Mixed Veggie PULAO

In a medium skillet, add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom.
Add
½ TSP cumin seed
and heat over medium to crackle. Listen for the sound and you'll smell the scent of the cumin seed released at that point. Sometimes tilting the pan so all the oil and spice meet over the heat reduces the chances of burning and shortens cooking time.
Careful not to scorch the oil, so keep heat medium to low until all ingredients are added. 

Add
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
8 peppercorns, roughly crushed
1 dried cayenne chili, whole* 
1 carrot, finely diced
Scant ¾ cup frozen peas, rinsed and drained
½ cup canned corn, drained
¼ cup canned green beans, drained
Don't use veg-all mix.  The flavors of veg-all blend together creating THAT flavor- the school lunch veggie mush from hell. This dish is best when individual flavors compliment one another. Fresh veggies are fine, as are fresh frozen, but add extra time to thaw.  You want the spiced oil to coat the veggies. A little oil goes a long way and canned and frozen veggies contain water released when heated and this mixes the flavor throughout.

*Keeping the chili whole will reduce the heat throughout the dish; chop for more flavor. I have a generous supply of dried red cayennes.  Buy on the Mexican food aisle whole in packages or grow your own.  Plant, fertilize, water once, and forget them until the end of summer when the plants start dying with beautiful, crinkly red peppers sun dried to perfection.  Easiest damned veggie I ever grew.  A nice-pack of seedlings has left me with a supply I've used for two years and will have for another two years. Best $3 veggie seedlings ever!

Stir fry together for several minutes.

In a microwavable 2 qt soufflé pan
Add
1 cup long grain basmati rice
4 cardamom pods
1 TSP salt

Measure 3 cups of water
Stir enough water into fry pan to gather the spice and vegetables from the pan.
Add to rice.
Pour remaining water (so that all 3 cups of water will be used)
in with the rice and vegetable mix.

Microwave on high 20 minutes.

Remove the 4 cloves and 4 cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick.  Microwaving seems to leave the spice and veggies in the middle and it's usually easy to find these.  Fluff with fork and find that last little bit of spice if needed. Many Indians leave these spices in, but Westerners seemed overwhelmed by the texture and intensity of whole cloves and cinnamon sticks.  The whole cardamon pods should be removed regardless.
This dish is great served alone as a meal, as a side, or under a sauce or curry.  I recommend my basic raita served cold over this hot rice dish.

This dish is adapted from the recipe for Pulao from
Why did I change it?  To fit my sure fire, never fail microwave rice recipe.
So what did I change? Because my rice recipe uses less rice, I cut all spice and veggies by half as a rule.  I did not include golden raisins or pistachios, two regular contributions to pulao.  I don't like cooked boogers raisins and don't have the unsalted and pricey pistachios. Whereas the original recipe called for 4 chilis, I chose one to suit my children’s palate. In addition, the original called for 6 tablespoons of corn oil.  Vegetable oil is my choice and only enough oil was used to coat the pan.  By keeping the temperature med-low, I was able to fry everything adequately.

NEXT TIME- I recommend a smaller frying pan, deeper, so I can use even less oil.  The end product was slightly too oily with a large frying pan.  An idea would be to add a small amount of the water to cook the carrots and spice. The canned veggies don’t need much cooking.  Perhaps I can further reduce the need for much oil. However, oil is essentail to releasing the flavor and smell of the cumin, and to a lesser extent, the additional spices.  Infusing the oil with the spices adds to the flavor throughout.
UPDATE: I am now using a 6 inch frying pan, 2 inches deep.  I use 1-2 tsp of oil at most. Keeping the heat low, I reach the sizzle and crackle point for the cumin seed and other spices within a couple of minutes, then add the veggies.  Constant stirring is required to coat and warm the veggies.  I've also discovered when I'm short a veggie, the dish still comes together nicely.
REMEMBER- Remove cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods before serving. Give the chili pepper to the heat lover in your family.