes well. Reheat as needed.