Mattar Pulao, or Peas Pulao is a rice based Indian recipe with peas as its star ingredient. As I always have rice and a bag of frozen peas, this is a great recipe for when you’re running low on fresh veggies or groceries in general. While it does incorporate spices, they can be easily purchased in small amounts at places like Sprouts or in bulk at Indian markets to save money.
- oil or ghee*
- 1/2 tsp jeera or cumin
- 4 small or 2 large bay leaves
- 1 elaichi or cardamom pod
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 c frozen peas
- 1 heaping tsp pulao masala or garam masala
- 1 heaping tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chili powder*
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 c basmati or long grain rice
- 2 c water or stock
- 1/2-1 tsp salt*
Begin by rinsing your rice and soaking it for 30 minutes. Chop your onions, gather your whole spices, and gather your powder spices. Heat a large/deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add your oil and ghee and allow to warm a little.
Add your whole spices to the hot oil and listen for them to make popping sounds and release they’re smells. Once the spices begin to turn golden, add your onions and ginger garlic paste, so the spices don’t burn. Cook the onions until golden or translucent.
As the onions brown, add the peas and powdered spices and mix well. Saute everything together for about 3 minutes. At this point incorporate your soaked and drained rice; mix it in well and allow to toast for 2 minutes. Now add the water and salt, and mix it all before covering with a lid.
- Cook on high heat for 5 minutes.
- Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Turn heat off and allow to sit with lid on for 10 minutes.
By cooking your mattar pulao on these different heats, the underside of the pulao will be browned, crispy, and flavorful – not burnt! The rice will steam properly, be evenly cooked all the way through, and the peas won’t be too mushy. Make sure to take out your whole spices (if you can find them) before eating unless you want a cardamom bomb in your mouth! Enjoy…
*For the most part, everything in this recipe is necessary for the composition of mattar pulao; without those spices and ingredients, this would no longer be mattar pulao. But with that said, make this what you want. If you have another spice that you like better and are curious if it will work in here, give it a go! Cooking is trial and error and fun.
**As this recipe has little protein, my favorites to serve this with are: fried eggs, boiled eggs, hummus, chana/chickpea masala, tofu, etc.