Pearl Pulao(Moti Pulao)

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Pearl Pulao/Pilaf .. A delectable Rice Pulao with soft deep-fried, Paneer balls decorated with edible silver, adorn the flavourful rice cooked in Indian spices.

Pearl Pulao and its History

Pearl Pulao or as it is popularly known as Moti Pulao is a delicacy from Awadhi Cuisine. The original version of the pulao is non-vegetarian.

This rich Pulao was cooked in the kitchens of Nawab of Lucknow. Pearls or the Moti in pulao are made with egg whites poached and cooked with special technique, pounded and stuff in the intestine of chicken and in such a way that the cooked yolks resembled the real pearls. These days this exotic Pulao is not cooked widely. I recently saw a feature on you tube, on this Pulao at NDTV cooking show hosted by Chef Aditya Bal.

Another piece of history says,that the Pulao was first dished out from the kitchens of Nawab of Awadh.The delicious platter from the kitchens of Nawab was one of the way to show their wealth and elegance. Pearl(Basra Ke Moti) trade flourished in that region during the Nawab’s regin. On one special occasion  the chef added the paneer balls coated silver vark (edible silver foil) in Shahi Pulao resembling the real pearls, to give it a more royal touch.Since then various version have come up and this Pulao is made on special occasions.

For vegetarians, this is an easy and quite simple vegetarian version of the pulao, where the Pearls or Moti in Pulao are made with the Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese. This pulao is quite popular in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh where it is cooked during festivals as a part of Bhog(offering) to the Divine. Please update me if another other region also people make it.

Many versions of this Pulao are there, but I like this simple and no fuss version. This Pulao can be enjoyed with any creamy or tomato based gravy(Aloo Matar,Matar Mushroom)  or Dal Tadka.

The rich flavour in this pulao comes from the use of Indian whole spices and saffron. Nuts like cashew nuts and raisins are added to enhance the richness of the pulao. I saw the vegetarian version of Pulao cooked by Chef Saransh Goila on NDTV few years back. I had forgotten about this Rice preparation till the time I saw  the non-vegetarian by Chef Aditya.

Searched few recipes and every recipe was different from the other. I liked this simple version of Pulao by Chef Saransh, so here I am with this Royal Pearl Moti Pulao recipe.

It takes just a few minutes to cook it, if you have  with you fresh Paneer and boiled potato available. You can use store bought Paneer or make it at home(Homemade Paneer).

Use  good quality Basmati Rice for making this.

Let’s see how I make this Pearl Pulao/Moti Pulao

Moti Pulao

Pearl Pulao/Moti Pulao

Pearl Pulao/Pilaf ..soft Paneer balls decorated with edible silver, adoring  the flavourful rice cooked in Indian spices.
Course Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Awadhi Cuisine, Indian, North Indian
Servings 4


For Rice

  • 2 Cups Basmati Rice
  • 8-10 Cashew Nuts
  • 8-10 Raisins(Kishmish)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Black Cardamoms
  • 2-3 Green Cardamoms
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 4-5 Peppercorns
  • 1-2 tbsp Desi Ghee/Oil
  • 4-5 Saffron Strands
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar

To make Paneer Pearls/Moti

  • 1 Cup Soft Crumbled Paneer
  • 1 Boiled Potato small
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch Cornflour in India
  • 1 tsp Salt


Prepare the Rice Pulao

  • Wash Rice and soak it in enough water for at least 1 hr.
  • When ready to take rice, take a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee/oil to it.
  • Roast Cashew Nuts in it till light brown. Roast raisins for few seconds till it puffs up. Keep aside for later use.
  • In the same pan and ghee, add the whole spices, and cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add rice and saute for few minutes.
  • Add 3 Cups of water. Add salt, and  mix lightly . Cover and cook till rice is done and the water evaporates. Add the saffron milk when the rice is half done and again cook till all the liquid evaporates.  

Prepare the Paneer Pearls/Moti

  • In a bowl, mix paneer, boiled mashed potato, cornflour and salt. Mix and make a smooth mixture.
  • Make small lime balls, and deep fry till light brown. I like to keep the Paneer pearls very light in color. Once done, keep aside to add in pulao.
  • Check for the doneness of rice, add cashew nuts and raisins and mix lightly with a spoon or fork.
  • Coat paneer pearls with edible silver foil while still warm. Add to the pulao before serving.


Coating  Paneer balls/pearls with edible silver foil is optional. I didn't have any, you can use it if you want.
You can add nuts of your choice like almonds, pistachios and even cranberries.
For vegan option, infuse saffron in almond or any plant based milk or even skip it and add directly to rice with water..
Keyword Gluten-free, Moti Pulao, No-Onion No-Garlic, Vegetarian

Prepare Rice Pulao

Prepare Paneer Balls/Pearls

Do make this wonderful Pulao and add a royal touch to your menu. So perfect for the festivals and special occasions. The rice is so rich and full in flavours that my 7yr old loves to have it just like that, without any curry or dal.

So make some creamy gravy and enjoy this rice with some boondi raita  side.

Do visit my social media accounts.. FB, Pinterest and Instagram. Whenever you make this,do post on my FB page or tag me on Instagram.  Pin the recipes for later use.

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This is 16th in my series of A-Z Biryani/Pulao/Khichdi dishes, that I am taking to Mega Blogging Marathon April’19.

Day 16. P. Pearl Pulao

This is an event where I along with a group of fellow bloggers are blogging everyday about Biryani/Pulao/Khichdi dishes this whole April, with Sundays off.

My earlier posts for the event..

Day 1. A.. Aloo Matar Ki Tehri

Day 2.  B..Broccoli Mushroom Pulao

Day 3 . C..Chana Dal Khichdi

Day 4. D..Dhaniya Pulao

Day 5. E.. Easy Steamed Rice in Instant Pot with Pot in Pot Method

Day 6. F.. Fresh Mint and Peas Pulao

Day 7. G.. Gatte Ka Pulao

Day 8. H.. Hari Moong Dal Khichdi

Day 9. I.. Iyengar Puliyogare(Instant)

Day 10. J.. Jeera Rice

Day 11. K.. Kashmiri Pulao

Day 12. L.. Lucknowi Veg. Dum Biryani

Day 13. M..Mixed Veg Pulao

Day 14. N.. No-Onion No-Garlic Kadhai Paneer Pulao

Day 15. O.. Oats and Moong Dal Khichdi


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99

Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

20 thoughts

  1. At first I thought you have steamed the paneer balls, they really look like pearls. You have made it very nicely and the efforts can be seen. awesome share.

  2. Wow you have surely managed to keep the balls white..we loved this one..very nicely presented as well!

  3. Pingback: Upma - food-trails
  4. Moti pulao seems like a big hit this marathon season. I am enjoying all your version and its high time I need to make it. Love your paneer balls and they are indeed looking like moti.

  5. The Moti’s are looking so so pretty , you have fried them light and they are really looking awesome . This pulao from Awadhi cuisine is a delicious one , and beautifully made .

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